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Alternative input methods are used to input characters not marked on a standard US or UK keyboard. Below are some examples of input methods useful for Duolingo learners and instructions for installing them on your computer or mobile device.

Step 1: Choose an input methodEdit

Language-specific input methodsEdit

Each language has various keyboard layouts and/or input mehods available for entering text in that language. To see some of the specific options for the language you are learning, go to Language resources and click on the language in question.

Input methods usable for more than one languageEdit

United States-International keyboard layoutEdit

This layout provides for typing some accented characters on a standard US keyboard using special key combinations, such as typing an apostrophe (') followed by the letter e to produce the accented letter é, as well as typing some accented and special characters using the right Alt key (on some keyboards marked Alt Gr). A fuller description of how it works can be found here.
The United States-International layout can be added as an input method for English or for other languages whose characters it supports. You only need to install it for one language in order to be able to use it to type any language it supports.
Instructions for adding this layout to your operating system are available here.

United Kingdom Extended keyboard layoutEdit

Similar to the US International layout but for people with UK keyboards. Specific information about this layout is available here. As with the US-International layout, you only need to add the UK Extended layout for one language to use it to type any language it supports.
Instructions for adding this layout to your operating system are available here.

Mac OS X default keyboard layoutEdit

The default OS X layout has accented characters accessible using key combinations involving the Option key: http://www.forlang.wsu.edu/help/keyboards2.asp
However, the ABC Extended (OS X Mavericks) or US Extended (older) (both new and old can be found in the English section in the list of keyboards in System Preferences) includes an even wider range of accents for languages such as Vietnamese and Esperanto that the default keyboard does not.

Google Input ToolsEdit

Google Input Tools are a set of input methods for a wide variety of languages, including many with non-Latin scripts. It includes both handwriting- and phonetic-based input methods in addition to keyboard layouts. Google Input Tools are available as a web app, a Chrome extension, a Windows program, and within many Google services.

DuoKeyboardEdit

DuoKeyboard is a Browser extensions to enable automatic switching of the keyboard layout that you need for each question. DuoKeyboard has a wide variety of supported keyboards including Hebrew, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. Next to that a cheatsheet is available if you need to learn the keyboards layout. It is available for Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

Custom keyboard layoutsEdit

On several operating systems it's possible to create a custom keyboard layout using the characters and key bindings of one's own choosing. The following are some of the software options available for creating such layouts:

Keyboard shortcutsEdit

Key combinations to access accented and special characters may be available depending on your operating system and/or application:

Step 2: Add the input method to your operating systemEdit

Note: These instructions are not necessary for using keyboard shortcuts or Google Input Tools.

Windows XPEdit

Windows Vista/7Edit

How to Change Keyboard Layout in Windows 7-001:10

How to Change Keyboard Layout in Windows 7-0

To add a keyboard layout:
  1. Go to the Start Menu
  2. Click "Control Panel"
  3. In the second column, under the heading "Clock, Language, and Region", click the first sub-heading under it that says "Change keyboards or other input methods"
  4. Click "Change keyboards..."
  5. Click "Add..."
  6. (check mark the languages you want)
  7. On the "Add Input Language" window, click "OK"
  8. On the "Text Services and Input Languages" window, click "Apply"
  9. Then, on that same window, click "OK"
To switch between installed layouts: Click on the Language bar. You can also assign key shortcuts under the Advanced Key Settings section of the Text Services and Input Languages window.
An instructional video is also available here.

Windows 8Edit

To add a language and/or input method:
  1. Open the Control Panel (for example, by pressing the Windows key, typing "control panel", and then clicking the button for the Control Panel).
  2. Click on "Language".
  3. To add a new language, click "Add a language".
  4. To add or change an input method for a specific language, click the "Options" button for that language. You can then click "Add an input method" to add an additional method or click "Remove" next to a method to remove it (you can re-add it later if you change your mind).
To switch between installed input methods:
  • Click on the Language Bar icon in your taskbar, OR
  • Press Win + Space to change to the next installed input method or press Win + Shift + Space to change to the previous one.
An instructional video is also available here, and official instructions from Microsoft here. Note particularly the second video.

Windows 10 (for PCs)Edit

To add a language and/or input method:
  1. Go to Settings > Time & language > Region & language.
  2. 2.Select Add a language.
  3. 3.Select the language you want to use from the list, then choose which region's version you want to use. Your download will begin immediately.
To switch between installed input methods:
  • Click on the Language Bar icon in your taskbar, OR
  • Press Win + Space to change to the next installed input method or press Win + Shift + Space to change to the previous one.
The Microsoft instructional page is here and an unofficial instructional video is also available here.

Windows PhoneEdit

Some accents and special characters can be accessed with the default keyboard by tapping and holding on the letter. For example, tapping and holding on the a key will bring up the option to type á, à, ä, etc.
Windows Phone 7: See here for instructions to add a language and/or input method.
Windows Phone 8: See here for instructions to add a language and/or input method.
Windows Phone 10: Similar to WP8. Once alternative keyboards are installed, swipe the spacebar horizontally to quickly switch between layouts.

Mac OS XEdit

The default OS X layout supports typing many accents and special characters using key combinations involving the option key.
Otherwise, to add a keyboard layout:
  1. Click the Apple icon on the top left corner of the screen (you can press the miniature flag on the Apple toolbar, next to your battery icon, and skip to Step 4).
  2. Click on "System Preferences".
  3. On the second row, select "Keyboard" (this can also be done in the "Language & Region" tab).
  4. Between the four tabs above keyboard settings, click on "Input Sources".
  5. Press the plus sign underneath the white box that contains the current amount of languages that you have on your computer.
  6. Select any languages that you would like to have and press "Add".
  7. To access your new languages, use the ⌘ Command + Space option to switch between languages.
An instructional video is also available here.

iOS (iPod, iPhone, iPad)Edit

Some accents and special characters can be accessed with the default keyboard by tapping and holding on the letter. For example, tapping and holding on the a key will bring up the option to type á, à, ä, etc.
Additional keyboards can also be installed using these instructions: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4509

AndroidEdit

Some accents and special characters can be accessed with the default keyboard by tapping and holding on the letter. For example, tapping and holding on the a key will bring up the option to type á, à, ä, etc.
Additional keyboards can also be installed using these instructions: http://forums.androidcentral.com/google-nexus-4/249758-quick-switch-keyboard-language.html. Note that for certain languages, you may have to specially download the input tool for the language from Google Play.

GNOME 2 (e.g. Ubuntu 10.10 or earlier)Edit

Instructions available here.

Unity (e.g. Ubuntu 11.04 or later), GNOME 3, or KDE (e.g. Kubuntu)Edit

Instructions available here.

Other DE / Plain Xorg Edit

Instructions available here.

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