I wrote back in January about setting up my computer to allow me to type in Cyrillic. Setting it up was the easy part; the hard part was memorizing what English letters corresponded to what Cyrillic letters. The default Windows XP Cyrillic keyboard layout is the same one that is used in Russian-speaking countries – that is, there is little rhyme nor reason to how the letters are laid out on a keyboard based on the Latin alphabet. For example, the T key produces the Cyrillic Е, the Y key produces Cyrillic Н, and the W key produces the Cyrillic Ц.
Still having not mastered the Russian keyboard layout, I went hunting for a better solution – and found one. From this page, you can install a phonetic keyboard layout which makes a lot more sense. Instead of having to memorize the random (to English users) layout, with the phonetic layout, you only have to memorize the placement of 7 of the letters. The rest of them are fairly logical – for example, the D key produces Д, the U key produces У, and the S key produces С.
The fellow who maintains the site has a fairly complicated set of instructions, which I personally found to be too complicated. If you’re running Windows XP or Windows Vista, just do this:
- Download this zip file, and unzip it to an easily accessible (and findable!) folder.
- Go to the folder and double click setup.exe.
- That’s it.
You should now have, on your taskbar, a button that says “EN”. Click on it and click RU to switch to Russian. The keyboard layout that you’ll be using, when typing Cyrillic, will be this:
If, at any time, you wish to remove the phonetic keyboard, just return to the setup.exe file, double click it, and click Remove.