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Localizing Your System

Windows XP supports many international standards, formats, and languages. Use Control Panel’s Regional and Language Options utility to adjust country-specific settings such as unit of measurement; currency, number, and date formats; and keyboard and display language.

To choose formats for numbers, currencies, times, and dates:

1.
In Control Panel, choose Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options > Regional and Language Options > Regional Options tab (Figure 4.51).

Figure 4.51. The language that you choose affects how programs format numbers, currencies, times, and dates.


2.
In the Standards and Formats section, choose a language from the drop-down list.

3.
To change individual settings, click Customize (Figure 4.52).

Figure 4.52. The Sample pane shows how selected settings affect the appearance of quantities.


4.
Click OK (or Apply).

Tip

  • You can’t save customized regional settings as though they were themes. If you customize and then choose another language in the list, you lose customized settings.


To choose a keyboard layout for a different language:

1.
In Control Panel, choose Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options > Regional and Language Options > Languages tab > Details button > Settings tab (Figure 4.53).

Figure 4.53. Keyboard layouts rearrange the keys’ character assignments. Pressing the [ key on a U.S. keyboard with a German layout types the ü character, for example.


2.
Click Add; specify the language and keyboard layout to install; then click OK.

3.
Repeat step 2 for each language that you want to add.

4.
When you’re done adding languages, click Apply.

5.
In the Preferences section, click Language Bar; then check the Show the Languages Bar on the Desktop box.

6.
Click OK.

7.
In the Regional and Language Options dialog box, click OK (or Apply).

8.
On the taskbar, click the Language bar to choose a keyboard layout (Figure 4.54).

Figure 4.54. In the menu, choose the language or keyboard layout that you want to switch to, or switch by pressing the left Shift and left Alt keys at the same time.


Tip

  • Use Character Map to view the characters available on your keyboard; see “Using the Free Utility Programs” in Chapter 6.


To specify the preferred language for older programs:

1.
In Control Panel, choose Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options > Regional and Language Options > Advanced tab (Figure 4.55).

Figure 4.55. If an older program is unable to recognize your preferred language, Windows can swap the character set.


2.
In the Language for Non-Unicode Programs section, choose your preferred language from the drop-down list.

3.
If your word processor or Web browser isn’t displaying foreign-language content correctly, in the Code Page Conversion Tables section, check the languages to install.

4.
To apply your Regional and Language Options settings to your user account and to all new user accounts, check the box in the Default User Account Settings section.

5.
Click OK (or Apply).

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