Keyboards sold in different parts of the world are laid out differently from the standard US keyboard to accommodate different alphabets. Although the physical markings on your keyboard cannot change, you are able to change the symbols your keys are tied to, in effect turning your US keyboard into a Spanish or German keyboard. You will need to learn the different positions of letters on those keyboards, but it makes for easy typing and prepares you for studying abroad. As you get to know the new keyboard layout, you may find a Google image search of use, or you can utilize an on-screen keyboard that visually shows what each key does. Read on to learn how to change your keyboard layout and how to enable an on-screen keyboard.

Add a new keyboard layout in Windows 10:

1. Right click on your Start button (Windows icon) and choose Settings. Then click Time & Language.

2. In the left sidebar, choose Region & Language. Click the large plus symbol to Add a Language. From the list that appears, choose the language that applies to your needs. You may see multiple variants such as Español (Mexican), Español (Chile), etc. Our default recommendations are Español (Mexican) for Spanish and Deutsch (Germany) for German. Many Latin American countries use the same keyboard layout, though Spain has a slightly different one. Ask your instructor if they recommend something else. If this is the first time you apply a language pack, your computer may need to download the pack. Be sure you are connected to the internet and let the process complete.

4. Now look back to your Windows taskbar. You are now able to select the keyboard layout you want to use by clicking on the three-letter symbol (ENG, ESP, DEU). This will affect all programs on your computer. To change back, select English from the taskbar menu.

With a foreign language keyboard implemented, your key-mapping will change to the standard layout of a German or Spanish keyboard. To know what that layout is, you can reference a Google image search, or you can enable an on-screen visual keyboard. To do this:

1. Click the Start button.

2. In the list of applications, scroll down to "Windows Ease of Access" and click it to show more options.

3.  You will see the option "Onscreen Keyboard." Click this to enable the visual keyboard.

4. If you expect to use the onscreen keyboard frequently, you can instead right click this option. Select "More" and pin it to your taskbar so that it is easily accessed in future use.

See this article to learn how else to create foreign language characters.