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Input Method Editors (Windows Store apps)

Input Method Editors (IMEs) enable text input for complex languages.


An IME is a software component that enables a user (usually, but not limited to, East Asian users) to input text in a language that can't be represented easily on a hardware keyboard, due to the number of characters in the language.

Instead of each single character appearing on a keyboard, a user types combinations of keys that are interpreted by the IME. The IME generates the character that matches the set of key strokes, possibly presenting the user with a list of candidate characters to pick from, and then inserts the character into the edit control that the user is interacting with.

When you develop your Windows Store app, you don't need to interact directly with the IME. The IME is built into the system, just as the touch keyboard is. If your app has text input, and you intend to support text input in languages that require an IME, you should test the end-to-end customer experience for text entry. This lets you fix any issues, such as adjusting your UI so it isn't covered by the touch keyboard or IME candidate window.

Creating an IME

IMEs are a core element of the Windows experience for users in East Asian (EA) markets. Microsoft produces IMEs that ship in-box with Windows in a variety of languages, to enable a great input experience for users in their markets.

In addition to the in-box IMEs, Windows provides support for third-party vendors to develop their own IMEs. Windows 8 supports third-party IMEs for both hardware keyboards and touch keyboards.

In previous versions, Windows has supported third-party IMEs by allowing them to run in the Windows system. Users can install a third-party IME and use it. Windows 8 supports running third-party IMEs in the Windows system. In addition, Windows 8 is hardened to stop malicious IMEs and improve the security and user experience of third-party IMEs.

Third-party IMEs can use the touch keyboard layout provided by Windows to link to their IME, so that users can use their IME with touch keyboards. However, third party IMEs can't provide their own independent touch keyboard in Windows 8.

Requirements for Windows 8 IMEs

A third-party IME must meet these requirements:

A third-party IME that doesn't meet these requirements is blocked from running in the new Windows 8 UI, but it can still run on the desktop.

Also, Windows Defender removes malicious IMEs from the system. Because of this, it's important that you familiarize yourself with the IME coding requirements for Windows 8. For more info, see Guidelines and checklist for IME development.

Design guidelines for Windows 8 IMEs

Read the IME Coding Guidelines article for more details on best practices and design guidelines for Windows 8 IMEs.

Related topics

Guidelines and checklist for IME development



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