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

  • 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
  • 1
    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
  • 1
    See also superuser.com/questions/13324/… 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

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.

  • 7
    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. Jun 20 '12 at 14:31
  • 1
    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

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

  • 3
    Where this is a good solution for people able to upgrade, the question specifically mentions Windows 7, still common in many enterprise environments. Oct 20 '15 at 9:46

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:

  • 9
    It's a duplicate of itself? Interesting concept :) Sep 2 '13 at 12:52
  • 3
    This answer is completely off-topic, should be voted down.
    – MarcH
    Jan 4 '15 at 19:25

You'll need to 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

Source: Shinmila H answer on answers.microsoft.com

  • 1
    Could you add an explanation of how changing the default settings of new accounts and the welcome screen affects the per-application behavior of keyboard layouts?
    – Andreas
    Jul 8 '17 at 11:12
  • 1
    The answer from Microsoft simply does not work. It only solves which is the default language to switch back to, but the changes between applications still happen when not in the default layout. Tested on Vista and Win 7.
    – ibai
    Jul 11 '17 at 11:28

1. Choice

Mahou icon Mahou can set keyboard layout globally.

2. Behavior

I have 2 keyboard layouts on my Windows: Russian and English.


    I set Russian keyboard layout in any program,


        I move to window with another program, Russian keyboard layout stay for me anyway.


    I set English keyboard layout in any program,


        I move to window with another program, English keyboard layout stay for me anyway.

3. Demonstration

Note: I switch between keyboard layouts, use CapsLock


4. Tune-up

Left-click to Mahou icon in tray → Layouts → tick One layout for all programs:

One layout


Changes must be applied.



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

  • I added kubuntu... I read a little too fast. Sorry!
    – r0ca
    Feb 9 '10 at 15:55
  • 5
    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 Feb 9 '10 at 15:58
  • 1
    So... is that the answer you were looking for?
    – r0ca
    Feb 9 '10 at 17:15
  • 2
    Your Windows instructions don't work; changing the keyboard layout still only applies to the current window.
    – Sam
    May 27 '14 at 9:09
  • 4
    This answer is like the typical ones you get from official support channels: a mere copy & paste of vaguely related documentation from someone who did not even bother trying to understand the question. Poor attempt at getting points?
    – MarcH
    Jan 4 '15 at 19:29

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