Accessing Multilingual Fonts and Characters on Windows

For occasional access the simplest way is to use an on-screen keyboard utility such as Character Map (Windows). These bring up a visual keyboard on screen for selecting characters. For more extensive character input it is best to change your language settings to allow you to use your keyboard.

Using the Character Map (Windows)

You can insert multilingual characters, letters with accent marks and special characters into your documents using the Character Map (Windows). These utilities allow you to view the characters in a selected font, then copy/paste them into your document.

To open Character Map, select Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map. The Character Map will then appear on screen. Simply change the font and scroll through the display of characters, then select a desired character. You can copy individual or a group of characters to the Clipboard and paste them into any program that can display them.

You can copy individual characters or a group of characters to the Clipboard and paste them into any program that can display them. Or, depending on the program you are using (such as WordPad), you can even copy characters by dragging them from Character Map directly into an open document.

For more information on the Character Map in Windows click here.

Using Your Keyboard to Input Different Languages (Windows)

Windows provides tools to change the language or keyboard layout. When you enable/install additional languages it will allow you to access the multilingual characters in a font, if they are available.

The Language bar enables you to easily switch between different languages for typing on the keyboard (and other input methods). The language bar will appear in the taskbar if you add a second language or keyboard layout. You can move the Language bar anywhere on your screen, minimize it to the taskbar, or make it nearly transparent. If you do not use it, you can close it. You should remove text services that you do not use, as they require computer memory and can affect performance.

To add an input locale and keyboard layout:

1. Open Regional and Language Options in Control Panel (click Start > Control Panel > Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options > Regional and Language Options)


2. Select the Languages tab, then select Details button in Text Services and input languages section.

3. In the Text Services and Input Languages screen, select Add.

3. Select the input locale and keyboard layout or Input Method Editor (IME) you want to add.

For more information on the Language bar in Windows, click here.

For information on Windows Keyboard Layouts, click here.