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How to type in the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet on your computer

Initial configuration        Phonetic keyboard installation        Russian email        Russian typer

These instructions are applicable for Windows 95 or higher and are intended for people wanting to be able to type in Russian in applications such as Microsoft Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Netscape and most other progams.

Configuring your computer to type in Russian

Windows 95/98/ME
From the Control Panel (Start -> Settings -> Control Panel) go to Add/Remove Programs  -> Windows Setup, click on 'Multilanguage Support' and then click the 'Details' button, select 'Cyrillic Language Support' and then click 'OK' from this window and 'OK' from the previous window. The Cyrillic Language Support should then be installed and you will be asked to restart Windows.
(If the language support was not available then you can download and run it (lang.exe) from here.)

Then from the Control Panel double click on 'Keyboard', select the 'Language' tab and click the 'Add' button, choose 'Russian' from the list and click 'OK'. Ensure that the 'Enable indicator on taskbar' is ticked and the switch languages by 'Left Alt + Shift' is selected.

Windows 2000 only
From the Control Panel (Start -> Settings -> Control Panel) double click on the 'Regional Options' icon, then the 'General' tab and within 'Language Settings for the System' click on 'Cyrillic'.

Windows 2000 continued and Windows NT
From the Control Panel double click on 'Keyboard', select the 'Input Locales' tab and click the 'Add' button, choose 'Russian' from the list and click 'OK'. Ensure that the 'Enable indicator on taskbar' is ticked and the switch languages by 'Left Alt + Shift' is selected.

Windows XP
From the Control Panel (Start -> Settings -> Control Panel) double click on the 'Regional and Language Options' icon, then 'Languages', then 'Details' within 'Text Services and Input Languages', then 'Add' within 'Installed Services', and then click on 'Russian'.

Windows Vista / Windows 7
From the Control Panel (Start -> Control Panel) double click on the 'Regional and Language Options' icon, then 'Keyboards and Languages', then 'Change Keyboard' , then 'Add' within 'Installed Services' under 'Text Services and Input Languages', and then click on 'Russian'.

You should now be able to type in Russian in Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and most other applications by switching to 'Russian' by either clicking on the 'Ru' icon from your task bar or by using Alt + Shift.
(You can likewise switch back to English by clicking on 'En' or using Alt + Shift again.)
(In some programs such as AOL and old versions of Word (95) you will also need to choose a specific cyrillic font such as 'Arial Cyr'.)


Installing a more phonetic keyboard for those using the standard English (QWERTY) keyboard

You will notice that the keyboard is not mapped intuitively for an English keyboard, so to have a more phonetic keyboard:

If you are using Windows 95/98/ME click here. Choose to run the file, and when prompted click the Unzip button. This will put the file kbd1251y.kbd into the c:\windows\system folder and will then run the y1251.reg file which will register the new Russian layout.

If you are using Windows NT or 2000 ensure you have logged in as an administrator and then click here. Choose to run the file, and when prompted click the Unzip button. This will put the kbd1251y.dll file into the c:\winnt\System32\ folder and will then run the y1251_nt.reg file which will register the new layout.

If you are using Windows XP ensure you have logged in as an administrator and then click here. Choose to run the file, and when prompted click the Unzip button. This will put the kbd1251y.dll file into the c:\windows\System32\ folder and will then run the y1251_nt.reg file which will register the new layout.

If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7 ensure you have logged in as an administrator and then click here. Choose to run the file, and when prompted click the Unzip button. After a few seconds the setup program will start after you have clicked on 'Allow' at the prompt which will install the new phonetic layout. In order to ensure that the phonetic layout is the default Russian layout, from the Control Panel (Start -> Control Panel) double click on the 'Regional and Language Options' icon, then 'Keyboards and Languages', then 'Change Keyboard'. Under 'Russian' click on the newly installed 'Russian phonetic' layout and click the 'Move Up' button so that it is at the top of the list.



You will need to restart your computer to see the changes and then you should be all set.


    Ъ = Ctrl-Alt-7    ъ = Ctrl-Alt-8    Ё = Ctrl-Alt-9    ё = Ctrl-Alt-0    

The keyboard files were provided by Paul Gorodyansky using Janko's Keyboard Generator and the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. Paul Gorodyansky also provides a more detailed description for different types of systems on russification issues.

Sending and receiving Russian email

If you receive an email containing some strange looking characters which you suspect should be Russian, then the chances are you need to change the encoding on your email system. Cyrillic is generally encoded in either Cyrillic KOI8-R or Windows 1251. Cyrillic KOI8-R is generally considered to be the standard  for sending and receiving email. 
You can decode the characters into readable Russian at the Russian Character decipherment page.

To change the encoding in Outlook Express, open up the message, and then from the menu click on 'Format' and then 'Encoding', then 'More' and choose 'Cyrillic KOI8-R'. The message should then be magically transformed into recognisable characters. If it isn't, try another encoding such as 'Cyrillic Windows'.

Before you send a Russian email, you should make sure that the encoding is set to 'Cyrillic KOI8-R', so that your recipient's email program knows what to expect and can hence correctly display the cyrillic text. If you don't then your recipient will probably receive a lot of weird characters and in order to decipher them will have to manually change the encoding on their email system.

NB. If you use AOL 6.5 then to send an email in Russian you need to change the font to a specific cyrillic font such as 'Arial Cyr'.

 

Russian typer

You can actually type in Russian from the Russian typer web site without having to make any changes to the computer you are using. This could be useful if you are using a public computer where you cannot change its settings.

 

Click here for Private Russian Lessons in London or via email

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Email - William Bridge at  williambridge@stanwardine.com

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