Understanding the Language Settings in Windows 8

Windows 8 presents a similar selection of language and keyboard settings to those of previous editions, although there have also been a number of improvements. Windows 8 provides keyboard layouts and time, date and number formats for just about every language and region you can imagine. It also provides complete interface languages for no less than 109 languages and regions. Following is an introduction to the various features of the multilingual world of Windows.

Keyboard Layouts

Every language in the world has its own keyboard layout and even though most languages written in the Latin script use the QWERTY keyboard, there are still many different variations to provide special characters from each language. If you regularly write in languages other than your own, you can add as many extra keyboard layouts as you like. Doing this is simply a matter of accessing the language preferences from the language button by the time in the task bar and clicking “Add a language.”

Interface Languages

Interface language packs are available for free for Windows 8 Pro. They are available for free and can be installed on Windows over the default language which ships with your operating system. This allows you to use the operating system in multiple different languages. You can have a separate language for each user account as well. You can add new languages from the same language preferences control panel mentioned before. There are no less than 109 to choose from including some quite obscure ones such as Cherokee and Belarusian.

Date, Time and Number Formats

Different languages have varying formats of how dates, times and numbers are written. By clicking on the “Change date, time and number formats” option in the language section of the control panel, you can choose your preferred option. Generally, however, you will probably want to leave this option alone, since it changes automatically depending on the display language currently selected. As with interface languages and installed keyboard layouts, you can have different numbering formats for each user account on the computer.

Location Information

From the same dialog box of the language control panel mentioned previously, you can also change the location of your computer. This will allow certain supported software to provide things like information and services specific to that country or region. You can also allow Windows 8 apps to access your location information. To do this, you will need to access the Metro-style control panel by clicking on “Change PC settings” when you move the mouse to the right-side of the start screen. You will find the setting in the “Privacy” section.

Additionally, you can change the location for specific applications. This, for example, allows apps such as the weather app to provide you with weather forecasts for your current location. You can do this by clicking on “Settings” in the Charms bar while using the app in question. These features are available for the News app as well, so that you can read the news specific to your current location as well.

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