I have only a standard English (qwerty) keyboard on my computer. Can anyone recommend a convenient method (free software or something else) by which I can use my keyboard to type the Cyrillic alphabet?
I used the following low tech method for my desktop computer which has a white keyboard. Install your favorite Cyrillic keyboard layout in the settings and then write the corresponding Russian letter on the front side of each key (not the top one!) with pencil. The pencil marks will gradually disappear because of accidental touches but it is usually OK as you will learn how to type Russian without looking at the keyboard by that time. An extra benefit of this method that you will learn to type in Russian using any querty keyboard and don't need to install any programs or open a browser.
You could use so called phonetic layout, ЯВЕРТЫ; that is software layout where Cyrillic letters are placed to roughly correspond the legend on a physical Latin keyboard: “f” – „ф“, “u” – „у“, “i” – „и“, “a” – „а“ and so forth. If you type in Russian enough to memorize a bit illogical position of nine Cyrillic letters, which lack their counterparts in Latin: ъ, ь, ю, я, ш, щ, ч, э, ж; that would probably be the best option for you.
It’s available out of a box in X11 (
Option "XkbLayout" "us,ru(phonetic)"), and, as for popular non-free systems, it can be easily found over the Web as installable package.
Disadvantage: you would get used to it and would never switch to normal ЙЦУКЕН. :-)
There are many online tools for converting latin letters to cyrillic ones. For instance http://translit.net/ - it allows to type latin letters that are converted to cyrillic automatically. For instance "kak dela" becomes "как дела".
All you need is to set up the Russian language in the
Regional Settings to be able to switch between input languages.
Another option is to buy stickers with the Russian letters. For instance: here.
- find Language(if you set your view into Small Icon)
- find Clock, Language and Region and you will see Add Language(if you set your view into Category)
Then, find Russian language and add it on your language list. Now, your good to go to pick a keyboard, appear on your lower right taskbar, near date and time bar.
Just Advice, you need to have Russian letters sticker or, if you can afford a keyboard with Russian Cyrillic alphabet on it because it is little bit confusing if you don't master the arrangement of alphabet on their keyboard.
If you're not a touch-typist on your native keyboard, that is the first thing to do, before attempting to type on a different keyboard layout. It's not so hard to become a touch typist and it'll benefit you all your life.
Once you've become a touch-typist (i.e. you can type quickly, correctly, and without looking at the keyboard), you start training on the secondary keyboard layout. For Russian, just use the standard layout. It can be done, your fingers will remember the location of each letter even though your eyes might not know where that letter is hiding.
Optionally, use a keyboard layout editor (such as
MSKLC.exe, Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, for Windows) to adapt the keyboard to your needs and habits. I wouldn't use it to shift letters around (standard Russsian layout works fine for those), but I did use it to remap quotes and slashes and plus and minus and so on. Entirely up to your preferences.
Then (if on Windows, see image), add a keyboard shortcut (like Ctrl-4 for native, Ctrl-7 for Russian) to switch between keyboard layouts. Works perfectly. You can access these settings by, for example, right-clicking on the keyboard layout icon in the taskbar and then picking "Settings" (or whatever it is called in your language).
I would recommend to you to use russian virtual keyboard which uses transliteration. There are many of them online. You can use for example Russian virtual online keyboard
It's quite simple.