Switching keyboard layouts quickly
June 3, 2006 10:46 AM   Subscribe

I need to switch quickly between French and Greek keyboard layouts/character sets.

I'm about to start learning Greek, and to make vocabulary cards, I need a quick way to switch between layouts. I use a french azerty keyboard, and the language bar just doesn't cut it - the shortcuts (ctrl+caps+number) are too unwieldy for me. Is there a way to assign a simpler, quicker shortcut to this, or is there software that does this or allows to use two layouts at the same time, ideally? I'd like to type in greek, switch, then type the french translation, and so on.
posted by Oneirokritikos to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Also, I use Windows XP.
posted by Oneirokritikos at 10:50 AM on June 3, 2006

I don't know how to do this or if it is possible but a good solution might involve buying a second keyboard (< $20) and somehow assigning one to have a french layout and the other a greek layout.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:55 AM on June 3, 2006

I don't know how you get to it in Windows XP, but if you go into the standard keyboard shortcuts dialog ('Advanced Key Settings' or something like that), you can set up a hotkey for 'Switch between input languages'. Once that's set up, you can switch between your available input languages with one keystroke. I used to use Ctrl+Shift, I think.
posted by chrismear at 10:57 AM on June 3, 2006

chrismear, I thought that was it, but the only options available force me to use the caps key, which i'd rather avoid, as it then will switch between languages or caps alternately as I've experienced...ctrl+shift would be nice !
posted by Oneirokritikos at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2006

Go to your Control Panel, then open "Regional and Language Options". Go to the "Languages" tab and hit "Details...".

Use this interface to install the Greek and French language services, which will add the Greek and French keyboard layouts to your computer.

The default for switching between keyboard layouts is ALT+SHIFT, which just switches between the installed layouts in order. You can also assign keystrokes for specific layouts by using the "Key Settings" preferences.

The problem with this is that you will have the US (or wherever) default keyboard, but set to use the keys for the other language option. That is, the keys you hit do not correspond with what's printed on your keyboard. The easiest way to deal with this is to find and print out the keyboard layout for Greek and French so that you can refer to it. The french keyboard layout is here, the Greek layout is here. I bet you can find better representations of them if you google around a bit.
posted by gemmy at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2006

gemmy, you are right, ALT+SHIFT does toggle the layouts !! Awesome... as for the representation, I found some transparent stickers on ebay that allow me to see both languages ' characters on the same key.
Thanks !
posted by Oneirokritikos at 11:28 AM on June 3, 2006

You'd might want to set (for example) Alt-Shift-1 as English, and Alt-Shift-2 as French, Alt-Shift-3 as Greek and disable the Alt-Shift shortcut, that way you don't have to verify what layout you're currently using, thus being able to switch a bit quicker.
posted by Sharcho at 7:37 PM on June 3, 2006

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