Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Adding a Keyboard to Windows Vista

Many languages have unique keyboards. This can because they use a different key layout, or they may have additional keys for accents or special characters. In some cases, such as Cyrillic for Russian or the Greek character set, the characters themselves are different than the Latin characters used in most Western European languages. Fortunately, adding a new keyboard is usually a simple process if an appropriate keyboard comes with Windows.
If you are working with a Western European language, such as French, Spanish or German, it may be easier to use the International English keyboard than to install the keyboard specifically for that language. The advandage of the International English keyboard is that does only minimal rearrangement of the keys. If you don't know what a Spanish keyboard looks like, using the International English keyboard is probably a good idea. We have a pdf document that describes how to create the non-English characters you'll probably need.
To install a keyboard, go to Start icon in the the lower left and then Control Panel. Open the Regional and Language Options item. Click on the Keyboards and Languages tab on the top of the resulting window. Then click the Change Keyboards button. The resulting window will show you all the languages currently installed and the keyboard used with the language.
To add a new language/keyboard, click on the Add button. The resulting window will have a drop down list of all the languages the system knows about, starting with Afrikaans. Select the language and keyboard layout you want and click on OK. Most languages have one or more corresponding keyboards. You can use any keyboard with any language but usually you want the keyboard that corresponds to the language. You can use the IE keyboard with the language you are interested in or, to maintain flexibility, assign it to a language you are not likely to need such as Icelandic. In the later case you just need to remember to select Icelandic everytime you want to use the IE keyboard.  In the illustration below we're going to use the IE keyboard to type Spanish.

The language you added should now appear in the installed services list.
Once you have installed a language/keyboard, the lower right of your screen should have two letters that indicate the currently selected keyboard. For instance En stands for English. This indicates you are working with standard US English keyboard. Click on the box and list of installed languages will appear.
By default, holding down the left Alt key and pressing the Shift key will cycle you through the different keyboards you have installed. The language bar, which contains the language indicator plus additional

No comments:

Post a Comment