Converting Chinese characters to Pinyin or Jyutping on Google Sheets

3 min readMay 2, 2019

If you study Mandarin, you probably know what Pinyin is. In Cantonese, Jyutping fulfills a similar role. Dictionaries will show you the Pinyin for individual words, but if you want to quickly convert whole sentences, such as when taking notes during a Chinese lesson, you need better tools.

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Step 1: new spreadsheet

Open new spreadsheet on . Enter the following column headers: Chinese and Pinyin.

Step 2: choose add-on

In the Add-ons menu, choose Get add-ons, then in the search bar, type pinyin. Click on the Mandarin Cantonese Tools addon.

This will take you to the addon page, click Install.

After installing, the PINYIN() function will be available on your spreadsheet.

Step 3: use pinyin conversion function

In your spreadsheet in cell A2, type a Chinese word or sentence, such as 谈生意. In cell B2, type =PINYIN(A2) (don’t forget to start with the = sign). Then press Enter. After a while, you should see the equivalent pinyin.

You can also use =JYUTPING(A2) if you are learning Cantonese.

Step 4: extend the formula to other rows

Drag the lower right hand square while on cell B2 to extend the formula to subsequent rows.

Done ! You can now quickly convert lots of chinese words or sentence to pinyin, which is particularly useful when taking notes during a Chinese lesson, especially if you’re going to convert those notes to flashcards. You can directly export the result to CSV and import into Anki.

For using the more advanced functions of this addon, read this:

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This addon makes use of the following open source library: