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Localizing Your System

Windows supports many international standards, formats, and languages. Use Control Panel's Regional and Language Options utility to adjust country-specific settings such as unit of measurement; currency, number, and date formats; and keyboard and display language.

To set formats for numbers, currencies, times, and dates:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Regional and Language Options > Formats tab (Figure 4.44).

    Figure 4.44

    Figure 4.44 The language that you choose affects how programs format numbers, currencies, times, and dates.

    or

    Choose Start, type regional and language in the Search box, and then press Enter.

  2. Choose a language from the Current Format drop-down list.
  3. To change individual settings, click Customize this Format (Figure 4.45).
    Figure 4.45

    Figure 4.45 The Example section shows how selected settings affect the appearance of quantities.

  4. Click OK in each open dialog box.

To set your location:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Regional and Language Options > Location tab (Figure 4.46).
    Figure 4.46

    Figure 4.46 Some programs and web services use this location to deliver you local information such as news and weather.

  2. Choose your location from the Current Location drop-down list.
  3. Click OK (or Apply).

To set the keyboard language:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Regional and Language Options > Keyboards and Languages tab (Figure 4.47).
    Figure 4.47

    Figure 4.47 The input language controls the language used when you type on your keyboard.

  2. Click Change Keyboards.
  3. On the General tab, click Add, specify the language(s) and keyboard layout(s) to install, and then click OK (Figure 4.48).

    Figure 4.48

    Figure 4.48 Keyboard layouts rearrange the keys' character assignments. Pressing the [ key on a U.S. keyboard with a German layout, for example, types the ü character.

    You can click the preview button to look at the keyboard layout of each language before you add it.

  4. On the Language Bar tab, set the location and appearance of the language bar (Figure 4.49).
    Figure 4.49

    Figure 4.49 The default location—on the taskbar—is the most sensible place for the language bar.

  5. On the Advanced Key Settings tab, define a hotkey for each language (Figure 4.50).
    Figure 4.50

    Figure 4.50 Defining hotkeys makes it easy to switch among languages on the fly.

  6. Click OK (or Apply).
  7. On the taskbar, click the language bar to choose a keyboard layout (Figure 4.51).
    Figure 4.51

    Figure 4.51 Click the language bar and choose the language or keyboard layout that you want to switch to; switch by pressing the left Shift and left Alt keys at the same time, or press the language's hotkey (if you defined one).

To set the display language:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Regional and Language Options > Keyboards and Languages tab (refer to Figure 4.47).
  2. In the Display Language section, choose a language from the list and click OK.

    or

    If you don't see the list of display languages, you need to install additional language files first. Click Install/Uninstall Languages (if a security prompt appears, type an administrator password or confirm the action) and follow the onscreen instructions (Figure 4.52).

    Figure 4.52

    Figure 4.52 This wizard shows you how to get additional languages.

To set the preferred language for older programs:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Regional and Language Options > Administrative tab (Figure 4.53).
    Figure 4.53

    Figure 4.53 If an older program is unable to recognize your preferred language, Windows can swap the character set.

  2. In the Language for Non-Unicode Programs section, click Change System Locale (if a security prompt appears, type an administrator password or confirm the action), choose your preferred language in the list, and then click OK.
  3. To apply your Regional and Language settings to all new user accounts or to system accounts, click Copy to Reserved Accounts (if a security prompt appears, type an administrator password or confirm the action), check the desired account boxes, and then click OK.
  4. Click OK (or Apply).
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