Sometimes on purpose, and often by mistake, you can switch the keyboard language in Windows 10 using a key combination. If you press the ALT and SHIFT keys at the same time, you can switch back and forth between two languages.
If the language switch wasn’t intentional, you may only notice it when the letters you type don’t match what you expect, such as when a typed ‘Z’ becomes a ‘Y’ in your Word document or when umlauts no longer appear. If you don’t want to use this function, we’ll show you how to change or disable the key combination in this tutorial.
However, you can very well want to use this function, for example if you want to regularly write texts in German and English or another language – then working with the appropriate keyboard layout brings a lot of relief once you get used to it. The difference between the German and English layout may not be that big, but working with a French keyboard is much more comfortable because accent aigu, accent grave and accent circonflexe have their own keys and do not have to be inserted with annoying key sequences.
Install new keyboard language
So that you with your Windows operating system If you can set another language for your keyboard, you have to install it first (German and English are often preinstalled). If your Windows 10 use the key combination WINDOWS+I to call up the computer settings. Here you will find the “Time and Language” button.
If you call up this button, you will find “Language” in the left column. In the “Preferred languages” section, you can install another language by clicking on the plus sign next to “Add language”.
A new window will open with the languages that Windows 10 supports. In the next installation step, the operating system will ask you which language features you want to install. Remove all ticks so that nothing changes to your previous keyboard settings.
Show language icon in taskbar
(You can only complete this step if you have more than one language installed – otherwise you will not see the language information in the taskbar.)
If you often accidentally change the language, it is helpful to have the language displayed in the taskbar.
Right-click on the taskbar and select “Taskbar settings” from the drop-down menu – here you will find the “Turn system icons on or off” button in the Notification area section.
In this list there is an option “Input indicator”, here you click on the slider to enable or disable this option. Now the abbreviation of the currently active keyboard language appears in the task bar next to the time and date display – i.e. DEU for German, ENG for English and so on.
If you want to change the keyboard language, you can now simply click on this small icon with the abbreviation and select the keyboard language in the menu that appears.
Change the key combination for the keyboard language
Whether on the current Windows operating system or older versions like Windows 8, you can change the keyboard language by default with the key combination ALT+SHIFT. Did you know that you can change or cancel these?
To do this, call up the settings again with the key combination WINDOWS+I and click on “Time and language”. In the left column you will find the “Language” section and here the “Select an input method that should always be used as” button.
In this new panel, you can open a new window under “Keyboard shortcuts for input languages” and use the “Change shortcut keys” button to either set your preferred combination or assign none.
If you don’t assign a keyboard shortcut in the Text and Input Languages window, you can no longer use the keyboard to change the keyboard language.
Quick guide: Install new language in Windows
1. Open the “Time and language” submenu in the settings
2. Under “Region and Language” you can “Add a language”
3. Select the language of your choice here and do not tick the installation box
Brief instructions: Change the keyboard via the taskbar
1. Right-click on your taskbar and click on “Taskbar Settings”
2. Under “Turn system icons on or off” you can enable the button next to the “Input indicator”.
3. An icon with the abbreviation of the currently selected language will appear on the taskbar. Clicking on this opens a menu where you can select the language.
Quick guide: Change keyboard language with key combination
1. Go to “Time and Language” in your PC’s settings
2. Under “Language” you will find the option “Input method (…) that should always be used as default”
3. Under “Keyboard shortcut for input languages” you can “Change” or override the shortcut.