Word and Office Multilingual Features

Now that you've reviewed key Windows features that you may have to customize to work with foreign languages, the next sections cover features and techniques specific to Word and Office.

Typing Text in a Foreign Language

When it comes to entering and editing text in Word, foreign languages fall into one of three categories:

  • Western European languages that include characters that do not appear on a standard English (US) keyboard

  • Non-Western European languages, such as Greek, that require you to use a different keyboard layout to access the appropriate character sets

  • Ideographic Asian languages that require the use of a special piece of add-on software called an Input Method Editor (IME)

Each of these categories is covered next.

Typing Text in a Western European Language Other Than English

If you work primarily in English, but occasionally you must enter a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph in another Western European language, Word provides several ways to insert the accented (diacritical) characters you may encounter.

First, you can enter the characters through the Symbol dialog box. Choose Insert, Symbol; choose (normal text) from the Font drop-down box; click on the character you want; and click Insert.

Second, you can use a keyboard shortcut. For more information about these keyboard shortcuts, including a table listing all the shortcuts, see the Microsoft Office Word Help topic under "Keyboard shortcuts for international characters."


If you use a specific foreignlanguage word or phrase often, store it as an AutoText entry (see Chapter 23, "Automating Your Documents with Field Codes").

If you use a specific foreign-language character often, consider assigning a macro as a button on your Standard or Formatting toolbar (see Chapter 31, "Customizing Word").

Typing Text in a Non-Western European Language

Many European languages use characters that either do not appear in the standard Windows character set or are difficult to access if you are typing more than a few characters.

To enter text in these languages, first install the appropriate keyboard layout for the language you need to use, through the Keyboard applet in the Windows Control Panel (see "Changing Your Keyboard Layout to Reflect a Different Language," earlier in this chapter). You can then switch to the appropriate keyboard in any of the following ways:

  • If you've enabled automatic language detection and also enabled the language you want to use, Word will usually switch the keyboard for you automatically if it detects that you're using a language it has a keyboard available for. (To learn how to enable languages in Word and use automatic language detection, see "Having Word Assign Languages to Text Automatically," later in this chapter.)

  • If you've set a keyboard shortcut for switching languages, Left Alt+Shift by default, use that shortcut.

  • If you've displayed the list of keyboards in the system tray at the right edge of the Windows taskbar, click on it and choose the keyboard you want from the list that appears.


If Word switches you to the wrong keyboard without being told, see "What to Do If Word Switches Your Keyboard Setting Incorrectly," in the "Troubleshooting" section of this chapter.

If Word reformats your text in a language you don't want, see "What to Do If Word Formats Text in the Wrong Language," in the "Troubleshooting" section of this chapter.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word