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I speak English as my first language, but I also am fluent in French and I'd like to occasionally write in French on my Android phone. I have ICS, and whilst I can easily change my language to French, I cannot change the keyboard layout to an AZERTY or QWERTZ layout.

How do I add another language keyboard layout to my phone?

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Long press on the letters to get the alternative letters of the alphabet...? –  t0mm13b Jan 20 '13 at 19:03

2 Answers 2

Actually it's very intuitive, open the App Drawer, look for Settings, then follow below:

  • Language & Input > Keyboard & Input Methods > Android keyboard (AOSP) Settings > Input Languages
  • And in this list tap to put a check-mark for both English and French.
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You can achieve this using third-party keyboard apps. Try MultiLing. I like it particularly for 2 reasons:

  1. It's highly customizable: from the look to keyboard layouts to languages to sounds to effects to emoji icons to tablet layouts and much much more.
  2. It supports my native language =) (Uzbek - a minority language) with the autocompletion dictionary.

And the best part? It's free!

Background Info

Although I don't need French and I only use the QWERTY layout, I tried adding French and the layouts you mentioned and it worked and I was able to do that pretty quickly.

Note that you won't be able to change the keyboard layouts as quickly using a shortcut as you would change languages (swiping the space bar). However, I'm assuming one doesn't need to change layouts that often since it's a matter of typing preference.

Setting up Languages and Layouts

Once you install the keyboard, follow these steps to add languages (the app will actually present a very convenient step-by-step set up wizard when you first run it):

  1. Settings (not Android settings, but Multilang keyboard settings - there is a key for that on the keyboard. This will open a popup) > Languages > tick off the languages you want.
  2. To install the autocompletion dictionaries, go to "Install Dictionaries" on the same screen. This will open developer's website with links to download dictionaries from Google Play.

To change the keyboard layouts:

  1. Settings > Keyboard Settings > Themes, sizes and layouts > ABC Layouts > select the layout you want.
  2. Press back several times to go back to the input screen and you are good to go.

Switching Layouts

If you want to use QWERTY with English and AZERTY with French, there are two ways to achieve this:

  1. Changing the MultiLing keyboard settings where you have English and French set up - following the steps above (total of 7 taps or 4-5 seconds).
  2. Using the stock Android keyboard with English language and QWERTY layout, and MultiLing with French and the layout of your choice. In this case keyboard switching is done through the notifications screen (as far as I remember on ICS - I'm on Jelly Bean now).

Bonus Information

Here's a promo video for the keyboard which shows the different languages, layouts and styles. You will see my language on the 33rd second :)

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