2 Best Chinese PinYin Input Method in Ubuntu 16.04

Last updated: July 29, 2016

Ubuntu Input Method

As a Chinese user, I have never used iBus PinYin in Ubuntu. For me, one of the first things to do after a new Ubuntu installation is to install a Input Method.

As I know, there are two best Chinese IM for Ubuntu:

  • Fcitx – A flexible Input Method framework
  • Sougou PinYin – the most popular Chinese IM.

Install and Setup Fcitx:

Fcitx is an open-source and powerful IM framework that provides: Google PinYin, ShuangPin, SunPinYin, Wubi, ZhengMa, Hong Kong and TaiWan Traditional Chinese input methods, and more.


1. Fcitx is available in Ubuntu universe repository, so you can easily install it by opening terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run:

sudo apt install fcitx fcitx-googlepinyin fcitx-table-wbpy fcitx-pinyin fcitx-sunpinyin

According to what you want, you may use Synaptic Package Manager (available in Ubuntu Software) to select which to install:


2. After that, launch Language Support utility and select use Fcitx:


3. Finally restart your computer and you’ll see a keyboard icon in panel. Go to Configure (see menu in the top picture) and do:

  • click the bottom left plus icon.
  • uncheck “show current language”
  • scroll down and choose an IM you want
  • finally click OK.


To switch between English keyboard and Fcitx, use Ctrl+Space and then Ctrl+Shift to switch between installed Fcitx IMs.

Install and Setup SouGou PinYin:

SouGou PinYin for Linux is developed by Ubuntu Kylin Team and Sougou company. Its Windows version is one by the most popular IMs in China.

1. Sougou for Linux conflicts with some Fcitx libraries, so open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and remove fcitx via command:

sudo apt remove fcitx* && sudo apt autoremove

2. Download the official Linux package from:

Sougou for Linux


Click install the .deb package via GDebi or Ubuntu Software. Or use command:

sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/sogoupinyin*.deb; sudo apt -f install

3. After installing the IM, restart your computer and Sougou’s ready for use at next login.

sougou input method

Like Fcitx, you can press Ctrl+Space to switch between English keyboard and Sougou PinYin.

UPDATE: Installing SouGou PinYin will add a Kylin repository into your system, you may keep it and install the key so that apt update won’t boring you with missing GPG issue:

sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys 8D5A09DC9B929006

Or just remove the repository via Software & Updates -> Other Software if you don’t want any update for Sougou IM.


I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please comment to remind me outdated tutorial! And, notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via [email protected] Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/ubuntuhandbook1

5 responses to 2 Best Chinese PinYin Input Method in Ubuntu 16.04

  1. Great tutorial! Thanks a lot.

    There are 2 minor issues:
    1. In step 1, I have to use “fcitx-table-wbpy” instead of “fcitx-wbpy”.
    2. After install Sougou Pinyin, whenever I do a “sudo apt-get update” I got a GPG key error. The fix is to to get the public key:
    sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys 8D5A09DC9B929006

  2. You have a typo in the last section:

    It should be as follows: (note the extra -, it won’t work otherwise!)

    sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys 8D5A09DC9B929006

  3. Turns out this webpage treats two – as a large –, i.e an en dash, instead of two separate hyphens – – (without the space), might want to get this fixed!

  4. Just wanted to say thanks for the great article works a charm :)