Are you looking for ways to change your default language and region in Windows 10?
Perhaps you bought your computer in a different country or moved to a new country, maybe you’re trying to master a new language, or perhaps you’re bilingual and need to quickly switch between different dialects.
Luckily, Microsoft has made it very easy to both install new languages and change between existing languages. In this article we take you through a step-by-step guide.
Note: This is a post-installation guide.
1. Install a Language Pack
Firstly, let’s take a look at how to install a language pack. This is a necessary step before you can change your system’s language.
Before we begin, make sure you are logged into Windows 10 using an administrative account. If you are the only user of a machine, it will be your main login, but if there are multiple users it could be someone else’s account.
Next, open the Start Menu and click on Settings > Time and Language > Region and Language.
The first option on the right-hand pane will allow you to change the region. This is useful for finding localized content and apps. It’s great if you live abroad and either a) want to be shown new stuff relevant to where you live, or b) want to keep a connection with you home country. You can set it to any country you desire, but note that it may affect the functionality of Cortana.
The second option is where you can install new languages. Click on Add a Language and you’ll be presented with a list of more than 140 languages to choose from.
Click on the one you want and it will immediately start installing. You’ll be shown a notification telling you that it could take a while. The language will show up in your language list while it installs.
Once the process is finished, the message below the language will change from Searching Windows Update to Language Pack Installed. When you see this message, you are ready to move on.
2. Change the Display Language
To change the display language, click on the newly-installed language pack and select Set as Default.
As per the on-screen message, the new language will be displayed next time you sign-in. Follow Start > [Username] > Sign Out to allow yourself to log in again.
Keep in mind that if you follow these steps, you’ve not necessarily changed the global settings – the language on your sign-in screen and welcome screen, as well as the default language for new accounts, will be unchanged.
In the image below, you can see I have changed my user’s default language to Spanish, but the global settings are unaltered.
To change all the global settings, you’ll need to right-click the Start Menu and head to Control Panel > Region > Administrative > Copy Settings then tick the two checkboxes next to Welcome Screen and System Accounts and New User Accounts. You’ll see all the settings automatically update. Restart your system for the changes to take effect.
3. Switch Between Keyboards
When you install a new language pack, the associated keyboard is automatically installed along with it. This has several benefits – especially in cases when languages have different characters or make regular use of accents on letters.
You can easily switch between installed keyboards by either pressing Windows Key + Space or by left-clicking on the three-letter language code on the right-hand side of the taskbar.
4. Install a Keyboard Without a Language Pack
If you want to add a new keyboard but have no intention of changing your system’s display language, it is also easy to accomplish.
Go back to the language screen by clicking on Start > Settings > Time and Language > Region and Language.
Highlight the language pack that you want to associate your new keyboard with and click Options. Next, click Add a New Keyboard and make your choice from the list.
You can also remove keyboards from this menu; useful if you want to change your system language to Spanish, but want the only keyboard to be English QUERTY. Just highlight the keyboard you want to delete and click Remove.
5. Change Speech Options
The last section of language that needs addressing is speech – both input and output. Input is what your computer will recognize when you’re issuing voice commands, output is the language Cortana will use.
As with the previous settings we’ve covered, you’ll need to open the Start Menu, then head to Settings > Time and Language. This time, however, select Speech from the left-hand pane.
The top option, titled Speech Language, allows you to set your input method. It is worth noting that you need to have installed the corresponding language pack before you can change your speech input language.
The option below – Text-to-Speech – is where you can choose the voice used by Cortana. Every time you install a language pack, the corresponding Cortana voice will also be installed. Choose your preference from the drop-down menu.
Do You Use Multiple Languages?
Although the individual options are quite straightforward to change once you know how, it’s fair to say that Microsoft doesn’t do a great job of making the location of these settings obvious. It doesn’t seem sensible that so many menus and sub-menus are used just to change your language, keyboard, and speech.
If you use multiple languages on your Windows 10 system, we’d love to hear from you. How easy do you find it to manage several languages? Are the amount of options and settings satisfactory? Is there anything that Microsoft overlooked that you feel should be included?
As always, you can get in touch via the comments section below.