Lesson-2: Switching Languages

This post is also available in: German Arabic Persian Turkish


I want to work with my computer in my own language. How do I switch to Persian, German or any other language?

There are several ways to do this:

1-lgoutLogout and login with a different language

first click on the whisker menu and the power-icon or press the power-button of your computer.
as a second step do not “shutdown” your computer but click “Log Out”.

2-login-langYou will be dropped to a new login window saying “kalliope” (or your username).

On the right top corner of the screen you see an Icon saying for example “en_US” or “de_AT”.
This is the language used if you login now (username: kalliope, password: kalliope. remember?).

You can now change this language before login to the one you wish.

As a practice do it now. Change the language for example to german and login.

3-germanThe computer will no prompt icons an menus in german language.
that was it. you can know work in your native language or switch to german if you are learning etc..

Note: in some languages not everything is translated and you will see some english expressions, too.

Practice: now log out again and try another language or go back to english.

I switched the language to Arabic but the keyboard is still Latin/english. how can I switch the keyboard language?

4-arabic-keyboard1if your language uses other characters and fonts (e.g. arabic, greek) you must activate these keyboard layouts additionally.

5-settings-keyboardClick on the Whisker Menu and go to “Settings”, choose “Keyboard” and click it

6-settings-keyboard2In the opening keyboard-settings window you unchoose “Use system defaults”
click on the add button and a “Keyboard layout selection” will be prompted.
choose one or more additional languages. in future these keyboard layouts will be available to you.

The order of the keyboards show is the order it will be switched (see below) and the topmost is the default keyboard layout after startup

So how do I now switch between the keyboard layouts?

The fastest way to switch layouts is a “keyboard shortcut”. These tricky keyboard-shortcuts are used in several situations and can be very helpful. No panic, the ones you need you will remember soon.

7-settings-keyboard3configure a keyboard shortcut for layout changing:

open –>  settings –> keyboard –> Layout again


click on “Change layout option” and choose “ALT-SHIFT”
after that close the window

9-multilang-examplePractice: go to –> Accessories –> Mousepad. The program will open, it is a so called “Text-Editor”.  A very simple program to write and save text messages.

Begin writing something, then press ALT-SHIT, go on writing. Repeat this and the language you write will change every time you hit ALT-SHIFT

My Computer has a german keyboard layout. When working in arabic (or others) how do I find the correct keys?

10-stickersFirst you have to decide whether you need the german layout in future (for example to learn Deutsch). If not, you can get some stickers to clue on the keyboard.

You can find templates in the internet. If you search google or any other search engine for “keyboard stickers arabic” (e.g.) you find templates.

If you attend our courses in Wels you can ask for printouts, we do some.

You can download our templates: arabic-a4


11-onboard1The second variant is to use a onscreen keyboard to help you find the keys

Open Whisker Menu -> Accessories -> Onboard


The Onboard keyboard will always show your currently used keyboard layout. So if you switch to e.g. arabic, it will will show that


11-onboard3If the Onboard keyboard is to large and/or hiding things you need to see, you can move, resize and close the window with the controls on the right side. Resizing is done on the edges like other regular windows.

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