How to Customize a Keyboard Layout

Updated March 23, 2017

Keyboard layouts determine what characters will appear when a key is pressed. The standard keyboard layout is QWERTY, which most English keyboards use as a default layout. Adding languages and keyboard layouts can be easily accomplished through the Windows Control Panel. You can add any number of languages to the Language Bar, then select the keyboard layout for those specific languages. At any time, you can also easily revert to the standard QWERTY layout.

From the Start Menu, click on "Control Panel" to open the Control Panel. In the search box, type "keyboard layout" and then click on "Change keyboards or other input methods" in the Region and Language category.

Click on "Change keyboards..." in the Keyboard and Languages tab of the Region and Language dialogue box.

Click on "Add..." under the General tab of the Text Services and Input Languages dialogue box. Find the language you want to add and expand its tree, then expand the "Keyboard" subtree and click on the check box next to the language layout you want to add. You can repeat this process to add multiple keyboard layouts.

Click on "OK" in the Add Input Language dialogue box, click on "OK" in the Text Services and Input Languages dialogue box, then finally click on "OK" in the Region and Language dialogue box.

Click on the keyboard layout button in the Language Bar at the bottom right side of the taskbar. If you are using a standard English layout, the keyboard layout button will be marked "EN." From here, you will see a list of added language layouts, from which you can select the one you want to use. To revert to the standard English layout at any time, choose "EN" from the list.

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About the Author

Sam Foner began writing, teaching and performing in 1997. He has presented and lectured for many global associations, including the Young Presidents Organization and Rotary International, and his writing appears on and Foner is a member of Mensa International and holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from Hong Kong University.