How to Add New Language Keyboard in Windows

When installing a fresh version of Windows 8 (or 10), you can choose your desired language by default like English US or UK. But did you know you can also add a new language on your keyboard, allowing you to switch anytime in case you are working on a project or writing an article in Chinese? It’s a no-brainer when you activate this feature. It’s easy, and the switch button is visible on the taskbar.

On another note, if you’re using Microsoft Office 2013, there’s another way to maximize this feature once we activate it. So let’s start.

Note: while the instructions here are for Windows 8, it will work for Windows 10 as well.

There are two ways to access and edit the language options. This is the first option.

1. Drag your mouse to the upper-right corner of the screen to see the Charms, and then click “Search.”


2. Type the word “language” until you see the “Edit language and keyboard option” in the results.


3. When you see this screen pictured below, click the cross-hair button to add a new language. In this tutorial we are adding a Traditional Chinese keyboard. Upon clicking, another option pops up, narrowing down options to Traditional Chinese in Hong Kong, Macau (SAR) or Taiwan.


4. After choosing your desired language, click it and choose “Set as Primary.”


On the flip side, you can also access these settings in the Win-32 environment. Here’s how.

1. Launch the Control Panel, and under the Clock, Language, and Region, click “Add a language.”


2. Choose a new language, and click OK. It will be automatically added to the list.


Note: to enjoy all the features of the language in the system, click “Options,” then click “Download and install language pack.”


This may take a while, as you will be downloading quite a hefty update around 100MB or more.

You’ll find specific choices when you click “Add Input Method,” such as a list of writing/typing styles especially for complex languages like Chinese where you can type in Pinyin in Hebrew, for example. The input method can either be a touch keyboard layout or the Standard. In Greek there’s the touch keyboard layout and Poly-tonic input and so forth. In a nutshell, each language that you add comes with input methods you can choose from.

Then you will see the available languages in your taskbar – to switch, press “Window key + space bar.”


Moving forward, your new keyboard is all set (in this stage, we will use Chinese Simplified as a sample). Let’s see it in action on the latest Microsoft Office Word (2013). Keep in mind that the steps may vary especially for old versions of MS Office. Interestingly, the 2013 version comes with a seamless switching of the keyboard when you’re working on a document.


The status bar where you find the number of words and characters is in conjunction with the Language option. When you click this, a dialog box pops out showing the list of languages.


While MS Office allows you to switch, this will only be applicable within the document. If you switch the language in the taskbar, then the entire system will follow, whether you’re typing in a document, a browser, or a Web page.


What do you think of this Windows 8 feature? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image credit: Devanagari_INSCRIPT_Keyboard