Language Inputs

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This site is for documentation regarding the use of foreign character language inputs, such as Japanese, Chinese, and Russian. If you have any questions regarding the content of this page, please contact the Culpeper Director. Thank you.

Language Inputs on Mac OSX

To get started, you will need to activate the input menus for the languages you wish to use. To do this, go to System Preferences and then to International, then choose the Input Menu tab. Here you will get a list of languages that you can choose to have available. Click the check-boxes next to the inputs you want, and then exit out of System Preferences. You should now be able to use these inputs in any program that supports that input type.

Once the input types have been selected, they will appear in a drop-down menu on the top right part of the screen (the default is American English, which is represented with an American flag). On-campus lab Macs should already have the following languages available in the input menu for the 2007-2008 school year: Japanese, Russian, Chinese (simplified), Greek, and Devanagari.

Two switch quickly between your two most recently used input systems, hold down the apple ⌘ key and hit the space-bar. This should switch you back and forth between the last two inputs instantly. Using this short-cut it is easy to use two input systems in a single document.


  • To use the Japanese inputs, click on the American flag on the top-right part of the computer screen and scroll down to あ Hiragana. The hiragana should then appear as you type in romanji.
  • To get kanji, type the word in hiragana, then hit the space bar. The first choice of kanji should appear. If this is not the Kanji you want, hit the space bar again and a list of possible kanji will appear, arrow down to the one you want then hit the enter/return key.
  • To get katakana, hold down the shift key as you type, or go back up to the input menu and choose ア Katakana.
  • To get the particle o (を)type "wo" (typing the letter o will get you お).
  • To get a "small tsu/ya/yo/yu", type double letters, as you would in romanji (ex: matte = まって, kyo = きょ).


  • There are two options for Russian input: "Russian" and "Russian - Phonetic". "Russian" is laid-out like a classic Russian keyboard, and is recommended for people with experience with Russian computers; "Russian - Phonetic" is laid-out based on the phonetic sounds associated with a standard US QWERTY keyboard, and is recommended for most American students of Russian.
  • To type in Russian - Phonetic, click on the American flag on the top-right part of the computer screen and scroll down to Russian - Phonetic.
  • Although most sounds in the phonetic keyboard are intuitive to American Russian students, here is the break-down of which key does what for some of the less-obvious ones...
    • Q = Я
    • W = Ш
    • Y = Ы
    • { = Ю
    • } = Ж
    • | = Э
    • J = Й
    • C = Ц
    • B = Б

Chinese - Simplified

  • To use the simplified Chinese inputs with pinyin, click on the American flag on the top-right part of the computer screen and scroll down to ITABC (it will have a Chinese flag next to it).
  • Type words in using pinyin, then hit the space-bar to choose the correct character for each syllable. If the correct character comes up first, either begin typing the next word, or hit the space-bar a second time to confirm. If the character you want is not the first to appear, scroll to the right until you find the correct character and hit the space-bar a second time.

Devanagari (Sanskrit)

  • The input for Devanagari is not very commonly used, and as a result it does not work with many programs (such as Word, and most web-browsers). If you wish to use Devanagari, please contact the Culpeper Director.


  • To use Korean GongjinCheong Romaja input, select it from the language menu in the top right part of the screen. As you type, hangŭl will appear.
  • Most of the characters in this input system are logically linked to the English sounds, however there are a few less intuitive ones, such as w = ㅡ (ŭ).

Language Inputs on Windows

Currently on-campus Windows machines are not set-up to use foreign character inputs. If you wish to use a Windows machine to type foreign characters, please contact the Culpeper Director