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Chrome OS offers a variety of keyboard layouts for its on-screen keyboard, also known as the software keyboard or touch keyboard. If you’d prefer the layout for another region or language, here’s how to change it.

This is also particularly useful if you can’t see the Ctrl and Alt keys on the software keyboard and need to enable them, which is a problem some Chromebook users have reported.

First, click on the clock to open the system menu and notification tray; then click on the Settings icon.

Click the clock, then click on the Settings cog

Scroll to the bottom and click “Advanced.”

Under Settings, click advanced, located at the bottom of the page

Scroll a little bit further until you see the “Language and Input” section. Click on “Input Method” to expand it, then click on “Manage Input Methods.”

Click Input Method, then click on Manage Input Methods

Locate the keyboard you want to use and check the box to its right to install the keyboard settings. For example, if the Ctrl and Alt keys don’t appear on your Chromebook’s current on-screen keyboard, click the “US Extended Keyboard” box to enable it.

Scroll down until you see US Extended Keyboard, then tick the box to the left

Now, when you open the on-screen keyboard, tap or click the language input icon to the left of the Space bar, and select the keyboard you want to use from the list.

From the on-screen keyboard, click the language input (US), then choose US Extended keyboard

Your keyboard’s layout will change immediately—you don’t have to restart anything.

The Ctrl and Alt keys are now added to the keyboard


Chromebooks don’t support third-party software keyboards, as Android does. Google does say it has plans to enable this in the future. Until Google allows the use of third-party keyboard apps on Chrome OS, however, the keyboard layouts included with Chrome OS are your only options.

RELATED: A Guide to Your Chromebook’s Accessibility Features

Brady Gavin Brady Gavin
Brady Gavin has been immersed in technology for 15 years and has written over 150 detailed tutorials and explainers. He's covered everything from Windows 10 registry hacks to Chrome browser tips. Brady has a diploma in Computer Science from Camosun College in Victoria, BC.  
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