How to Change Keyboard Language

Easily type in different languages

Image shows system displaying 5 keybaoard choices (US, French, Pinyin, Spanish, and Devanagari keyboard options)

If you're multilingual, a single language keyboard probably won't cut it for you. Fortunately, Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS all support multiple languages and multiple language keyboards. Learn how to change the keyboard language and how to switch back-and-forth between languages and keyboards.

The instructions in this article apply to all modern Android and iOS devices, as well as both Windows and Mac computers.

How to Add a Language to a Keyboard on Android

Different versions of Android from different manufacturers may place options in slightly different places, but the general process will be similar. These instructions were developed with a device running Android 9 with the Gboard keyboard installed.

  1. Tap Settings > System > Languages & input.

  2. Tap Languages.

    Three screenshots: (left) Tap System, (middle) Tap Languages & input, (right) Tap Languages
  3. Tap + Add a language.

  4. Either scroll to the name of the language you want to add or search for it.

  5. Tap the language you want to add.

    Two screenshots: (left) Language preferences, Add a language, (right) List of languages

In some cases, you may be prompted to tap to select the version of the language you wish to add. For example, you may choose between French as used in either Canada or France.

Change to a Different Language Keyboard on Android

Once you have enabled other languages on your Android keyboard, it's easy to switch between those keyboards, depending on your needs.

Simply long-press the spacebar in Gboard, then tap the language keyboard you want to use.

Two screenshots: (left) G Board shows

How to Add and Switch Language Keyboards on iOS

Follow these instructions on any iOS device running iOS 12 (or newer) to add keyboard support for additional languages.

  1. Tap Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards.

    Three screenshots: (left) Settings > General, (middle) Keyboard, (right) Choose Keyboards
  2. Tap Add New Keyboard….

  3. Choose the language you wish to add from the displayed list.

    Two screenshots: (left) Shows installed keyboards and
  4. Once you've enabled other languages, you can easily switch between installed keyboards on iOS. Just long-press the globe icon in the iOS keyboard area, then tap the language you want to use.

    Three screenshots: (left) English keyboard, (middle) Keyboard switch options, with English, Emoji, and French keyboards listed, (right) French AZERTY keyboard

How to Add and Use Different Language Keyboards on Windows

Follow these instructions on any Windows system running Windows 10 to add keyboard support for additional languages. 

  1. Press the Windows Key+I to open Windows Settings.

  2. Select Time & language.

    Screenshot of Windows Settings, with Time & language option (lower left area)
  3. Select Region & language.

    Screenshot of Setting. Region & language shown (left), and + Add a language displayed to the right.
  4. Select + Add a language.

  5. Select a language from the list displayed to add it.

    Screenshot of Windows
  6. Once you've added the languages you want to use, switching between language keyboards on Windows is easy. Just select the language icon in the system tray (in the lower right portion of the screen) and choose the one you want to use.

    Screenshot shows language (ENG) button in system tray selected, with ENG (US keyboard), FRA (French keyboard), and Language preference options available.

How to Add and Use Language Keyboards on macOS

Follow these instructions on Apple systems running macOS X to add keyboard support for additional languages. 

  1. Select the Apple menu > System preferences.

  2. Select Keyboard.

    Screenshot of macOS System Preferences, with cursor over Keyboard option
  3. Select Input sources.

    Screenshot of macOS Keyboard options, with Input Sources shown
  4. Check the box next to Show Input menu in the menu bar. This adds an indicator to the menu bar that displays the current keyboard language selected, along with a drop-down to let you switch to other installed languages.

    Screenshot of macOS keyboard options, with
  5. Select the + icon in the lower left, below the list of languages).

  6. Choose a language from the list displayed to add it.

    Screenshot of macOS available keyboard language list and search box.
  7. Much like Windows, when you're ready to switch between installed language keyboards on macOS, it's a simple process. All you have to do is select the Input menu in the menu bar (typically, in the upper right area of the screen) and choose the language you would like to use.

    Screenshot of macOS with Input menu selected, and US and ABC (AZERTY) keyboard available.

How to Add Language Keyboards on Chrome OS

Follow these instructions on devices running Chrome 76 (or newer) to enable keyboard support for additional languages in Chrome OS.

  1. Select the three vertical dots typically found in the upper right corner.

  2. Select Settings.

    Screenshot Chrome OS menu with Settings (upper right) selected
  3. Select Advanced from the left-menu.

    Screenshot of Chrome OS Settings, with Advanced (left) selected
  4. Select Languages and Input.

  5. Select the current language.

    Chrome OS Language and input menu options screenshot
  6. Select Add languages.

    Chrome OS settings options, with Add languages link visible
  7. Either scroll to a name of the language you want to add or search for it.

    List of Chrome OS
  8. Select Add when finished.

  9. Select the current input method keyboard.

  10. Select the Show input options on the shelf slider to enable it.

    Screenshot of Chrome OS settings with
  11. Select Manage input methods.

  12. Select the checkbox next to every language keyboard you want to use.

    Screenshot of Chrome OS installed keyboard list with checkboxes next to US keyboard and French keyboard
  13. To switch the language for the installed keyboard and enabled input methods on Chrome OS devices, select the Input options from the shelf (typically in the lower right corner), then choose the language you want to use.

    Screenshot of Chrome OS with button selected for keyboard switching (lower right) and US keyboard and French keyboard options available