You don’t need a special keyboard to type in Korean – you can use a standard English keyboard. However, if you are a PC user, you may need to install the Windows Asian language packs to be able to see and type Hangeul letters.
If this text: 안녕 doesn’t match the image to the right, you need to install the language packs.
KOREAN KEYBOARD SETUP FOR WINDOWS 10 ^
This article on setting up your keyboard to type in Krean in Windows 10 looks very user-friendly. However, I don’t have a Windows 10 machine to test it on. If you check it out, it would be a real favor to my other visitors if you would return to this page and leave a comment.
Here’s another Windows 10 article that looks good – lots of pictures!
KOREAN KEYBOARD SETUP FOR WINDOWS VISTA, 7 & 8 ^
This page has highly user-friendly step-by-step instructions to set up Korean keyboard options for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Note that Windows 8 comes first on the page, so scroll down if you are running one of the older operating systems.
The official Microsoft setup instructions for Windows Vista are not as user-friendly.
KOREAN KEYBOARD SETUP FOR WINDOWS XP ^
The Hanguladay blog has a nice Windows XP Language Bar setup article with easy-to-follow steps and screenshots. Many installation and usage questions are answered in the comments below the post. But if you are still running Windows XP, you should really try to upgrade at least to Windows 7. Updates for XP ended years ago, which means you are at very high risk of viruses and other computer issues.
If you’re a glutton for punishment, here are the official Microsoft instructions for activating the Language Bar in Windows XP.
HANGEUL KEYBOARD STICKERS ^
I buy my Korean keyboard stickers on eBay, from a user named “keyboardsticker.” There are several different colors and styles (and languages) available. Here is the eBay store. I have now bought three sets of stickers from the same source. I paid under $2 (USD) including shipping and they arrived very promptly all three times. They last 2.5-3 years under heavy usage before some of the letters have worn off enough that I have to replace them.
I have never had trouble with the adhesive. They go on easily, stay on, but also come off easily when it’s time for a new set. I get the opaque black stickers that cover the whole key – this also brightens my English lettersm which are faded on the actual keyboard. However, if your English letters are fine, you can also get transparent stickers that just add the Hangeul letters. This will also protect your English letters from wear.
TIPS FOR TYPING IN HANGEUL ^
Hangeul letters are typed in blocks of 2 or more letters. Each block represents a syllable. I went nuts trying to maneuver the letters into their correct position in the block with the shift key and space bar before I figured out that the language pack does this for me. If it doesn’t, it’s an indicator that I have misspelled the word. The software knows the rules of Korean spelling better than I do!
Don’t worry if a letter doesn’t jump into the right block as you type it, just keep typing. The software has to “see” the whole word to know how to arrange things. There should be no space between blocks in the same word, but do space between words.
HANGEUL FONTS ^
Windows includes several Hangeul fonts, which will become visible in the font menus inside Windows programs once you have activated the language bar and installed the Korean language packs. You may need to have the IME set to Hangeul for them to show. If you want more options, there is a selection of free Hangeul fonts here.
MOBILE PHONE KEYBOARD APPS ^
These days, many keyboard apps for 핸드폰 (cell phone) support a second language. I currently use SwiftKey. It’s is very easy to activate the Hangeul keyboard by simply swiping the space bar. In fact, a little too easy sometimes! But if you activate the Hangeul keyboard accidentally, it is just as easy to switch back to English. SwiftKey is very proactive in its predictions (for English words), so much so that it has an annoying habit of replacing the word I typed with some other word. However, all keyboards seem to do this to some extent, and overall, I have been happy with it.
OTHER WAYS TO TYPE IN HANGEUL ^
There are a lot of web-based virtual keyboards where you can type in Korean, and then copy and paste your text. I mostly use the Google translator keyboard for this, but this page is designed specifically for that purpose, and offers some Hanja options that Google does not.