These instructions are general and should work for any language that the operating system provides for.

This includes, but is not limited to Russian, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, and Korean. Select your operating system to continue.

If for some reason these instructions do not work, please post to the Computing Questions conference in FirstClass.

General Instructions

Language Specific Instructions

Macintosh OS 10.5 or higher


  1. From the Apple menu (the apple icon on the top left of the screen) choose System Preferences
  2. Select Language & Text
  3. Select the Input Sources tab
  4. Scroll through the list and check the language that you would like to set up. 

    Notes: If you’re using a public Mac on campus, any changes you make will be erased overnight or upon restarting the computer. Some languages offer more than one keyboard. The QWERTY option given for some languages is a phonetic keyboard and may be easier to use. We suggest selecting both keyboards and trying them out. If you would like to have a map of the keyboard (so you know which keys produce which characters) and/or you would like a palette of all of the characters available at a given time, check the box for Keyboard & Character Viewer (located at the top of the list) as well as the language you would like to set up.

  5. At the bottom right of the window there is an item Show input menu in menu bar. Check the box next to this item.
  6. Close the Language & Text window
  7. Quit out of System Preferences
  8. A US flag should be visible at the top right of the screen. If you click on this flag, a menu will appear underneath it with various icons and names representing all the active keyboards.

Notes: A flag menu will now appear next to the speaker icon at the top of your desktop. Click on this menu to select a different keyboard. When you want to change back to English, just select the American flag. If you would like to see the keyboard map, choose Keyboard Viewer from this menu. If the language you would like to use is not selectable from this menu, it means the application you are using does not support typing in this language.

Windows XP


  1. Choose Start > Control Panel.
  2. Select Regional and Languages Options.
  3. Click on the Languages tab.
    • Check Install files for complex script and right-to-left languages (for Arabic, Hebrew, Thai,etc)
    • Check Install files for East Asian Languages (for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc)
  4. Click Apply (the files will install).
  5. When asked to restart, click Yes .
  6. When the computer restarts choose Start > Control Panel.
  7. Select Regional and Languages Options .
  8. Click on Add other languages (this will open the Regional and Language Options Control Panel).
  9. In the Text Services and Input section click Details
    • Click on the Settings tab and then click Add
    • In the Input Language menu choose the language you want to add
    • In the Keyboard layout menu choose the keyboard you want to add

      Note: for Japanese, keep the default IME keyboards or Japanese will not work for some reason
  10. Click OK and then Apply.
  11. Click on the Language Bar button.
    • If the Language Bar button is grayed out, click on Key Settings... > OK .
  12. Check Show language bar on desktop .
  13. Check Show text labels on language bar .
  14. Check Show additional language bar icons in the task bar .
  15. Click OK.
  16. Click OK again.
  17. Restart the computer.

When the computer restarts --

  • You can change the language toolbar settings by right-clicking on the EN button in the system tray at the bottom right of your desktop.
  • You can change languages by left-clicking on the EN and choosing a different language.

Note: For East Asian languages you will need to adjust the size of the toolbar to see all of the options. To do this, right-click on the toolbar and select Adjust Language Band Position. You can do this after you switch back to English to shrink the toolbar again.

Note: To use Japanese Kanjii you must click on the Input Mode button in the toolbar to select which character style you want to type in. Direct input will give you English.

Windows Vista

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel .
  2. Select Clock, Language, Region
  3. Under Regional Language Options , select Change keyboards or other input methods .
  4. Under the Keyboards and Languages tab, click Change Keyboards .
  5. Click Add .
  6. Choose the language you want to add from the list, and click on it.
  7. Check the box next to Keyboard , and select the chosen language.
  8. Click OK .
  9. Click Apply .
  10. Click OK .
  11. Change languages by left-clicking on the EN (in the language bar) and choosing a different language.

Windows 7

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel.
  2. Select Region and Language .
  3. Under the Keyboards and Languages tab, click Change Keyboards .
  4. Click Add .
  5. Choose the language you want to add from the list, and click on it.
  6. Check the box next to Keyboard , and select the chosen language.
  7. Click OK .
  8. Click Apply .
  9. In the Language Bar tab , click docked in the task bar.
  10. Click Apply .
  11. Click OK twice.
  12. Change languages by left-clicking on the EN (in the language bar) and choosing a different language.

How to type Urdu on an OS X Mac

  • Click here to download the Urdu font.
  • On the Font Book window that appears, click on Install Font .
    (Note: If the Font Book window does not appear, double-click on the book with the letter F on the dock.)
  • Font Book > Quit Font Book .
  • Go to Apple > System Preferences > click International > click Input Menu .
  • Check Arabic and Keyboard Viewer , then close the International panel.
  • Go to Macintosh HD > Applications , find and open Text Edit .
  • On the top right corner of the desktop, to the left of the sound icon, there should be an icon that looks like an American flag (if you are still in English system). Click on it and choose Arabic . Click on it again and choose Show Keyboard Viewer .
  • On the Keyboard viewer, click on the drop-down menu next to Font: , choose Urdu Nastaliq Unicode (you may have to look hard). Now you can type Urdu in Text Edit. Unfortunately you cannot do this in Word versions that are previous to Word 2004, because they do not work with Right-to-left languages.

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