On Mac, you can switch your keyboard language. This means you can get your English language keyboard to type characters from another language. Essentially, the keyboard keys will type either the same letter or symbol as what’s written on your keyboard, or they will type a character from the other language. This may be useful if you type a lot in another language or if the other language has many characters that you can’t easily type using the English keyboard.
How to use another keyboard language
Keyboard layouts for different languages are called input sources. When you want to switch to another language layout, you will change the input source from the input menu.
Add another keyboard language
- Go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
- Click on Keyboard, then select Input Sources.
- Click on the Add (plus sign) button.
- Find your language — you can use the Search field, then click on Add.
- Make sure “Show Input menu in menu bar” is selected.
Switch to the new keyboard language
When you want to type in the new language, find the Input menu in the menu bar at the top of your screen. It will be towards the right side of the bar.
- Click on the Input menu, then select Show Keyboard Viewer. This lets you see the layout for the new keyboard. Try pressing keys like Shift, Option or Command to see how that changes what character the keys will type. This can be useful even for the keyboard language you are used to.
- From the Input menu, select the keyboard language you wish to use.
How to switch keyboard languages
You can always use the Input menu to switch languages. Some apps may not support all keyboards. Those options will be grayed out in the Input menu if that is the case.
Use a shortcut to switch between keyboard languages
You can quickly toggle between keyboard languages.
To get to the next keyboard language in the list of languages from the Input menu, press:
To get to the previous language:
You can set up your keyboard so that the Function key changes the input source (keyboard language).
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences and click on Keyboard.
- Select the Keyboard tab. Open the menu next to “Press fn key to” and select Change Input Source from the options.
- Now when you want to change the keyboard language, press the Function (fn) key. You will see a pop-up briefly appear and show which language you have switched into.
To change the keyboard language on iPhone or iPad, see our video: