Virtual Keyboard for Office

Type in many languages from one keyboard.

Here’s how you can type in other languages using a single keyboard into any Window program including Microsoft Office.

Google has added a virtual keyboard to its search pages. On some search pages like google.co.th and google.ru you can now click on a symbol to see a virtual keyboard.

Google - search virtual keyboard image from Virtual Keyboard for Office at Office-Watch.com

A virtual keyboard lets you click with a mouse on letters, in this case it lets you type in characters that might not be available on the keyboard attached to the computer. Handy for people travelling and faced with an unfamiliar keyboard.

That got us wondering about a similar feature in Microsoft Office or Windows.

Windows supplies an on-screen keyboard (Accessories | Ease of Access or Accessibility | On-Screen Keyboard. This accessory is intended for people who need help beyond the regular keyboard, but it has no obvious multi-language support.

Microsoft Office has only the Insert | Symbol feature which is great for typing the occasional character but very clumsy for typing words, let alone sentences.  Similarly the long-standing Character Map accessory in Windows is difficult to use for more than the occasional letter or symbol.


Windows

Windows does have a multilingual keyboard though it’s hardly obvious since it’s a combination of two obscure features.

Firstly, add extra ‘keyboards’ to the Windows 7 setup from Control Panel | Region and Language | Keyboard and Languages | Change Keyboards. In Windows XP similar options are at Control Panel | Regional and Language Options | Languages | Details.

Windows 10 from people 'in the know'

A detailed and independent look at Windows 10, especially written for the many people who use Microsoft Office.

Fully up-to-date with coverage of the Anniversary 2016 major update of Windows 10.

This 670 page book shows you important features and details for all serious Windows 10 users.

Under Installed Services there is a list of input languages and there’s probably only one – for example English (United States). Choose ‘Add’ to insert additional input language options from a long list. Windows 7 has a Preview button to see the keyboard layout.

Windows - Add input language.jpg image from Virtual Keyboard for Office at Office-Watch.com

The next step is to setup a way to change between these keyboards, there are various options we’ll look at the Language Bar. In Windows 7, Control Panel | Region and Language | Keyboard and Languages | Change Keyboards | Language Bar. In Windows XP similar options are at Control Panel | Regional and Language Options | Languages | Details | Settings | Language Bar.

With the Language Bar on the screen, you can see a pull-down list of your input languages.

Lastly, setup the on-screen keyboard. Windows XP: Programs | Accessories | Accessibility | On-Screen Keyboard. Windows 7: Programs | Accessories | Ease of Access | On-Screen Keyboard.

Use the Language Bar to switch languages and the appropriate keyboard will at the on-screen keyboard.

Windows - Language Bar and On-Screen keyboard.jpg image from Virtual Keyboard for Office at Office-Watch.com

 

 

Another option is Virtual Keyboard (in German) by Andrej Koch – you can download the program from here.

Virtual Keyboard 3 image from Virtual Keyboard for Office at Office-Watch.com

You can choose from 53 different languages. There are options to type into the display then paste to your program or have each key press entered directly into the other program (eg Word, PowerPoint etc).