Typing Non-Roman Characters in the LRC

To type in languages that do not use the roman alphabet (Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, etc.), one must select a keyboard layout from among those available in the computer's operating system. Both Mac and Windows support all languages taught at Colby, but the defaults can be difficult to use. Accordingly, we have special keyboard options and software in the LRC to facilitate ease of use.

Step 1: Select keyboard input method

Select your language from the drop-down list on the menu bar. The default is US English, represented by an American flag icon. Single click on this icon to see the list of other input methods for other languages and select the desired language. You will need to set the keyboard for each application separately.


Step 2: Language specific input method

  • Chinese and Japanese
  • Russian

Chinese and Japanese

All LRC lab Macs can handle both Simplified and Traditional Chinese input; however, the NJstar program is the method of Chinese word processing preferred by the faculty. NJStar is installed on the LRC Windows computers as well as those in the Lovejoy 400 cluster. Students can ask the lab monitor for help locating the NJStar machines.

To type in Japanese in any application, choose Hiragana input, and type the word phonetically. You will see underlined Hiragana script appear in the document. To convert an underlined kana segment to Kanji, press the spacebar. Repeating the spacebar will cycle through options for that kana reading. The return key will commit your choice to the document.

tip: Mac OSX has a built-in dictionary that allows searching for related Kanji. The "relatedness" search criteria is based on the primary radical of the character:



The Russian keyboard that comes with Mac OSX does not correspond in any useful way to the customary QWERTY keyboard, so we have implemented a phonetically similar alternative.

  1. Select Русская - AppleStd from the keyboard list.
  2. Make sure Caps Lock is on. When Caps Lock is off, you can can type with a regular US English keyboard.
russian keyboard The Русская - AppleStd keyboard with Caps Lock on.
russian keyboard The Русская - AppleStd keybaord with Caps Lock on while holding down the option key

tip: launch Keyboard Viewer and leave it running while you work. Keyboard Viewer (forrmerly "Key Caps") is a utility that will map out the keyboard for you so you can quickly determine where a given key is located, if you're having a hard time locating ё for example (option + e on the phonetic keyboard). A shortcut to the application is located on the dock of all LRC Macs.