Choosing an Operating System

The Microsoft Windows® 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Microsoft Windows NT® 4.0, and Microsoft Windows 2000 operating systems support international features of Microsoft Office XP. However, if your users work with a set of different languages that includes Asian languages, Indic languages, or right-to-left languages, then Windows 2000 provides the most effective support for displaying and editing documents and for changing the language of the user interface.


Toolbox     Information about the languages supported by each operating system and the limitations of that support is included in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet Wwsuppt.xls, which is installed by default when you run the Office Resource Kit Setup program. For more information, see Supplemental Documentation in the Toolbox.


Displaying the user interface in other languages

The ability of Office XP to display the user interface and online Help in some languages depends on the capabilities of the operating system. Windows 98 and Windows Me provide fairly broad support within a single language category. Windows NT 4.0 has more flexibility, and Windows 2000 provides support for all possible Office user interface languages.

For example, on a computer running the English version of Windows 98 or Windows Me, Microsoft Word can display the user interface in any European language. On a computer running Windows NT 4.0, Word can also display the user interface in Asian languages, and on Windows 2000, Word supports right-to-left languages.

Some code pages provide support for groups of languages; other code pages provide support for only a single language. Therefore, make sure a user's system locale (which governs the code page of the user's computer) is set to a locale that supports the primary language the user needs.


 Note    Only Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 support changing the system locale. With Windows 98 and Windows Me, users must run the appropriate localized version of the operating system.


For example, if your users work primarily in Japanese, set their system locale to Japanese (or have them run a Japanese version of Windows 98). If your users work primarily in French, their system locale can be any Western European system locale (or they can run any Western European version of Windows 98).

The tables included below provide guidelines for getting the best support for displaying the Office XP user interface and online Help in Microsoft Access, Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Word when your users run Windows 98, Windows Me, or Windows NT 4.0.

The following table contains guidelines for getting the best support for displaying the Office XP user interface and online Help in Windows 98 and Windows Me.

Running this language version of Windows 98 or Windows Me Can display the user interface and online Help in these languages
English, Western European, or Eastern European English, Western European, and Eastern European
Asian English and the matching Asian
Right-to-left (Arabic or Hebrew) English, Western European, Eastern European, and the matching right-to-left language

The following table contains guidelines for getting the best support for displaying the Office XP user interface and online Help in Windows NT 4.0.

Running this language version of Windows NT 4.0 Can display the user interface and online Help in these languages
English, Western European, or Eastern European English, Western European, Eastern European, and Asian
Asian English, Western European, Eastern European, and Asian
Right-to-left (Arabic or Hebrew) English, Western European, Eastern European, and the matching right-to-left language

The following table contains guidelines for getting the best support for displaying the Office XP user interface and online Help in Windows 2000.

Running this language version of Windows 2000 Can display the user interface and online Help in these languages
Any English, Western European, Eastern European, Asian, and right-to-left languages

 Note    Eastern European languages are supported by the Central European, Baltic Rim, Cyrillic, Greek, and Turkish code pages.


Limitations of displaying the user interface in other languages

For some applications and features in Office XP, the native code page of the operating system must support the user interface language. For these applications and features, text in the user interface — such as menus and dialog text in Microsoft Outlook® or file names in Binder — must be supported by the operating system's system code page.

When you use Microsoft FrontPage®, Outlook, and some Office features (such as Binder and the Office XP Shortcut Bar), you can change the user interface language to any language that is supported by the system code page of your operating system.

When you change the user interface to a language that does not have code page support, Outlook and FrontPage display the user interface in English.


Toolbox    Some Office features do not allow you to change the language of the user interface or online Help. Information about those features is available in the Microsoft Excel workbook Intlimit.xls, which is installed by default when you run the Office Resource Kit Setup program. For more information, see Supplemental Documentation in the Toolbox.


Displaying online Help in other languages

When you change the online Help language in Office XP, the Help content is displayed in the new language, but the Help user interface is still displayed in the Office user interface language. However, some elements of the Help user interface (such as the Contents tab, the Options menu, and toolbar ScreenTips) are always in the language version of the Office SKU that was installed.

Furthermore, when you change the Help content language, the language must have code page support from your operating system. Otherwise, the Help topics listed in the Contents tab will be unintelligible. In this case, you can use the Answer Wizard and Index tabs to find Help topics. However, if you want to use these tabs, you must display online Help in a language that the Answer Wizard supports.


 Note    Windows 2000 supports all languages used by Office XP.


If you change the Help language to a language that is not supported by the Answer Wizard, the language must have code page support. In this case, Help displays the Full Text Search tab to allow you to find Help topics.

The Answer Wizard supports the following languages:

Arabic French Portuguese (Brazilian)
Chinese (Simplified) German Portuguese (Iberian)
Chinese (Traditional) Hebrew Russian
Czech Italian Spanish
Danish Japanese Swedish
Dutch Korean Thai
English Norwegian
Finnish Polish

 Note    For the Thai language, only the Answer Wizard index is localized.


Displaying documents in other languages

Users running Office XP can display documents in a wider range of languages than they can use for the Office XP user interface and online Help. For example, German users running Office XP on the German language version of Windows 98 can view Japanese documents even though they cannot switch to a Japanese user interface.

All language versions of Windows 2000 support displaying documents in all languages. The following table provides guidelines for getting the best support for displaying Office XP documents in Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0.

Running this language version of Windows 98, Windows Me, or Windows NT 4.0
Can display documents in these languages
English, Western European, Eastern European, or Asian (including Thai and Vietnamese) All languages, except right-to-left and Indic
Right-to-left (Arabic or Hebrew) All languages, except Thai, Vietnamese, and Indic

 Note    Eastern European languages are supported by the Central European, Baltic Rim, Cyrillic, Greek, and Turkish code pages. The Indic languages supported include Devanagari-based languages (Hindi, Konkani, Marathi, Nepali, and Sanskrit) and Tamil.


Editing documents in other languages

Typically, if a user's operating system prevents the display of a certain language, users are not able to edit documents in that language. However, in the case of Asian documents, even though users can display documents, they might not be able to edit them without a special editing interface.

Input of Asian characters requires an Input Method Editor (IME). The Microsoft Office XP Multilingual User Interface Pack provides IMEs for Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. The IMEs allow users to edit Asian text in Office applications, regardless of the language version of their operating system. Microsoft Office XP Proofing Tools also includes Input Method Editors.

Limitations for entering content in Outlook in other languages

There are two main types of content that users can type in Outlook: plain text and rich text. Text typed in a plain text area cannot be saved and retrieved in a language that is not supported by the default code page set on the user's computer. For example, text entered in most fields in a Contact entry (such as the contact name or telephone number) are plain text. They cannot have special formatting (for instance, bold or italics), and they cannot be saved and retrieved in a language that is not supported by the default code page.

Other text-entry areas support rich text – for example, the message body of an e-mail message. Rich text support is provided in several ways (for instance, by using RTF or HTML), and supports formatting, links, and so on. Rich text areas also support text entry and retrieval for languages that are not supported by the default code page on the user's computer.

Adding international support to Windows 98 and Windows Me

If your international organization includes Windows 98 or Windows Me users who work with Office XP documents in several languages, you can add international capabilities to the operating system. Adding multilingual support allows users to display foreign language characters that Windows 98 and Windows Me do not otherwise support, and adding keyboard support allows users to input characters not found on the U.S. keyboard.

To add multilingual support
  1. In Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs, and then click the Windows Setup tab.
  2. Select the Multilanguage Support check box.
  3. To install support for selected languages, double-click Multilanguage Support and then select the languages you want.

 Note    Support for right-to-left languages can be added only to a right-to-left language version of Windows 98 and Windows Me.


To enter text in a given language, users need to use the appropriate keyboard layout.

To add keyboard support
  1. In Control Panel, double-click Keyboard, and on the Language tab, click Add.
  2. In the Add Language dialog box, choose a setting from the Language list.
  3. To change the keyboard layout for a language, click the Properties button, and in the Language Properties dialog box, choose a setting from the Keyboard layout list.
  4. To enable switching between keyboards by clicking an indicator on the taskbar, select the Enable indicator on taskbar check box.

See also

  • Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 provide multilingual support, but you must select the keyboard layout you want to use. For information about adding keyboard support, see online Help for the appropriate operating system.
  • The Office Web site provides a keyboard layout program, Visual Keyboard, that makes it easier for users to type languages not represented on the physical keyboard. For information about the Visual Keyboard, search the Microsoft Office Online home page for "visual keyboard".
 
 
Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003