In Windows 7 you can change both the language of the keyboard you use to type things and the language of the visual interface (the latter only in Windows 7 Ultimate). In this tutorial, we show you how to manage the keyboard input languages on your Windows 7 computer. We explain how to add or remove a language, preview the keyboard layout of a language, customize the language bar, and switch between keyboard languages. Let's get started:
How to add or remove a keyboard input language in Windows 7
All the settings related to the keyboard input language are found in the Region and Language window. The fastest way to access it is to search for "change keyboard" in the Start Menu search box and click the "Change keyboards or other input methods" search result.
Another way is to access the Control Panel, where you click the "Change keyboards or other input methods" link from the "Clock, Language, and Region" category.
In the "Region and Language" window, click the "Change keyboards" button.
In the General tab from the "Text Services and Input Languages" window, you should see the list of currently installed input languages. To add a new one, click the Add button.
From the long list of available languages, select the one(s) you want. To see how a specific language looks on your keyboard, select it and click Preview.
On the screen, you should see a virtual keyboard with the keys specific to the selected input language. When done, click Close.
After you have selected the languages that you want to add, click OK and you are taken back to the "Text Services and Input Languages" window.
If you want to change the order of the installed input languages, select them using your mouse to click the Move up and Move down buttons.
If you want to remove a keyboard input language, select it and click the Remove button. The keyboard input language is removed immediately, without any additional confirmation.
How to customize the language bar in Windows 7
When you have installed more than one keyboard input language in Windows 7, the language bar is activated by default. To customize it, click the "Language Bar" tab of the "Text Services and Input Languages" window. In the first section of the window, you can customize the position of the bar.
You can choose to have it floating on your desktop, docked in the taskbar or hidden from view. Below you can find a screenshot showing how it looks on the desktop:
The language bar can also reside on the taskbar:
If you choose to hide it, you do not see it anywhere on the desktop. In the "Text Services and Input Languages" window, you also have options for:
- Setting the transparency of the language bar
- Showing additional icons for help, options menu, and minimize or restore
- Showing or hiding the text labels on the language bar
When you are done making the settings you want, click on OK.
How to change between keyboard input languages in Windows 7
To switch between the keyboard input languages, you can use the Language bar to select the language you want to use. In the language bar, click on the name of the language that is currently selected. Then, in the menu that pops up, with the list of installed languages, click on the new language that you want to use.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut Left Alt + Shift to achieve the same result.
NOTE: One thing you should keep in mind is the fact that, when you change the active keyboard input language, this is done for the application which is currently opened. If you open another application, the input language used is the default one and you have to switch it again.
How to change the shortcuts for keyboard input languages
If you want to change the shortcuts for changing between keyboard input languages, click on the "Advanced Key Settings" tab of the "Text Services and Input Languages" window. You will see there the list of key sequences defined for changing between languages. If you want to change one of them, select it and click on "Change Key Sequence".
In the "Change Key Sequence" window, select the combination you prefer and click OK.
From now on, the new combination of keys will be valid for switching between languages.
What is your preferred way to change keyboard languages in Windows 7?
As you can see, managing your keyboard input languages is easy once you learn how to do it. Read this guide if you want to learn how to install & change to a new display language in Windows 7 Ultimate. What is your preferred way to change keyboard languages in Windows 7? Let us know in a comment below.