Go to the Russian language version of this page

Russian keyboard, standard and phonetic:

type Russian with system keyboard tools under non-Russian Windows -

layout - standard  or  phonetic (transliterated, homophonic - A-A,K-K,O-O,...)



Paul Gorodyansky 'Cyrillic (Russian): instructions for Windows and Internet'



You can tune-up - for Russian input - regular system keyboard tools of say English or German MS Windows.




NOTE. Recently there were many complains that one could NOT write in Russian in Internet Explorer - in the text input fields on Web pages.
A user inputs Russian text in a usual way but sees something like this on screen:
..............38B5 G09=8:C

This is not related to Cyrillic tune-up of your computer. It means that a plugin connected to your browser causes such thing.
I have here an instruction where I collect related information and offer some solutions:
      Internet Explorer: gibberish on display while typing Russian


This page provides Russian keyboard activation instructions for MS Windows, that is, enabling regular system keyboard tools for Russian via Control Panel.

Also, if you want, it shows you how to use - instead of the standard Russian layout - a so called phonetic (transliterated, homophonic) layout ('A'-'A', 'F' - Russian 'F', 'K'-'K', 'O'-'O', etc.), which by the way, is modifiable, that is, you can change my phonetic layout as you wish.

Same things for Linux or Macintosh are covered on other people pages and I provide the links at the end of this page, in the chapter "Final notes about Russian keyboard usage".

I've made my phonetic layout to be similar to US English keyboard, that is, tried to keep most Russian letters and other symbols and punctuation marks on the same places where they are drawn on US English keyboard;
if a person types a lot say in German, s/he may want to change my phonetic layout accordingly - there is an instruction for such modification down below.

The instruction below takes a computer novice about 20 minutes and is a one-time job.



As it was described in the very first section - "Cyrillic in Windows" - of my site, a user must activate Cyrillic (Russian) support in the following order:

For example: If someone were to type "Christmas cards" on their keyboard in English it would come out as is. But a Russian translator would come out as " ".



Note. If you need to write in Russian, but you are not using your own PC, say you are in an Internet-cafe or in the library, where you can read in Russian (fonts are enabled), but can not write - can not use Windows Control Panel to enable regular keyboard tools for Russian, then it's still Ok, there is an easy work-around:

you can use special Web page with a Virtual Keyboard where you can input Cyrillic text and then copy it to the place where you need it.

That is, even in that case you should not send a transliteration, latin text such as "privet" or "schast'ye" or zashhishhajushhixsja :) that will bother the readers of that message - you can send normal Cyrillic text.

Virtual Keyboard allows you to input via regular keyboard (though mouse can be used, too) and - important! - you can type "as at home", choosing, in the menu below the image, same layout (Standard or Phonetic) that you use at home!

Such method is offered in the section of my site called
  "On-screen Russian keyboard"

While in Internet-cafe, you can use a short address of that Virtual Keyboard:

Obviously, it's not as handy as typing with regular Windows keyboard tools, so you should use such special Web page only in such 'corner case' as Internet-cafe or library.

That is, if it's your own computer at home or at work, you should spend 20 minutes - one time! - to read the instruction on this page, below - for regular Windows keyboard tools activation via Control Panel.

Then, if needed, read here how to replace the standard layout with phonetic (transliterated) one, and thereafter you will be able to type in Russian in the programs where you need it, without going first to a Web page and then copying the text from there!
Moreover, if you have phonetic keyboard installed via regular Windows keyboard tools mechanism, you will be able to modify it as you wish while the layouts on the On-screen Keyboard Web page are not modifiable.




How to install Microsoft keyboard layout for Russian under Windows 7/8, Vista; XP/2003; 2000/NT; 95/98/ME.

This page has the instructions for the two different layouts to be used with "RU" mode of the keyboard:


    
Here is the picture of the Standard MS Windows keyboard layout for Russian, made for the countries of the former USSR where keyboards always have Russian letters drawn on them:

Standard Russian keyboard layout



If you do not have a keyboard with Russian letters drawn on it and/or you are not familiar at all with that Standard layout, then you cannot easily type without memorizing all the locations of the keys in Russian.

In this case many people use another layout, called phonetic (transliterated, homophonic) keyboard layout:

the Russian letters are located where the closest English letters are:

    'O'-'O', 'A'-'A', 'T'-'T', Russian '' - English 'F', etc.

 
This page offers such Phonetic keyboard layout for your computer (it will work in "RU" mode instead of Standard layout) and has step-by-step activation instruction for that.
Windows offers to have several keyboard layouts for one language, so there are no "hack" belowe, just Microsoft-suggested way of adding new layout to the system...
It's easy to get back original stage - to make Standard layout work again with "RU" (covered below). Here is an example of a Phonetic layout (it's modifiable as explained below):

YaWert Phonetic Russian keyboard layout

Note. Your physical keyboard may have different layout of "Enter" button. Then you should find the button shown right above "Enter" on my picture somewhere else on your keyboard.

Important.
I do not offer here any keyboard program that say lets you type in Phonetic mode, no - just files - keyboard layout files - along with the instructions on how to make such layout work in "RU" mode.

These files work with the built-in MS Windows keyboard tools, that is, they work exactly as original layout files provided by Microsoft, no additional software is required.



Note, that the majority of Russian letters - 26 of 33 (!) have straight-forward, 'used-by-everyone' phonetic equivalent - Russian '' is always represented by English 'A', '' - 'K', 'O'- 'O', '' - 'B', '' - 'D', etc.
So just seven Russian letters has to be assigned to some non-letter keyboard buttons, say '' could be assigned to '{' (modifiable, you can change my variant).

The point is that there are ONLY seven such letters and one memorizes their location on a keyboard in just a week of use...


 
With the exception of the latest Windows releases - Windows 7/8, Vista and XP/2003 - a user who wants to install a Phonetic keyboard layout, must install first a regular, Standard Russian layout provided by Microsoft (only then this standard layout can be replaced with a phonetic one).
The latest releases allow a user to activate Phonetic layout without such step (it will be covered below).

Next chapter is devoted to the activation of the Standard Russian keyboard layout.
You may not need to read such instruction (and thus can skip it) if you have a situation from the following list:

If so then you can skip next chapter and go to one of the following parts of this page:


 

How to activate Standard Microsoft Russian keyboard layout
for Windows 7, Vista; XP/2003; NT/2000; Windows 95/98/ME.

Now you can start installing standard Russian keyboard layout offered by Microsoft

Standard Russian keyboard layout

The steps for the activation of the Standard Russian layout are different for different Windows versions, so please choose:


Windows 95/98/ME and standard Russian keyboard layout

Before a user activates Russian keyboard layout under Windows 95/98/ME, s/he must activate Cyrillic support in general.
It means the installation of "MS Multilanguage Support" package, provided free by Microsoft.
This package contains all needed Cyrillic support files, including the file of Russian keyboard layout kbdru.kbd, so it becomes available and a user can activate this layout later.

Here is the link to my installation instruction for this package that includes Russian keyboard layout activation steps, too
(come back here after you've done with that if you need a phonetic layout for Russian):

      "Cyrillic and MS Multilanguage Support under Windows 95/98/ME".



Text below explains the same keyboard setup for other versions of MS Windows - Windows 7/Vista/XP/2003/2000/NT, so a Windows 95/98/ME user can skip that and continue reading:
click here to do so.


Windows NT 4.0/2000 and standard Russian keyboard layout

Important! To be able to add a Microsoft's keyboard layout (say, add Russian to the existing English), you must login to Windows NT 4.0/2000 as a system Administrator (has to have Administrative Privileges).
On home computers it's not an issue - an owner is always an Administrator :) but at work it is an issue.
For those who are at work - it's NOT a network Administrator's privileges, it's for that specific computer only, thus you can ask your IT person to grant you such Privileges to that computer.
In any case please refer to the system manual or your IT group to understand this Rights issue (it is not related to using Russian, so I can not explain it completely).

 

  Important note for Windows 2000 only.
  Before going any further you must (if you did not already do so) activate Cyrillic support in your Windows 2000
  (otherwise you wouldn't even see "Russian" in the list of available national keyboards).
  Cyrillic support covers not just keyboard stuff, but many other needed things.
  Here are the steps:
  1. Start / Settings / Control Panel
  2. In the CONTROL PANEL window - double-click on the globe-like Regional Options icon
  3. In the Regional Options window, in its General tab, see the second frame Language Settings for the System.
  4. See if you have a box "Cyrillic" checked.
    If not, then click on this box to activate Cyrillic support and then click on Apply below right.
    You will be asked to insert the Windows 2000 CD-ROM and then the required files (many files!) will be copied from there - including the file of the standard Russian keyboard layout kbdru.dll.

    If you don't have such CD-ROM you will need to borrow it from someone (friend, etc.) for this one-time job of activating Cyrillic support (for example, I borrowed it for 10 minutes from our IT person).

    If you do not have Windows 2000 CD-ROM, then you are in trouble...
    Unlike Windows NT 4.0, it is NOT enough just to copy one file kbdru.dll to your system folder - "Russian" still will not appear in the list of national keyboards when you try to add one. Only after you insert Windows 2000 CD-ROM and let the system do all the things, you will be able to choose "Russian" in the list and have it in the top, "Input Locale" field shown on this screen-shot and later have "RU"/"Russian" indicator on your taskbar.

    Without Windows 2000 CD-ROM you have two options - either find a person who has it and borrow it for 10 minutes (I just asked an IT person at work), which is a preferred way that will let you see "Russian" keyboard in the list as shown above and later see "RU" on taskbar,
    or
    if you cannot get this CD-ROM at all, then you can use my work-around for Windows 2000 (on a separate page), but it's not pretty...



Here is how to activate standard, Windows-own Russian keyboard layout under Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000:

  1. Start / Settings / Control Panel
  2. In the CONTROL PANEL window - double-click on KEYBOARD
  3. In the KEYBOARD window, select Input Locales
  4. Click on ADD
  5. Find "Russian" in the "Input Locales" list and then click on OK.
  6. You are back to the "Input Locales" window and the Russian layout is below the English layout.

    Important! It's all you need to do. Do NOT make Russian your "Default" keyboard! First, there is no need to do so, and second, it brings a huge problem with Login screen (User ID and password usually are not in Russian, so, you will not be able to type them if your keyboard is in Russian mode).

    Make sure that you have the option "Enable Indicator on Taskbar" checked (it's at the bottom of this window):
    you will see EN or RU at the right end of the Taskbar.
    As instructed, use the combination of buttons LeftAlt+RightShift to switch between Russian and English.

  7. Click on Apply below right and Windows finds the Russian keyboard layout file - kbdru.dll.

    Note for NT 4.0 only.
    If this file was not found, you will see a pop-up dialog box called "Install from disk", that is, you need to tell the system where this file can be found.
    In this case you will need to insert Windows NT 4.0 CD-ROM and go to the folder "i386".



Text below explains the same keyboard setup for other versions of MS Windows - Windows XP/2003, so if you are a user of Windows 2000/NT, you can skip that and continue reading:
click here to do so.


Windows XP/2003  and standard Russian keyboard layout

Important! To be able to add a Microsoft's keyboard layout (say, add Russian to the existing English), you can not login to Windows XP/2003 as a "Guest", you must login at least as "User".

On home computers it's not an issue - an owner always has higher than "User" System Rights - s/he is an Administrator there, but at work you should check/ask how you login to make sure it's not a "Guest" login.

For those who are at work - it's NOT a network privileges, it's your System Rights to that specific computer only, thus you can ask your IT person about your Login and how to upgrade it if it's a "Guest" login.
In any case please refer to the system manual or your IT group to understand this Rights issue (it is not related to using Russian, so I can not explain it completely).



Here is how to activate standard, Windows-own Russian keyboard layout in XP/2003 using regular keyboard tools (same as in previous versions of MS Windows):

  1. Start / Control Panel (or Start / Settings / Control Panel in classic view)
  2. Double-click Regional and Language Options
  3. Go to Languages
  4. Click Details under "Text Services and Input Languages"
  5. Click Add under "Installed Services"
  6. Find "Russian" in the list and then click OK

    Important! It's all you need to do. Do NOT make Russian your Default Input Language.
    First, there is no need to do so, and second, it may brings a problem with Login screen (User ID and password usually are not in Russian, so you will not be able to type them if your keyboard is in Russian mode).

  7. Click on Apply below right and Windows finds the Russian keyboard layout file - kbdru.dll

    As instructed (click on "Key Settings" button to see the options), use the combination of buttons LeftAlt+RightShift to switch between Russian and English.

  8. Click OK again

Now you have standard Russian keyboard layout active and can use it for typing in Russian.



Text below explains the same keyboard setup for other versions of MS Windows - Windows 7 and Vista, so you can skip that and continue reading:
click here to do so.


Windows 7 and Vista  and standard Russian keyboard layout

Important! To be able to add a Microsoft's keyboard layout (say, add Russian to the existing English), you can not login to Windows as a "Guest", you must login at least as "User".

On home computers it's not an issue - an owner always has higher than "User" System Rights - s/he is an Administrator there, but at work you should check/ask how you login to make sure it's not a "Guest" login.

For those who are at work - it's NOT a network privileges, it's your System Rights to that specific computer only, thus you can ask your IT person about your Login and how to upgrade it if it's a "Guest" login.
In any case please refer to the system manual or your IT group to understand this Rights issue (it is not related to using Russian, so I can not explain it completely).



Here is how to activate standard, Windows-own Russian keyboard layout in Windows 7 and Vista using regular keyboard tools (same as in previous versions of MS Windows):

  1. Start / Control Panel / Clock, Language, Region (or Start / Settings / Control Panel in classic view)
  2. Double-click Regional and Language Options
  3. find a tab called "Keyboard and Languages"
  4. Click "Change Keyboard"
  5. Click Add
  6. Find "Russian" (language) in the list and then click on its '+' sign to see available layouts
  7. Click on "Russian" in that list of layouts to add it

    Important! It's all you need to do. Do NOT make Russian your Default Input Language.
    First, there is no need to do so, and second, it may brings a problem with Login screen (User ID and password usually are not in Russian, so you will not be able to type them if your keyboard is in Russian mode).

  8. Click on Apply below right and Windows finds the Russian keyboard layout file - kbdru.dll

    You can use later combination of buttons LeftAlt+RightShift to switch between Russian ("RU") and English ("EN").
    (You can see that combination listed if you go to a tab "Advanced Key Settings" on the same screen; you can click on "Change Key Sequence" if you want to use another combination).

  9. Click OK again

Now you have standard Russian keyboard layout active and can use it for typing in Russian.


   

The instructions presented above let you install standard (built-in) MS keyboard layout for Russian under Windows 7/Vista; Windows XP/2003; NT/2000; Windows 95/98/ME.

Now in your Windows just click on the Taskbar language indicator and you will see 'English' and 'Russian'.

You can then use the key combination Left-Alt+Right-Shift or the mouse on Taskbar's language indicator, to switch between 'EN' and 'RU'.

 
Again, the location of Russian letters in that standard layout is the following:

Standard Russian keyboard layout



You can (if you want to) use another layout - phonetic (transliterated, homophonic) layout where Russian letters are placed over similar English letters - 'A'-'A', 'E'-'E', 'O'-'O', 'T'-'T', etc. (phonetic approach was explained earlier on this page)

If you do not need such Phonetic keyboard layout, then skip next chapter and go directly to the "Final notes about Russian keyboard usage" at the bottom of this page.


  

Install phonetic (transliterated, homophonic) Russian keyboard layout
for 32/64 bit Windows 7,8/Vista/XP/2003; 2000/NT; Windows 95/98/ME



Note. I personally don't have Windows 8 yet, but several people already wrote to me that this instruction works just fine under Windows 8.
There is only one - cosmetic - option that does not work for the newly added phonetic layout:

But again, it does not affect your typing at all. You can see the image of the phonetic layout in this instruction when I offer to see the images of all offered phonetic layouts for you to choose one.

Free Software Download - Windows 7 Download



If you already know what Phonetic layout is and just want to start installing it on your computer, then you can skip the explanations below and go at once to the installation details.

 
My phonetic layout (that is, a variant of positioning Russian letters on the keyboard) has the following characteristics:

                Here is the picture of my phonetic keyboard layout:

YaWert Phonetic Russian keyboard layout

Symbol 'number' - - that a standard Russian layout has, can be obtained on phonetic layout, too - via a combination of buttons: Ctrl/Alt/5. Symbol currency Euro - via a combination of buttons Ctrl/Alt/E.

If you want to use your printer to have this picture on paper then visit this page (will open in new window).


 
I did not personally design this variant of placing Russian letters on the keyboard, I just took one of many variants that I found on the Web and modified it.
Most of phonetic layout variants have been around for years.

Different variants were accepted by different groups of users, for example, users of then-popular editor ChiWriter used one variant, users of another program - ChemText - used another, etc.
I took as a basis a widely used variant called YaWert.
The name comes from the first few letters in what is the QWERTY line of the U. S. keyboard.

If you'd like to use a different variant of placing Russian letters, then you can modify my layout after the installation (it's discussed near the end of this page, in the "Modify" chapter).

    

Optional variants. Ready answer for one frequently asked question.

In addition to my main variant of Phonetic layout (see again the image right above), I've prepared two more because they are almost as often used by people as that main one, so such people would not need to spend time modifying my main layout to obtain one of these two also-famous variants:


 
Below are the instructions for the installation of my phonetic keyboard layout

for Windows 7,8/Vista/XP/2003; Windows 2000/NT; Windows 95/98/ME.



Keyboard stuff is kind of system-level stuff, it's Operating System tools and therefore it requires a little bit more effort and knowledge than say making browser to read Russian Web pages, so be patient.

Important! About Windows XP/2000/NT and newer versions.

To be able to activate such phonetic keyboard layout for Russian to have it work as "RU" instead of a standard Russian layout, you must login to Windows as a system Administrator (has to have Administrative Rights).

On home computers it's not an issue - an owner is always an Administrator :-) but at work it is an issue sometimes.
For those who are at work - it's NOT a network Administrator Rights, it's Administrator Rights only to that specific computer, so you can ask your IT person to grant you such Administrative Rights to that computer.
In any case please refer to the system manual or your IT group to understand this "be an Administrator" issue (it is not related to using Russian, so I can not explain it completely).

 
Let's start the activation of phonetic Russian layout.

First thing you need to do is to check whether Windows considers you a complete novice smile or not:




  
I created three sets of phonetic keyboard layout files, to work under three different editions of MS Windows:


 

DOWNLOAD

Before you download my files, you need to create a new directory(folder) to keep them, for example, create a new folder with RUS-Y.

I have created a single file (.zip archive) for each of the Windows editions - Windows 7,8/Vista and XP/2003; Windows 2000/NT; Windows 95/98/ME.

For your version of Windows this archive file includes all files necessary for phonetic Russian keyboard layout.
Below are the links to download .zip files and then it will be explained what to do after the download.
         
copying To download this archive file, just click on the file name for your version of Windows and - a must - choose "Save" option and not "Open".
Save the file to this newly created directory(folder) - RUS-Y.

Now, download the file for your version of Windows:

 

green ball for 32/64 bit Windows 7/8, Vista, XP, 2003:



green ball for Windows 2000/NT:



green ball for Windows 95/98/ME:


Now you have my .ZIP with Phonetic layout files inside.

Further instructions are different for different Windows versions - one is for Windows 7,8/Vista/2003/XP and another for earlier versions, so choose your version here to go to the corresponding instruction:


 

Phonetic installation Part 2 - for Windows 7,8/Vista and XP/2003
(Part 1 showed how to download .ZIP with needed files)

Here are the steps for a user of Windows XP/2003 or Vista/Windows 7,8:

That's it! Now if you switch to "RU" you'd work with Phonetic layout.

If you already activated Standard layout before, you'd rather remove it (from the list of active layout, not from the system) to have just Phonetic layout working as "RU" (only one layout can be 'active").

Control Panel / "Regional and Language Options" - "Languages" tab - "Details" button
(under Vista - "Keyboard and Languages" tab and "Change Keyboard" button) -
  if you see there that for language "Russian" you have two active layouts - "Russian" and "Russian Phonetic - WinRus.com"
(under Vista you need to click on '+' next to word "Russian" to see active layouts),
then place cursor to "Russian" layout line (which is right above "Russian Phonetic - WinRus.com") and click on "Remove".



How to UNinstall my Phonetic keyboard layout

Click again on the same   setup.exe   -
it will offer you two options - "Remove" and "Repair". Click on "Remove", wait a little bit and you'll see a message that "Russian Phonetic - WinRus.com" layout was successfully uninstalled.

Or you can just remove Phonetic layout from the list of active layouts, choosing another layout as 'active" for "RU".


Below - same instruction, same Part 2 as above but for other Windows versions, so users of Windows 7,8/Vista/2003/XP can skip that part and go to the next chapter of this page. Your choice:


 

Phonetic installation Part 2 - for Windows 2000/NT and 95/98/ME
(Part 1 showed how to download .ZIP with needed files)

Instructions below are using layout file name kbdXX_y in the text, but it's the same for the file kbdXX_zh of the 2nd variant with opposite assignment for 'W' and 'V'.

NOTE: If the browser instead begins to display the contents of this file on the screen, then try to download it again, but this time hold down the SHIFT key on your keyboard while clicking on that file.

After downloading the archive (.zip file), you need to open (unzip) it, that is extract the files kept within that archive.

You can extract files from the archive using the shareware program WinZip for Windows OR simply with the small free MS DOS program pkunzip.

Note. If you use a multifunctional archive program such as WinZip or WinRAR, you MUST use it ONLY to Extract files from archive and not for any other installation steps listed in the next section.

If you don't have PKUNZIP, you can download it here: pkunzip.exe.
Put it into the folder called Windows (or WinNT), that is, into the main MS Windows directory(folder).

To extract files from the archive using pkunzip program, open an MS-DOS window first and then type two MS DOS commands (the first one switches to the required directory (folder) and the second one does the extraction):

Now if you call your file manager program - Windows Explorer (called by holding a button with windows on it and pressing 'E'), you should see, in that RUS-Y folder, all the files that were kept before inside .zip - keyboard layout file itself and two .REG files.

Next steps should be done using your file manager - Windows Explorer.


Two steps of Phonetic layout activation for Windows 2000/NT and 95/98/ME:

copying the layout file to a system folder and registering it as "RU"

Instructions below are using layout file name kbdXX_y in the text, but it's the same for the file kbdXX_zh of 2nd variant with opposite assignment for 'W' and 'V'.

After you unzipped the archive (i.e. extract the files kept within the archive), you should see three files in that RUS-Y folder where you placed my archive file - one keyboard layout file and two registration files - see next step/descriptions below.

Step 1. Phonetic Layout file

The phonetic layout that I implemented is often called YaWERT (if you look at its picture above, you'll see why - it's Russian letters on first five buttons) and thus I selected the following name for my phonetic layout file for Windows-1251 encoding:



Step 2. Registration files

I created special files that register my phonetic layout in the Windows Registry as 'Russian' ("RU") and make phonetic layout ready for use:
I am not replacing the existing Microsoft layout file kbdru with my version, or altering the system files on your computer. My instruction only registers my own layout file kbd1251y as Russian, a process which is readily reversible.

This decision (avoid altering system files) that I made couple years ago while creating my first phonetic keyboard layout, is even more beneficial now, in Windows 2000 and newer - unlike previous versions, these new ones do not let a user to modify original system file kbdru.dll (unless a user performs some tricks that are not appropriate for a non-computer professional).



After installing my layout you'll see that "RU" on the Taskbar will activate my phonetic layout and not the standard one.

Note. I also provide (in the next chapter) a way to reverse, undo that and register original Microsoft layout file kbdru again as "Russian", so "RU" on Taskbar will activate that standard layout as it was initially.

Here is what you need to do with my Phonetic registration files:

Windows 95/98/ME



Windows 2000/NT


DEACTIVATION of Phonetic layout under Windows 2000/NT and 95/98/ME

If for some reason you need to undo the above, that is, have original, standard Microsoft layout working again as "RU", then do the following:

Windows 95/98/ME



Windows 2000/NT


   

MODIFICATION of my Phonetic layout

As I mentioned above, I did not personally design this variant of placing Russian letters on the keyboard, I just took as a basis the widely used (for years) variant called YaWERT.

If you are not satisfied with my placement of the Russian letters on the keyboard, then you can modify my phonetic layout.

This is my instructional page for such modification, it's on a separate page:   "How to modify Phonetic Layout"


   

Final notes about Russian keyboard usage

You have now active Russian keyboard layout and can start typing Russian!  
Did you find this useful? You can make a donation by clicking here
(opens in new window):




  
Important.
Some text editors and all older software (for example, MS Word 6) require 2 steps to type in Russian:
  1. Select the appropriate Cyrillic font from the fonts list
  2. Switch keyboard to Russian mode
New, Unicode-based programs (MS Word 97/2000, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Netscape/Mozilla, etc.) do not require Step 1 - selecting a font, if you use a Unicode font (which is the preferred way of working with these programs).

Unicode font is a very large font and contains letters of many different alphabets, including Western European, Russian, Greek, etc. It was explained in details in my Fonts and Encodings section mentioned at the beginning of this page.

These modern programs use a new approach for typing that is based on the language of the keyboard (non-Unicode programs require a user to choose a national font first).
If you work with a Unicode font such as "Arial" or "Times New Roman" then these modern Unicode-based applications let you input your own text as follows:

It's even more obvious in MS Internet Explorer or Netscape - you don't see any font window at all, you just switch the keyboard to Russian and start typing.


If you need to write in Russian, but you are not using your own PC, say you are in an Internet-cafe or in the library, where you can read in Russian (fonts are enabled), but can not write - can not use Windows Control Panel to enable regular keyboard tools for Russian, then it's still Ok, there is an easy work-around:

you can use special Web page with a Virtual Keyboard where you can input Cyrillic text and then copy it to the place where you need it.

That is, even in that case you should not send a transliteration, latin text such as "privet" or "schast'ye" or zashhishhajushhixsja :) that will bother the readers of that message - you can send normal Cyrillic text.

Virtual Keyboard allows you to input via regular keyboard (though mouse can be used, too) and - important! - you can type "as at home", choosing, in the menu below the image, same layout (Standard or Phonetic) that you use at home!

Such method is offered in the section of my site called
  "On-screen Russian keyboard"

While in Internet-cafe, you can use a short address of that Virtual Keyboard:

Obviously, it's not as handy as typing with regular Windows keyboard tools, so you should use such special Web page only in such 'corner case' as Internet-cafe or library.




  
Mac and Unix (Linux, Solaris,...) - How to type in Russian

Unix:



Macintosh:

End of the chapter "Final notes about Russian keyboard usage"


Note:

I have separate pages with keyboard instructions for these rarely needed scenarios:


Paul Gorodyansky. 'Cyrillic (Russian): instructions for Windows and Internet'