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Russify Your Computer

Russify Your Windows PC

If you are using a newer version of Windows, you already have Cyrillic capabilities; you only need to activate the keyboard.

STEP ONE - To install the Russian national standard Cyrillic keyboard (or any other non-US keyboard for which MS provides support):

  • On your desktop, go to My Computer => Control Panel => Regional Options
  • Click on the General tab.
  • Find the language settings, check "Cyrillic" and "OK".

STEP TWO - Install the appropriate keyboard(s):

  • On your desktop, go to My Computer => Control Panel => Keyboard
  • Click on the Languages tab.
  • Choose the keyboard(s) you wish to install by clicking on "Add" and scrolling through the list of keyboards for different languages.
  • Then, still on the Language tab screen, pick a "hot-key" to switch between English and and your other keyboard(s). The default is Alt-Shift, but Control-Shift is easier to use.
  • Also, check to see that the Enable indicator box is checked. That allows you to see what keyboard you are in on the taskbar. You can write in the language you have chosen by pressing the "hot-key" (Ctrl-Shift, or whatever you chose) in most Windows programs. Proceed to get keyboard stickers, or to the keyboard image.

An excellent site for help is RusWin.net, which is an exhaustive compilation of information for Windows PCs and Internet browsers.

These are directions on how to Russify your older Windows 98 PC. They will enable you to type in Russian, as well as fill in blanks in Cyrillic (such as on the Russian Grammar Exercise pages at this site). A note of caution: the keyboard is standard Cyrillic, and it is worth purchasing a set of Cyrillic keyboard stickers to place on your computer. If you would prefer a homophonic keyboard, using the AATSEEL standard (thereby avoiding the need for keyboard stickers), try the keyboard help page of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL), which is full of other related links and sites of interest.

STEP ONE -- To install the Russian national standard Cyrillic keyboard (or any other non-US keyboard for which MS provides support):

  • On your desktop, go to My Computer => Control Panel => Add/Remove Programs
  • Click on the Windows Set-up tab.
  • Check off the box marked "Multi-language support."
  • Windows might prompt you for your original Windows-95 or Windows-98 CD ROM.

If you do not have this disk:

STEP TWO - Install the appropriate keyboard(s):

  • On your desktop, go to My Computer => Control Panel => Keyboards
  • Click on the Languages tab.
  • Choose the keyboard(s) you wish to install by clicking on "Add" and scrolling through the list of keyboards for different languages.
  • Then, still on the Language tab screen, pick a "hot-key" to switch between English and and your other keyboard(s). The default is Alt-Shift, but Control-Shift is easier to use.
  • Also, check to see that the Enable indicator box is checked. That allows you to see what keyboard you are in on the taskbar. You can write in the language you have chosen by pressing the "hot-key" (Ctrl-Shift, or whatever you chose) in most Windows programs. Proceed to get keyboard stickers, or the keyboard image.


Russify Your Macintosh

The latest Mac operating systems have Cyrillic capability sufficient for most uses. In Mac OSX, simply go to System Preferences, choose "International", then "Input Menu". Check Russian, and check "show input in menu bar" (at the bottom of the window). that allows you to see what keyboard you are using in the task bar. If you would like to set up a hot-key to change keyboards, click on "options" and select what you wish. When using Cyrillic, you will need to both select Russian as the keyboard and a Cyrillic font in your font list (those are indicated by a "CY" next to them). Proceed to get keyboard stickers, or to the keyboard image.

Some older Mac operating systems need to be tweaked, or you may wish to have greater than standard capabilities. The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) maintains a complete listing of information on Russifying your Macintosh. You will still need, probably, to purchase keyboard stickers, or, if you wish, use the keyboard image.

Commercial Cyrillic Drivers

There are quite a few companies that sell Cyrillic drivers for computer use. ParaType is one of the best known, and also sells dictionaries and grammar checkers. You can also find shareware online.

Getting Cyrillic Keyboard Stickers

You will probably need to get keyboard stickers so that you can see where the Cyrillic letters are on your QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard layout you will have downloaded is the Russian standard. The stickers fit on your keyboard and generally have the Cyrillic letter in blue on the bottom-right corner. You can order them at Russianstickers.com.

Cyrillic Keyboard Image

This is a a GIF image of the Russian national standard Cyrillic keyboard layout, with the American QWERTY as a comparison. You can save the image and print it for reference while typing if you do not wish to purchase stickers. The image is from RusWin.net.