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Switching between keyboard languages (e.g. Heblish & English)

  • To activate a different language keyboard, press together the two key combo Alt-Shift. One can disable or change the keyboard shortcut to switch languages but probably should not.
  • Usually the current Keyboard language will be displayed on the right side of the application bar (the bar at the bottom of the screen that shows the active applications.) The icon will consist of 2 letters (EN for English/HE for Hebrew) to indicate the language of the active keyboard. Another way to switch languages is to click on this 2 letter icon and then choose the language you want from the popup menu that appears.
  • If there is more than one keyboard for a certain language installed, Windows NT and later (XP, 2000, 2003) will show a keyboard icon in addition to the language icon. The icon will be a keyboard next to the language icon. To change the keyboard active for the active language, press together the two key combo Ctrl-Shift to cycle through the keyboards for the current language. One can also click on the keyboard icon and choose one of the keyboards from the popup menu that will appear.

Text alignment

  • To align text left and set direction of text to left-to-right, press together the two key combo Ctrl-Shift on the left side of the keyboard.
  • To align text right and set direction of text to right-to-left, press together the two key combo Ctrl-Shift on the right side of the keyboard.

On Windows XP & later & some earlier system with MS Office installed

  • If more than one keyboard for English or Hebrew is installed, when pressing Ctrl-Shift to align, will also change the active keyboard for the active language if there is more than one keyboard installed for the active language.
  • To avoid this problem, the Heblish installer will offer to disable the Ctrl-Shift switch active keyboard behavior when there are multiple keyboards for a language.
  • To enable/disable this behavior one can also configure the system.
  • To change the active keyboard layout for the active language without using Ctrl-Shift,
    1. Click on the keyboard icon that appears on the taskbar next to 2-letter keyboard language.
      • If keyboard language does not appear, configure the system to show it.
      • If the language appears, but the keyboard icon does not,
        1. Right click on the keyboard language indicator.
        2. Choose: "Adjust the Language band position"
    2. Choose Layout
  • If you choose to enable Ctrl-Shift keyboard layout switching, press Ctrl-Shift twice to right or left align when current language has more than 2 layouts, 3 times for 3 layouts, etc.

Configuring the Keyboard

(Install languages, change keyboard shortcuts, etc.)

On Windows 95, 98, ME
  1. Open the "Keyboard" control panel.
  2. Click on the Language Tab.
On Windows NT, 2000, XP, & later
  1. Open the "Regional and Language Options" control panel.
  2. Most of the relevant options are in the Language Tab. Click on it.
  3. Click on the details button.

Using Keyboard shortcuts in English version of programs

In general, when typing Hebrew in English programs, Ctrl-<Key> shortcuts will work but Alt-<Key> will not. Alt-<Key>'s will work in many English Microsoft programs like MS Word when using the standard Hebrew keyboard. Some of the less common Alt-keys do not work correctly in these MS programs when using WinHeblish

Common Problems

  • Cannot type Hebrew into Internet Explorer
    Hebrew letters typed into Internet Explorer appear as random letters. In other programs like Notepad, Hebrew letters appear correctly.
    Possible Cause:
    Bad version of Google Bar installed. (The Google Bar is a bar inserted into the Internet Explorer menu bar that allows one to search by typing into the bar without first going to the Google site.)
    If you suspect that this is your problem, try reinstalling Google Bar:
    1. Uninstall it:
      1. Click on Start Menu|Control Panel|Add Or Remove Program
      2. Choose from list of programs: Google Toolbar|Change/Remove
    2. Install it:
      1. In IE, go to www.toolbar.google.com
      2. Click on Download Google Toolbar
  • Hebrew letters in email look like garbage (e.g.: äöìëä) in receiver's email program
    In email or in any computer representation of text, letters were usually represented by a number between 0-255 (a byte). For example, letter "A" might represented by the number 80. The computer displays "A" but it "thinks" 80. Since there are more than 256 letters in the world, there is more than one mapping between letters and numbers, called code pages. The computer shows the weird characters instead of the Hebrew because it has misinterpretted the series of numbers which represents the text you sent. The numbers was generated by the sender's email program according to the Hebrew Code Page. But the receiver's email program thinks they represent non-Hebrew text and decodes them according to the non-Hebrew Code Page. For example, the sender typed ALEPH. His email program encoded the ALEPH according to the Hebrew Code Page, as number 75. When the receiver's email program decodes the email, it uses a different encoding in which 75 is "ä". So it displays this letter when the ALEPH should have been. Why did this misunderstanding happen? The sender's email program should have encoded in the email that this is Hebrew text. It evidently did not. Since the receiver's email program did not receive a code page specification, it will probably assume it is in the language of the operating system. If the receiver is using Hebrew Windows, the email will probably decode correctly. If he is using some other Windows, there will be problems.
    Either the sender can configure or change his email program to encode this info. (Perhaps, sending html email will work.) Or the receiver can tell his email program that the document is in Hebrew (specify its code page). To do this in Outlook or Internet Explorer,
    1. Click on menu item View|Encoding.
    2. Setting it to Hebrew (Windows) is usually correct although one of the other Hebrew encoding might be correct. In other email programs, you will have to find the correct way to set the code page.
    Technical Note:
    Just for completeness, there is another way to encode letters called Unicode in which each letter is encoded in a number between 0 and 65,535.  This eliminates code pages.  With this system, text can take more space but the complication of code pages is eliminated and you can mix more than one language in at a time.