How to Add a Language to a Keyboard

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Updated September 12, 2022

Even if you have a premium keyboard, learning how to add a keyboard language can seem confusing. That said, you can change your current keyboard language in a few simple steps. While applying alternate language keyboard stickers is straightforward, it is time-consuming and irreversible compared to software solutions. You can get additional keyboard languages by learning how to add a language to a keyboard.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • On a Windows PC, navigate to the Time & Language settings and use the + icon to install a new language pack.
  • On Mac, select the keyboard icon in the System Preferences and select Add. Next, apply your desired language to one or more input sources.
  • You can choose which features you want on either platform, like handwriting and speech recognition.

How to Add Another Language to a Keyboard

Adding another language to your keyboard is as easy as learning how to change the language on a keyboard to switch the default language setting on your Mac or PC. The finest keyboards for Mac should match your preferred language, so read our Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad review to get a sense of your keyboard options.

Insider Tip

You can change your date and time format in the control panel, but it will not affect the active input language.

Method 1: Windows PC

STEP 1 Open Settings

Press the Windows Key and select the Settings icon.

STEP 2 Find the Language Options

Select the Time & Language option.

STEP 3 Go to Preferred Languages

Select the Language control button on the left side of the screen and navigate to the Preferred Languages.

STEP 4 Click the Add Icon

Click the + icon next to Add a Language.

STEP 5 Search for the Language Pack

Scroll the language list or use the search bar to find your selected language.

STEP 6 Select the Language Pack

Highlight the language you want and click the Next button.

STEP 7 Select Parts of the Language Pack

Leave the check boxes marked unless you want to remove certain features like writing or speech recognition. Click the install button to acquire the language pack.

STEP 8 Apply the Language to the Keyboard

Select the Keyboard option and select the additional language in the dropdown menu.

Method 2: Mac

STEP 1 Open System Preferences

Select the Apple menu and navigate to System Preferences.

STEP 2 Adjust Your Input Sources

Click the keyboard icon and then select Input Sources

STEP 3 Find Your Desired Language

Press the Add button and use the search window to find your wanted language.

STEP 4 Apply the Language to Input Sources

Select each input source you want for each language, and click Add.

STEP 5 Select the Language from the Input Menu

You can select your new language from the Input menu.

STEP 6 See the Layout with Show Keyboard Viewer

Click Show Keyboard Viewer to see your alternate language’s keyboard layout.

Warning

Only install the language features you need because extra language packs can take up a lot of storage space.

STAT: A 2021 Pew Research Center survey showed that 96% of 50 to 64-year-old Americans use the internet. (source)

How to Add a Language to a Keyboard FAQs

How do I switch my input language on a mobile device?

Open your on-screen keyboard and locate the space bar. Swipe your finger over the space bar to change the input language on your device.

How big are Windows language packs?

Most extra language packs are around 200 Mb, but complex languages with numerous language-specific characters will take up more space. Some languages require over a Gb of space to install correctly. You can save space by deselecting the handwriting and speech recognition from the language pack.

Is there a limit on keyboard input languages?

There isn't a limit on input languages unless you have a single-language edition of Windows 10. Microsoft only offers 18 officially-translated display languages for their Windows operating system.
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