Writing in Cyrillic on Windows XP

Tonight I worked on some Russian, which I hadn’t done in a few days. I studied my book for about 45 minutes, going over some tricky pronunciation material in Chapter 2, then started on Chapter 3 again. I’m refusing to move on until I’ve mastered each part, including all of the sections in the book marked EXTRA.

I wanted to make some flashcards on my computer, so I had to figure out how to type in Cyrillic. Setting Windows XP up to use Cyrillic really is a breeze. To set it up:

  1. Click Start -> Control Panel.
  2. On the Control Panel page, select Regional and Language Options.
  3. Click on the Languages tab at the top of the screen.
  4. Click Details.
  5. Click Add. Under the drop down for Input Language, select Russian.

That’s it! To use the Cyrillic script, open the program you’re going to be writing in, then look on your taskbar. Off to the right (by default), you’ll see a little button that looks like a keyboard. Click on it, and you’ll be able to select any of the input languages you’ve entered, including the newly added Russian.

That’s the easy part. The tricky part is remembering what English key represents what Cyrillic letter. It took me about 15 minutes to make seven flashcards in my flashcard program of choice, Pauker. I printed out a picture of the standard Cyrillic keyboard layout that Windows XP uses. Here’s the picture of the keyboard layout. In a very literal way, I was (and still am) learning how to type, again. It’s a rather peculiar feeling. With English, I can type 85-90 words per minute with very, very few mistakes. Making my Russian flashcards threw me back into the days of hunting and pecking. I didn’t much care for the feeling. 🙂 To make my learning of the Cyrillic keyboard layout a little less painful, I’m probably going to order some Russian stickers. A set comes in at around $15.

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