Office XP worldwide: Get the most out of multilingual features

Applies to
Microsoft Office XP

Microsoft Office XP makes it easier than ever to work with text and information worldwide. Office programs are based on a single worldwide executable file, and most utilize the Unicode text encoding standard. So no matter which language version of Office you are using, you can display, type, edit, and print text in all of the European, East Asian, right-to-left, and South Asian languages that your version of Microsoft Windows supports.

Working with text

Here's a sampling of the features and functionality that help you type and display text in different languages. Many are built into Office programs; others are available for download or purchase.

ShowText entry in East Asian languages

If your operating system language does not support the East Asian language you want to type in, you can use a special program called an Input Method Editor (IME) to do so. Office XP uses a new set of IMEs that replace what were known as Global IMEs in previous versions of Office.

You can use the new IMEs to type text in any Office program, not just in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook® as in previous versions. IMEs for Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean are available for download here on the Microsoft Office Online Web site. Learn about downloading Input Method Editors to use with Office XP.

ShowText editing in right-to-left and other complex languages

On a system that supports right-to-left languages such as Arabic, you can edit text in those languages, and Office programs display and format them correctly.

Newly supported in Office XP (with the use of Microsoft Windows 2000 or another supporting operating system) are other complex languages, such as Thai, Hindi, Tamil, Georgian, Armenian, Vietnamese, Farsi, and Urdu.

ShowWeb page support

You can create multilingual Web pages and intranet content in any of the Office programs. Microsoft FrontPage® in particular has extended its support for international text entry by increasing the number of languages it supports.

ShowSpelling checkers and other proofing tools

Office XP ships with spelling checkers and other tools (such as AutoCorrect) for several popular languages; tools for other languages are available in the Microsoft Office Proofing Tools.

ShowSymbols and international characters

Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint®, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft FrontPage, and Microsoft Publisher offer improved ways to add symbols and international characters to your document through an improved Symbol dialog box.

ShowVisual keyboard layout

If you change your keyboard layout in order to type characters in a different language, the characters that appear on your screen may no longer correspond to the characters displayed on your keyboard. Microsoft Visual Keyboard is an on-screen visual keyboard layout program that shows you the keyboard layout that corresponds to the language your keyboard is set to.

ShowText translation

Microsoft Word offers basic bilingual dictionary and translation capability, as well as access to translation services on the World Wide Web. Additional translation dictionaries are included with Microsoft Office Proofing Tools.

Changing the language of the user interface or Help

Multinational organizations that use Office can support organization members worldwide by adding Microsoft Office Multilingual User Interface (MUI) Pack (formerly called MultiLanguage Pack) to their Office installation.

Microsoft Office MUI Pack adds key multilingual capabilities to those already built into Office by providing the translated text for the user interface, Help, wizards, and templates for Office programs. By using Office MUI Pack, you can view commands, dialog box options, Help topics, wizards, and templates in a familiar language.

Office MUI Pack also includes Microsoft Office Proofing Tools, which provides fonts, spelling and grammar checkers, AutoCorrect lists, and other tools that can help you create and edit Office documents in the language of your choice.

Obtaining multilingual tools that aren't built into Office

While many multilingual capabilities are built in to Office programs, some programs are not. Here's how you can obtain them.

ShowMicrosoft Office MUI Pack

Available to organizations through volume and open licensing agreements. Contact your local Microsoft sales office.

ShowProofing Tools

Ships as part of Office MUI Pack. Also available for purchase as a standalone product at Learn about proofing text in many languages by using Office Proofing Tools.

ShowMicrosoft Visual Keyboard

Available for download here on the Microsoft Office Online Web site. Visit the download page for Microsoft Visual Keyboard.

ShowInput Method Editors

Ship with Office MUI Pack and Proofing Tools. Also available for download here on the Microsoft Office Online Web site. Learn about downloading Input Method Editors to use with Office XP.