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Your keyboard layout controls which characters appear on the screen when you press the keys on your keyboard. The layouts allow you to type characters in your selected language by pressing a single key, and add diacritical marks such as the umlaut (ä) in German and the tilde (ñ) in Spanish.

Some or all of your keyboard keys might change when a different keyboard layout is applied. The U.S. English keyboard and Greek keyboard layouts are shown below. The same keys produce the different characters you see, depending on which language you have selected.

US Keyboard Greek Keyboard

Looking for information on inserting special characters or symbols?

If you just want to insert a symbol or accented letter, do one of the following:

Office uses the language settings in Mac OS X preferences to determine the keyboard layout that you are using. You can change your keyboard layout, as well as the formats for date, time, number and measurement, in order to match language and regional standards.

Note: This article explains the procedure for changing languages in Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite). If you have another version of Mac OS X, see Apple Help.

Click the headers below for more information

  1. On the Apple menu, click System Preferences.

  2. Click Language & Region, and then click Keyboard Preferences.

  3. Click +, select the language you want, and click Add.

  4. Select the Show Input menu in menu bar check box.

    Input menu on menu bar

    The Input menu appears as a flag in the menu bar.

  5. Click the Input menu, and select a new keyboard layout to begin typing in that language.

It can be difficult to remember which keys have changed when you apply a new keyboard layout. Turn on the Keyboard & Character Viewer to display a map of the current layout to use as a reference while you're typing.

  1. From the Input menu in the menu bar, choose the input source for the language whose keyboard you want to view.

  2. Choose Show Keyboard Viewer from the Input menu.

    Note: If the command isn’t shown, go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard, and then select Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar.

  3. Press the key on your keyboard that corresponds to the character shown in the Keyboard Viewer, or click keys in the Keyboard Viewer.

    Press a modifier key, or a combination of modifier keys, to see special characters or symbols you can type. For example, hold down the Option key or the Option and Shift keys.

You can change the format used to display information (such as dates, times, currency, and measurements) so that it matches the standards or language used in the country or region where you are located. For example, if you work on documents in both French and English, you can change the format to French so that you can display currency in Euros or display dates in the day/month/year format.

  1. On the Apple menu, click System Preferences >Language & Region.

  2. Do any of the following:



Update the date, time, number, currency, and measurement formats based on your geographic region

On the Regions pop-up menu, select the region you want.

Change the way the date is formatted

Click the Calendar pop-up menu to choose a different calendar.

Click the First day of week pop-up menu to choose a new first day of the week.

Click the Advanced button, and then in the Dates tab, rearrange the date elements to reflect how you want the date formatted.

Change the way the time is formatted

In the Times tab, rearrange the time elements to reflect how you want the time formatted.

Change the way numbers and currency are formatted

In the General tab, click the Currency pop-up menu to change the default currency.

Click the Measurement units pop-up menu to change the default unit of measure.

See also

Check spelling and grammar in a different language

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