How do I change the On-Screen Keyboard from English to another language?

The Windows 7 On-Screen Keyboard is very versatile and loaded with features. To change language support just press Left-Alt+Shiftif the keyboard is configured.

Before we start on that, you may wish to install language support to bring in other features. For that see How do I install a display language?

Setting up keyboard language support

Click the START orb and type “language”. The Start menu will include Region and Language. Click it. (Of course you can get there from the Control Panel.) imageIn the next dialog click the Keyboards and Languages tab. The next window will look similar to this:








Click Add…

A long list of languages will be shown. Find the language you wish to install. Click on the + in front of the entry to expand the list. Similarly expand Keyboard. Select the keyboard language from the last options, make sure the box is checked. Then click OK. You can now see the installed languages in the Text Services and Input Languages window. You are all set.

Using language keyboards optionsTbar-RU

The keyboard language in use can be seen at the right end of the Taskbar. In the illustration here the current language is RU – Russian. To switch to another language press Left-Alt+Shift. On successive presses this will cycle through the available languages (that are set up as described above).

NOTE: Make the keyboard selection when an application using keyboard input is open. You can make a different selection in another application. The keyboard selection is “sticky” – switching to the other application will also switch the keyboard selected in that application. This makes working in different languages really easy.

When the Language Pack is installed for a supported language, the On-Screen Keyboard offers a very nice feature: auto-complete options. Not all languages are supported in this way. English is, so is German. Auto-complete is not supported for Russian.


In this illustration two instances of WordPad are running (hold down the Shift key when selecting a program to open another instance). The keyboard was set for Russian in one and German in the other. Note the auto-complete option offered above the normal keys. The selection is refined as additional letters are selected. Auto-complete is not active when using the hardware keyboard, it only works with the On-Screen Keyboard.




How do I install a display language?

Windows 7 can display characters and other features of a wide range of languages. Support for several languages may be installed on your computer. To add another language, proceed as follows:image

Click START > Control Panel >
Clock, Language, and Region

imageOn Region and Language click Install or uninstall display languages

In the next dialog click Install display languages.

The next window asks you to chose the method of installation. image

Click Launch Windows Update. Note the line about optional updates. In the illustration here it says “35 optional updates are available”. It may be different on your computer. Click that phrase. You will be offered a choice of Language Packs.


You can chose more than one Language Pack. Click to select. The click OK.image

The next choice is to install:

Click Install updates.

The download and installation process may take a long time.

When the process finishes your Language Pack or Packs are installed.

You may wish to configure your keyboard or the On-Screen Keyboard. For instruction on that, see: How do I change the On-Screen Keyboard from one language to another?