How to Switch Between Keyboard Input Languages in Windows 8 & 8.1

If you are a multilingual person, you are likely to switch between multiple input languages in your work day. Luckily, there are several methods for doing this, some faster than others. In this tutorial I will cover all of them in detail, so that you can choose the method that works best for you.

How to Switch Between Input Languages via the Settings Charm

One way to switch between keyboard input languages involves the use of the Settings charm. If you don't know how to use the charms, read this guide: What are the Charms & How to Use them.

Click or tap on it. At the bottom you will find an option named Keyboard with a three letters code above it (the code for the active input language).

Click or tap on it and Windows displays the keyboard input language menu. Select the new language you wish to use from the list of available options.

If the language you want to use is not listed, it means it is not installed. To learn how to do this, read this tutorial: How to Add or Remove Keyboard Input Languages in Windows 8 & 8.1.

How to Switch Between Input Languages via the Taskbar on the Desktop

While on the Desktop, you can also use the Input Indicator found on the taskbar to choose the language you want.

Click or tap on it and the language menu will be displayed.

How to Switch Between Input Languages via Keyboard Shortcuts

The fastest way to switch between input languages is to use the keyboard. It works from anywhere in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Use the Windows + Space keys to display the language menu. Then, press the same keys until you select the language you desire.

The default keyboard shortcut used in Windows 7 - Left Alt + Shift allows you to switch languages directly, without displaying the language menu. When using the Start screen or modern apps, you won't see any clue that you just changed the language. On the Desktop you are shown the new language in the input indicator on the taskbar.

How to Change the Keyboard Shortcut

To change the keyboard shortcut used for switching the input language, open the Language panel, found in "Control Panel -> Clock, Language, and Region -> Language".

Here, click or tap the Advanced Settings link on the left.

This takes you to the "Language Advanced Settings" panel. It should look similar to the screenshot below.

Click or tap the "Change language bar hot keys" link in the "Switching input methods" section.

A new window opens, named "Text Services and Input Languages". This is the place where you can change the keyboard shortcut for switching between input languages. Click or tap "Change Key Sequence".

Select the keyboard combination you would like to use as a shortcut and click or tap OK.


As you can see, changing between keyboard input language is not hard to do. Experiment with all methods and keyboard shortcuts and then pick the one that works best for you.

If you are looking for other tips on how to work with languages in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, don't hesitate to read the articles recommended below.