Switch between different languages as you type

If you want to use more than one language in your file, you can use either of two methods: the Set Language method and the Language bar method, to switch between different languages when typing in Microsoft Office programs.

The method that you choose is based on the different languages that you use and your personal preference. If you just need ASCII characters for a symbol, see Insert ¢, £, ¥, ®, and other characters not on the keyboard.

What do you want to do?


Which method should I use?

Use the following table to determine which method is best for the languages that you use. You can also use both methods. For example, if you type in Latin-based languages, such as English and Spanish, and non-Latin-based languages, such as Arabic or Chinese, you can use the Set Language method to switch between English and Spanish and use the Language bar to switch between English and Arabic or Spanish and Arabic.

If you want to: Click this link for the steps:
Switch between Latin-based languages only and use the same keyboard layout for all languages. Set Language
Switch between Latin-based languages only and use the native keyboard layout specific to each language. Language bar
Switch between non-Latin-based languages only. Language bar
Switch between a Latin-based language and a non-Latin-based language. Language bar

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Switch between different languages by using the Language bar

Use the Language bar to switch between languages that use different keyboard layouts. When you switch a language by using the Language bar, the keyboard layout changes to the native keyboard for that language.

Use the Language bar if any one of the following conditions is true:

  • You want to switch between a Latin-based language (English, French) and a non-Latin-based language (Arabic, Chinese).
  • You only want to switch between non-Latin-based languages (Greek, Russian).
  • You prefer to use native keyboard layouts when typing in different Latin-based languages.

If you only want to type in Latin-based languages, such as English and Spanish, that use the same keyboard layout for all languages, see Switch between different languages by setting the proofing language.

Switch between languages using the Language bar

You must enable the keyboard layout for two or more languages in the Windows operating system before you can see and use the Language bar. If you have not enabled the keyboard layouts for the languages that you want to use, enable them now following the steps in Enable keyboard layouts for different languages. In most cases, when you enable a keyboard layout the Language bar automatically appears in the taskbar or appears on the desktop. If the Language bar does not automatically appear after you enable a keyboard, see Where is the Language bar in this article.

  1. Open your document and place the cursor in the document where you want to start to type text in a different language.
  2. Click the language icon English keyboard indicator on the Language bar, and then click the language that you want to use.

Keyboard shortcut  To switch between keyboard layouts, press ALT+SHIFT.

 Note    The English keyboard indicator icon is an example, and it shows when English is the language of the active keyboard layout. The actual icon shown on your computer depends on the language of the active keyboard layout.

If you have set up more than one keyboard layout for a single language, you can switch between layouts by clicking the language icon English keyboard indicator on the Language bar, and then clicking the keyboard layout that you want to use. The name on the indicator changes to reflect the active keyboard layout.

  1. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to switch between different languages.

Language bar

 Tip    In Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint, you can see the proofing language being used by looking in the program's status bar. To turn on this option, right-click the status bar in Word or PowerPoint, and then click Language. When this option is turned on, you can click this segment of the status bar to show the Language dialog box and change the language of the proofing tools.

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Where is the Language bar?

In most cases, the Language bar automatically appears on your desktop or in the Windows taskbar when you enable two or more keyboard layouts in the Windows operating system. You cannot see the Language bar if it is hidden or only one keyboard layout is enabled in the Windows operating system. If you don't see the Language bar, see Switch between different languages using the Language bar to learn how to show the Language bar.

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Applies to:
Access 2013, Excel 2013, OneNote 2013, Outlook 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Publisher 2013, Word 2013, Access 2010, Excel 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Publisher 2010, Word 2010