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I'm using Kubuntu at work for quite a while now and been using multiple keyboard layouts , German, English, Romanian. When I switch the layout on Kubuntu it changes globaly.

Is there an option for that on Windows 7 ? currently the layout changes in a per-application way, which might be considered a feature, but I would like it to be system wide.


To explain a little more with an example: I have 2 application open Notepad and Firefox when I change the layout for Firefox it's only switched for Firefox, when I go to Notepad it switches to the layout whatever was setted there.

I would like that if I switch the layout for 1 application to switch it for all the rest as well

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Good question since Windows 7 will be used by a lot of users. –  r0ca Feb 9 '10 at 16:21
He is asking about keyboard layout switching policy. I am too looking for global switching policy and cannot find it. (Writing an answer, because I have no credit yet, to write comments.) To clarify, global switching policy is when you switch the keyboard once, and it is persistent across whole windowing system. Windows defaults to per-application, that is the setting is persistent across single application windows. –  dhill Mar 3 '10 at 11:00
Windows 8 seems to have very good built-in keyboard layout switching functionality. It switches across all applications and has a built in shortcut key (Windows + Space) to change layouts. –  Sam Nov 11 '12 at 8:43
See also superuser.com/questions/13324/… –  Colonel Panic Feb 4 '13 at 18:12
Keyla didn't worked for me. Also check this registry solution: superuser.com/a/702101/60856 –  Denja Jan 16 '14 at 11:10

6 Answers 6

up vote 15 down vote accepted

From the research I did, I found no way to do this through windows; I think it is hard-coded.

However I found an application that provides this behaviour: Keyla. It is even open source, so you can be sure there is no funny business going on.

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You can be sure that there are no funny business going on only if you (1) examine the sources, (2) build the program yourself from sources. Never trust a binary, especially if it is unsigned. –  Denis Nikolaenko Jun 20 '12 at 14:31
I've found that this program doesn't always work. For example, I think the keyboard layout of the "Run" dialog doesn't change. –  Sam Nov 11 '12 at 8:41
try my answer and see if it fixes the issue. –  MVCylon Jul 14 '14 at 18:00

If you want to change the system language; Microsoft does not deliver this settings for every version of windows. Only the Ultimate Version of Windows 7 is capable of this.

Take a look at the following links:

If you only want the keyboard layout changed this question is duplicate of the question answered here:

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It's a duplicate of itself? Interesting concept :) –  gtirloni Sep 2 '13 at 12:52
This answer is completely off-topic, should be voted down. –  MarcH Jan 4 at 19:25

Switching the keyboard layout for all applications simultaneously is the default behavior in Windows 8, so that might be a reason to upgrade.

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So far you’ve successfully changed the keyboard layout. However, to make sure that the keyboard layout setting is in effect for that account, perform the steps below:

  1. Go to Control Panel and Click on Change Keyboard or other input methods link
  2. Under administrative tab click on Copy to reserved accounts
  3. Check both the check boxes.
  4. Click Apply to apply the changes.
  5. Click Ok to confirm the changes

you can see the full thread here http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_vista-desktop/how-can-i-make-the-keyboard-layout-selection-apply/056964db-e75c-4399-9a1d-686f33264598

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The way I do it in Linux is

setxkbmap us

us means your keyboard layout.

I know you're asking about Windows, but I think this information is also very valuable and useful for almost anyone that uses Linux.

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Since this isn't directly related to this question, I think it's better to instead create a new question that applies to Linux and post your answer there. –  Sam May 31 '13 at 23:57


You may want to have access to more than one keyboard layout. This is useful if you write in more than one language.

To add new keyboard layouts:

  1. Choose: K-Menu->System Settings->Regional & Accessibility->Keyboard Layout

  2. In the Layout tab, check the Enable Keyboard Layouts box.

  3. Choose the country in which the keyboard layout you want is used, and click Add. The country should appear in the Active Layouts list.

  4. Click the country in the Active Layouts list, and choose the appropriate Layout variant for the country selected. This is important for countries where more than one language are commonly spoken.

  5. Click on Apply to save your settings.

A flag icon should now appear in the system tray showing the current keyboard layout being used. Click the flag icon to switch to the other keyboard layout.

Source: http://linux.about.com/od/kubuntu_doc/a/kubudg38t11.htm


  1. Click Start and then Control Panel

  2. In Control Panel, if you are in Classic View, click on Control Panel Home (top left corner)

  3. Open Clock, Language, and Region

  4. Click on Regional and Language Options.

  5. Click the Keyboards and Languages tab and then click Change keyboards.

  6. Under Installed services, click Add.

  7. In the Add Input Language dialog box, select the keyboard layout you would like to add from the list available and click OK.

  8. The keyboard layout you added will be included in the list. To set the new layout as your default, select it from the list. Click OK to save your changes

  9. You can switch between different input languages (= keyboard languages) by clicking on the Language Bar button or by pressing the Alt + Shift keys

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I added kubuntu... I read a little too fast. Sorry! –  r0ca Feb 9 '10 at 15:55
Thanks, I know how to add them, I.m using them, but I would like to be able to switch the layout for all applications at once on Windows –  Jakob Cosoroaba Feb 9 '10 at 15:58
Ctrl + Shift + L: Switch the keyboard layout when multiple keyboard layouts are enabled –  r0ca Feb 9 '10 at 16:05
So... is that the answer you were looking for? –  r0ca Feb 9 '10 at 17:15
Your Windows instructions don't work; changing the keyboard layout still only applies to the current window. –  Sam May 27 '14 at 9:09

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