When studying a foreign language or talking online to someone in another language, you don’t want to be searching through symbols for the character you want. It just takes too long, and what if they think you’re using the time to use an online translator instead of your considerable language skills? No, much easier to just click and switch your keyboard to the language you want and type away.
Click ‘Start’ and go to the control panel. Open the control panel, where you will see a lot of named icons for accessing various user controls.
Select ‘Date, Time, Language and Regional Options’, and in this folder click on ‘Regional and Language Options’. These should appear in a pop-up box, with a tab for languages.
Click the languages tab. There should be a section labelled ‘Text services and input methods’, with an option to click ‘details’
Click on the ‘details’ button, and it will open another box with ‘Default Input Language’ and below that ‘Installed Services’. It’s the options under ‘Installed Services’ that you want.
Under ‘Installed Services’ there will be a list of available language keyboards. Select the language you want and click ‘Add’. (Here you can also remove keyboards that you have previously installed, if you no longer wish to have them on your pc, by clicking on them and selecting ‘remove’.)
It will prompt you to accept the installation of the language keyboard settings, so check that you have picked the language you wanted and click ‘Okay’.
Once you have clicked okay on this box, it will close. The settings box will still be open, you must click okay here, too, in order for the change to be saved.
To check that the keyboard has been added, and to use it, locate (on an English/American keyboard) on the bottom right-hand-side the ‘EN’ symbol.
Click the EN symbol and select the language you have just installed. You should now be able to type in that language.
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- Note: for Asian languages you will write by typing in the romanised version of the language (for Chinese, Pinyin) and you will be able to select from suggested characters the one you wish to use.
- For European languages, be aware that the position of some letters that aren’t accented will be changed as well (for example, a French keyboard will reverse the a and the q) to reflect how commonly the letters occur in the language. Do not be alarmed if some of your letters seem to be reversed – it probably hasn’t gone wrong, it’s just that the foreign keyboard is arranged differently and you’ve told your computer that that’s the keyboard you’re using!