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How to change keyboard language

How to change keyboard language
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Figuring out how to change keyboard language is not exactly the most difficult task, but it's not immediately obvious how to go about it. 

As someone who's bilingual and constantly using the keyboard on my laptop both for work and general purposes, I regularly swap between languages on my keyboard layout. So if you're trying to do the same, we'll walk you through the whole process.

Below, we've got a step-by-step guide on how to change your keyboard language on both Windows and macOS. It will only take a few minutes of your time, and once you've added your preferred languages, you won't have to go through the setup process again. 

We'll even show you a keyboard shortcut that lets you swap between languages instantly. Ready? Alright, let's get to it.

How to change keyboard language in Windows

1. Navigate to the left end of your taskbar (on the bottom of your screen) and click the Start button. Alternatively, tap the Windows key to trigger the main Start menu. Then select the Settings icon on the left-hand side of the menu, which should open the Settings window.

How to change keyboard language in Windows - settings

(Image credit: Microsoft)

2. Next, click the "Time & Language" option as shown in the screenshot below.

How to change keyboard language on Windows - time and language

(Image credit: Microsoft)

3. Go ahead and click on the Language tab, which should appear on the left-hand side of the window.

How to change keyboard language in Windows - language

(Image credit: Microsoft)

4. Now scroll down and select the "Add a language" option, which should appear under the category "Preferred languages."

How to change keyboard language in Windows - add language

(Image credit: Microsoft)

5. Type in your preferred language or select from the presented list. Once you've done that, go ahead and click Next to continue.

How to change keyboard language in Windows - choose language

(Image credit: Microsoft)

6. You should now be able to install the selected language pack. At this stage, you can also decide whether you'd like this language to be set as your Windows display language. This means that features such as Settings and File Explorer will appear in the newly selected language. 

Click "Install" to finalize the process. 

How to change keyboard language in Windows - install language pack

(Image credit: Microsoft)

7. All done! You should now be able to swap between your keyboard languages by clicking the Language icon on the right-hand side of the taskbar. Alternatively, use the key shortcut Shift + Alt.

How to change keyboard language in Windows - switch languages

(Image credit: Microsoft)

How to change keyboard language in macOS

1. First, locate your taskbar on top of your Mac's screen and click the Apple icon. Next, click the "System Preferences" option in the drop-down menu to continue.

How to change keyboard language on Mac - system preferences

(Image credit: Apple)

2. In the new window, go ahead and click the Keyboard icon.

How to change keyboard language on Mac - keyboard

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Next, select the "Input Sources" tab, which should be located at the top of the window.

How to change keyboard language on Mac - input sources

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Go ahead and click the "+" plus icon as shown in the screenshot below. 

How to change keyboard language on Mac - plus icon

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Either type in your preferred language or select from the presented list. Once you've done that, go ahead and click Add to finalize the process. 

Congratulations! You're all done. You should now be able to swap between languages by clicking the flag icon on the right-hand side of the toolbar at the top of your screen. 

How to change keyboard language on Mac - keyboard shortcut

(Image credit: Apple)

Alternatively, you can set up a keyboard shortcut. You can do this by going to System Preferences, Keyboard, Shortcuts, Input Sources and checking the first box titled "Select the previous input source."

Once you've enabled this shortcut, you should be able to switch between your keyboard languages by pressing Ctrl + Space

Denise Primbet

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.