I’ve spoken to a few people who didn’t realise how simple it is to type Polish letters from your existing keyboard in Windows 10. In previous versions of Windows it was a bit trickier, but it couldn’t be much simpler in Windows 10.
Start by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard and typing the word LANGUAGE and you will see this option appear in the menu : “Region & language settings”. Select it.
Next, under Languages, click on “Add a language”
On the following screen, select the language you want (Polski / Polish)
This may take a few moments to add the language, but then it will return to the previous screen and you should now see Polski in your list of languages.
If you want to change Windows so that it can use Polish for things like Menus, Tooltips, MessageBoxes, etc, then go ahead and click it again to download the Language Pack. However if all you want to do is type in Polish sometimes, then you are now done.
If you look at your Windows taskbar (at the bottom of the screen usually), you will now see that near the clock there is a new bit that says “ENG”.
This reflects that currently your keyboard will be typing in English. There are several ways to change the language you’re typing in.
- Click on ENG with your mouse and select the new language from the menu which appears
- On your keyboard, hold the Windows Key and press the Space bar. This will pop the same menu. Continue to hold the Windows Key and each press of space will change the language.
- On your keyboard, hold down the Shift Key and press the ALT Key to the left side of your Space bar. This doesn’t pop up the menu, it just switches the language. This is the way I do it as it’s faster and becomes an easy habit.
After any of these ways you should see that your taskbar has changed to look like this.
Now you can type Polish letters very easily. Your letter keys still type the English letters as you would expect, but in order to make the special Polish letters, you need to hold the ALTGR key on the RIGHT side of your Space bar.
Just like holding Shift and pressing a letter changes the letter to the capital version of that letter, the ALTGR key changes it to a Polish form (more or less).
The following combinations now work:
ALTGR + Z = ż
ALTGR + X = ź
ALTGR + S = ś
ALTGR + C = ć
ALTGR + L = ł
ALTGR + O = ó
ALTGR + E = ę
ALTGR + A = ą
If you need a capital letter such as a Ą or Ę, you simply hold down the Shift key too as you would normally.
Mostly you could get away with leaving your keyboard in Polish all the time and never notice the difference, but various other keys also change their meaning. For example, the ” and @ keys are swapped around when using a UK English keyboard. I imagine if you have a US English or different keyboard you will find some other keys are changed too, so you’ll probably end up hoping back and forth between ENG and PL modes as you need them, but now you can see that’s really easy to do.
I hope this simple article shows that it’s not at all difficult to have your keyboard in a different language.