How to use your PC keyboard to type English and Spanish
Some friends asked me how to do this. You may want to print this section out and give it a try:
Turning on a 2nd language in XP isn’t difficult and has the added benefit of activating a facility in versions of MS Word (don’t ask me which, I know it works with MS Office 2003 and newer) so that it detects that you’re typing in another language and switches it’s spelling and grammar tools. Pretty slick.
Let’s begin by opening Windows XP Control Panel (Start, Control Panel.) In their Wisdom, Microsoft allows TWO different control panel “views”. If you’re looking at the “category” view, you need to click once on Date, Time, Language and Regional Options, then click once on Regional and Language Options. If you’re looking at “classic” view, simply double click on Regional and Language Options.
Click on the Languages tab. It’ll look like this then:
In the Text services and input languages pane, click the Details… button.
You should see that the Default input language pane shows English and only English appears in the Installed services pane, like this:
So, we need to click the Add… button to install another language. Then click the pull down list of “Input languages.”
Wow! There’s quite a list and many Spanish languages to choose from. Pick your favorite Spanish-speaking country and click OK. You should see that a second language is now in the Installed services pane.
It’s important to note the little blue blocks with EN (for English) and ES (for español). You’ll see those again soon on your Taskbar.
Pay close attention now because XP will come up with a weird message. In the Spanish section, click on Keyboard and then Key Settings… and you will likely receive a message like this:
Click Yes. Now to choose a hot key setting. This is optional and it can be of your own choosing. I use Ctrl-Shift-1 for English and Ctrl-Shift-2 for Spanish which I much prefer to the default of Left Alt+Shift toggling. To set this, click on Switch to English… and the Change key sequence button. Click the checkbox for Enable key sequence. Click on the radio button for CTRL, pull down the list and choose 1, and click OK. Repeat for Switch to Spanish… only choose 2. It should end up looking like this:
Click OK three times and you should be done.
You should see the language bar displaying EN on the bottom of your screen on the task bar. You CAN change from EN to ES just using this, but try pressing Ctrl-Shift-1 and Ctrl-Shift-2 repeatedly and you should see it alternate between the two input languages.
You’ll now need to learn how some of your keys have changed. Open Word and play around by pressing each key and it’s shifted variant. Some important notes:
- The strangest change to get used to is the 2 tap method for making accented vowels. For example, to make a é, tap [ and then tap e. That’s right, two separate taps. Any vowel can be accented by tapping the [ key (open square bracket) then the vowel. NOTHING appears to happen when you first tap the [ key; only after you press the vowel key will you see the accented letter.
- The ; is now ñ.
- The ! is still !, but the + is now ¡
- The = is now ¿
- The ? key is no longer ?. The _ (underscore) key is.