Support for regional languages in Mac

How to enable support for Indian, or any foreign languages in Mac OS X

Mac OS X has a built-in support for a very large number of language scripts around the world. So the option of typing in Hindi or Hebrew or Hungarian or any other language, is few clicks away!

1. Open System Preferences

System Preferences
Click the Apple icon in your menu bar and select System Preferences. Alternatively you can simply spotlight (command-space) for ‘System Preferences’ and it will show up.

2. Choose the International Languages you want

In the System Preferences, click on “International”. You will see the following screen:
International Language
Screen 1: System Preferences > International

Click on “Input Menu” to see a list of all supported languages in your computer.
International Input Menu
Screen 2: System Preferences > International > Input Menu

Check the “Character Palette” checkbox.
Check the “Keyboard Viewer” checkbox.
Check the “Show input menu in the menu bar” checkbox at the bottom of the screen.
Scroll down and find the languages of your choice. For Indian languages based on Devanagri script (Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi, Nepali), check Devnagari-QWERTY.

International Input Menu
Screen 3: System Preferences > International > Input Menu > Select languages of your choice.

Type in your language

Input Menu in menu bar
Notice an icon with a flag on the right side of your menu bar (next to the clock and the battery indicator). Clicking the icon will reveal the list of alternate input languages. Simply select the language you want and you are done.

Keyboard shortcut for selecting language: Option-Space (⌥Space)

As you can see, I have 3 languages: English, देवनागरी and Русский installed

Keyboard Map

If you are ever stuck, the keyboard map comes handy. Click the “Show Keyboard Viewer” from the input menu in the menu bar (image above). You will get the following keyboard layouts (shown for Indic scripts only, it will change as you press the keys as shown below):

Keyboard mapping
Keyboard Viewer (click to enlarge) – its not complicated at all. My mother could use it within minutes.

Some handy keystrokes

Complex Marathi / Hindi characters can be built by combining sounds. Here is a small list:

Complex Character Breakdown Keystroke
प ् र
प ् र ि
य ा ं
क ् त ृ
ऱ ् ह ा
द ् य
र ् य
श ् च ि
ब ॉ
p f r
p f r i
y a M
k f t R
r f h a
d f y
r f y
S f c i
b Q

As you see, its pretty phonetic; “f” is used to shorten the sound. p=, pf=प्

Using Indian languages in Windows XP/2000

Support for a plethora of Indian languages is available in Windows XP/2000 too. Here is a wikipedia page that shows you how to enable language support in Windows XP and certain Linux distributions.


If this post was useful to you, please let me know. If something is unclear, I’ll revise! Thanks.

4 thoughts on “Support for regional languages in Mac

  1. Hey Priyank I am MS Windows user, but good stuff for mac ursers. BTW I will repost my tip to you on my blog comments as per your recommendations. That is great idea, and thanks for the tip. Hope all is well! Anna :)

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