How to Change the Language on a Keyboard

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Updated September 12, 2022

Even with a top-tier keyboard, learning how to switch between keyboard languages isn’t as straightforward as we might wish. That said, you can set multiple keyboard layouts to match your preferred languages without too much trouble. So, whether you’re learning a foreign language or want to match your display language, read this guide to learn how to change the language on a keyboard.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • You can access your computer’s language settings by pressing the Windows Key and the “I” key.
  • Navigate to the Language menu, press the Add a Language icon, and install the language pack.
  • On Mac OS, navigate to Input Sources in the System Preferences menu. Next, select the Add button and apply your new language to one or more input sources.

Having multiple input languages on your computer allows you to communicate with family or practice a new primary language. While you’ll need to access your settings menu, you can change your keyboard options back to normal using steps similar to this guide.

Insider Tip

You can change your current language using the settings app on your smartphone and PC.

You can follow our guide to adding a language pack to your keyboard if you’re on a PC or android phone. The setup process involves accessing the advanced keyboard settings, just like in this guide.

So, let’s get to the computer, and you can change your input language with a few keypresses and clicks of the mouse.

How to Switch Keyboard Language Settings

Method 1: Change Language on a Windows PC

STEP 1 Open Settings

Open the settings control panel with the Windows Key + I keyboard shortcut. You can also access the settings icon by clicking the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of your screen.

STEP 2 Open the Date & Time Menu

Find the Time & Language icon and click on it to access the Date & Time menu.

STEP 3 Open the Language Tab

Navigate to the left menu, and click the Language tab.

STEP 4 Click Add a Language

Now, click the Add a Language + icon under the Preferred languages section.

STEP 5 Select Your Desired Language

A dialog box should appear, and you can search the language list for your new input method. Once you’ve selected your new language pack, press the Next button at the bottom left.

STEP 6 Select Any Additional Settings You Want

You can now install the language pack. Depending on the language you picked, you can mark dialog boxes so that the download process includes text-to-speech, handwriting, and speech recognition. You can also make your new language the Windows display language, which will set your menus and apps to your new input language.

STEP 7 Install the Language Pack

Click the install button on the dialog box, and you should have access to your new input language. You can switch your keyboard languages with the Language icon on the lower-right corner of the taskbar. Alternatively, you can use the switch keyboard language shortcut, Shift+ALT.

Method 2: Change Language on a Mac Computer

STEP 1 Open System Preferences

Select the Apple menu and go to System Preferences.

STEP 2 Click Keyboard, then Input Sources

Click the keyboard icon, and then click Input Sources.

STEP 3 Click the Add Button to Find the Language

Click the Add button, and search for the language you want in the window that opens. You’ll also need to choose at least one input source.

STEP 4 Click Add

Next, you’ll need to click Add before you can select a new language.

STEP 5 Select the Language from the Input Menu

In the Input menu, choose your desired language.

STEP 6 Check the Keyboard Layout

You can view the keyboard layout for your alternative language by clicking Show Keyboard Viewer.

Warning

Do not mark the “Set as my Windows display language” check box unless you are fluent in the new language pack. If not, you may have issues navigating your PC.

STAT: According to a 2021 poll from Pew Research Center, over 80% of Americans use the internet at least once per day. (source)

How to Change the Language on a Keyboard FAQs

How do you type special characters?

You can type alternate characters like letters with umlauts or other accents with the Alt key and your number pad. For example, if you hold the Alt key while typing "0252", you will get "ü." That said, you cannot type special characters with the number keys above your letter keys.

How do you change your keyboard language through the Gboard app spacebar?

Open your keyboard, and hold the spacebar. The "Change Language" window will appear, and you can select a new input language from the pop-up menu.

How do you change your iPhone and iPad keyboard’s language?

You can change your iPhone or iPad keyboard language with the Keyboard menu in the General settings menu. Select Add New Keyboard, and install your new language from the list of available input languages. Then, you can edit your default language by reordering the inventory of your installed languages.
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