The layout of your computer keyboard is the way in which the keys (alphabet, numbers and symbols) are arranged on the keyboard. While it’s true that the most common language used on keyboards is English, there are other language alternatives available. When it comes to English, the most popular layouts include the following.

QWERTY Layout

Most standard keyboards feature this layout. The name is derived from the arrangement of letters on the top left-hand portion of the keyboard.

DVORAK Layout

One alternative to the QWERTY configuration is the DVORAK layout, named after August Dvorak who first patented it. This layout incorporates changes designed to be more comfortable for the typist, and is sometimes referred to as the Simplified Keyboard.

COLEMAK Layout

Designed as a practical alternative to the QWERTY layout, the COLEMAK configuration places the most commonly used words under the typist’s strongest fingers. This layout is considered by some to increase the efficiency and speed of the typist.

Usually, keyboards have one installed language, which is English most commonly. You can, however, download and change the keyboard layout to accommodate multiple languages.

Changing Keyboard Layout for a New Language

Follow the steps below to change the layout of your keyboard for a language other than English.

Adding a New Language to Your System

The first step in the process is to choose which language you want to use. To add a new language to your system, follow these steps.
1. Go to Start Menu and enter Control Panel.
2. Double click on Regional and Language Options. A new window will open.
3. Switch to the Keyboard and Language tab.
4. Click on the Change Keyboard Options bar. A new window will open.
5. There, click the Add button, select the language, and click OK. The new language will be added to your keyboard.

Selecting the Language as Your Default

Now that you have added the new language to your system, the next step is to set it as your default, so that your keyboard can change according to its configuration:
1. Right click on the Taskbar and go to Toolbar Option.
2. Check the Language Option. As a result, a language bar will appear on your Taskbar. When you select the newly installed language, it will automatically change the layout of your keyboard in accordance with it.

With these simple steps, you can configure your system’s layout according to a new, different language. When you change languages, the alphabet on your onscreen keyboard will also change. With a little practice, you can learn which letter is located where. And, as is the case with almost any new endeavor, you’ll become faster the more you use the keyboard.

Note: If you’re working on an MS Office program, you don’t need to go to the Control Panel for changing your keyboard configuration. The program shows a Language Bar at the bottom of the screen. Click this box and select the language you want to change to.

By following a few simple steps, you can not only change your keyboard layout from the standard QWERTY to either DVORAK or COLEMAK, but you can choose different languages as well.