If you ever had your keyboard layout suddenly change on you, you know how much of a pain it can be - especially if you don’t know how to revert the change. Pressing a specific combination of keys, even accidentally, could make your keyboard layout change from UK to US on Windows 10. How to revert this change?

Windows 10 - Microsoft latest operating system - provides an intuitive interface that makes it simple and easy to change from the US keyboard to the UK one. The process is straightforward and doesn’t require any technical knowledge. Whether you’re a professional looking to adjust to a new workspace, or simply want to adopt a layout that suits your typing style better, this guide is for you.

What is the keyboard layout?

A keyboard layout on Windows 10 computers refers to a specific configuration of the keyboard that determines how the keys are mapped and what symbols and characters they correspond to. It represents the arrangement of keys and the function of each key when pressed.

Most English-speaking countries use the “QWERTY” keyboard layout, which gets its name from the arrangement of the first six keys on the top letter of the keyboard. Look down, you’ll most likely see the familiar QWERTY letters. 

There are, however, countries and regions that use different keyboard layouts. In France, for instance, the “AZERTY” layout is more commonly used. Germany and a lot of Central Europe use the “QWERTZ” layout as well. 

Windows 10 supports many keyboard layouts and allows you to switch between them or add new ones. This includes changing the keyboard from US to UK and is useful if you often type in different languages. You can switch between added layouts using Alt + Shift or Windows key + Space bar.

Changing your keyboard from US to UK on Windows 10

The whole process shouldn’t take you longer than a couple of minutes. Make sure to follow these steps exactly and you’ll have your keyboard layout changed back to UK in no time:

  1. Open the Control Panel. You can do this by typing “Control Panel” into the search bar located on your taskbar, then selecting the Control Panel app that appears. Alternatively, open the Start menu and select the cog icon.
  2. Enter Region and Language settings. Find the “Time & Language” section and select the “Language” option. You’ll see a range of options you can switch the language of, including Keyboard.
  3. Click on Keyboard. Under “override for default input method” you can change the default “Use language list” to a specific language option you have installed on your system. Choose English (United Kingdom)

If there is no English (United Kingdom) option to choose, you’ll have to download the related language pack. Navigate back to the Language options and under “Preferred languages” click on “Add a language”. Select English (United Kingdom) from the list and click Next. The option to choose a UK keyboard layout should now be visible.

Changing the Windows display language to English (UK)

If you’d like to have all Windows features displayed in UK English, you’ll have to change the display language. On Windows 10, you can change your display language by following these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel. Click on the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner, then click on the gear-shaped icon to open the Settings.
  2. In the settings windows, click on “Time & Language”
  3. In the “Time & Language” window, click on “Language” from the menu on the left.
  4. Under the “Preferred languages” section, click on “Add a language” if you can’t see the English (United Kingdom) option
  5. In the “Choose a language to install” window, search for English (United Kingdom)
  6. Click next and install the language pack. 
  7. Navigate back to the Language settings page. 
  8. Under “Windows display language” select English (United Kingdom)
  9. To see changes, you’ll have to restart your device or sign out and sign in again. 

Keep in mind that you must have administrative rights on your computer to change the display language. If your account doesn’t have the required privileges, you’ll need to ask an administrator to change it for you.

What are the differences between US and UK keyboard layouts?

The English (United States) and English (United Kingdom) keyboard layouts on Windows 10 are very similar, as they both use the basic QWERTY layout. There are, however, a few differences between them, mainly in the placement of symbols and punctuation:

  • The locations of the @ and (double quote) keys are switched between the US and UK keyboards. On the US keyboard, the @ can be typed by pressing Shift + 2, and the double quote by pressing Shift + ‘. On the UK keyboard, these are reversed.
  • The # and £ keys have also been relocated for the UK keyboard. The “£” symbol is on the “3” key and can be typed by pressing Shift. The “#” symbol, on the other hand, is on a key of its own and can be typed without pressing the Shift. On the US keyboard, the “#” symbol is on the “3” key, and the “£” symbol is not on the keyboard at all.
  • In the UK version, the “\” key is moved to the left of the “Z” key.

These differences can be significant if you’re used to typing a certain way and expect keys to be in their regular positions, especially if you switch between UK and US keyboards regularly. For casual typing, though, most of the keys are in the same places for both layouts.

Frequently Asked Questions about keyboard layouts

"Will changing my keyboard from US to UK affect my computer’s performance?"

No, it won't. Changing the keyboard layout only alters the input method. It doesn't have any impact on the performance of your computer.

"Can I switch back to the US layout after changing the keyboard to UK?"

Absolutely. The process is reversible. You can switch back to the US layout by following the same steps and selecting 'English (US)' instead of 'English (UK)'.

“Is it possible to have different keyboard layouts for different applications in Windows 10?”

The keyboard layout is a global setting and affects all applications running on the system. However, you might find third-party software or scripts that could automate the process of switching keyboard layouts based on the active application.