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ARCHIVED: In Windows, how do I enter text in a non-English language?

Windows supports keyboards for entering text in various languages. You must be familiar with a particular country's keyboard layout in order to use it. For example, striking the  ;  (semicolon) key on the "English (United States)" keyboard will appear as the  ñ  character using the "Spanish (Traditional Sort)" keyboard layout.

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Adding a new keyboard layout

Windows 7 and Vista

  1. From the Start menu, select Control Panel.

    Note: If this doesn't match what you see, refer to Getting around in Windows.

  2. From the Control Panel, choose Change keyboards or other input methods.

  3. In the box that appears, click Change keyboards... .

  4. Click Add... . From the drop-down menu, click the + (plus sign) next to the appropriate language, and then click the + (plus sign) next to the keyboard.

  5. Select the keyboard you wish to install.

  6. Click OK three times and close the Control Panel.

This will enable the language bar, which allows you to switch between US English and the language you selected in the steps above.

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Windows XP

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings, and then Control Panel. If the window has a "Pick a category" heading, click Switch to Classic View.

    Note: If this doesn't match what you see, refer to Getting around in Windows.

  2. Double-click Regional and Language Options, and then click the Languages tab.

  3. Click Details... , and beneath "Installed services", click Add... .

  4. Under "Keyboard layout/IME:", select the keyboard of choice from the drop-down menu, and then click OK twice.

This will enable the language bar, which allows you to switch between US English and the language you selected in the steps above.

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Switching between keyboard layouts

Once you've added a keyboard, you can toggle between keyboards by pressing the Alt and Shift keys on the left side of the keyboard simultaneously, or by clicking the icon in the language bar and selecting the keyboard of choice.

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Last modified on November 07, 2013.

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