Korean keyboard: How to use and type

As a Korean learner, you must want to type Korean to practice or communicate with your Korean friend sometimes. Don’t worry if your knowledge about technological devices is very less, this post will guide you in detail about korean keyboard: how to use and type. 

What if I can’t change the computer settings?

Sometimes you may want to type Korean on a computer where you can’t change the settings (e.g., if you’re in an Internet cafe or a public library, etc.). In that case, you can use some online tools that lets you type with the regular English keyboard and then the Korean text will accordingly appear for you ro you can copy and paste. 

  • Input King
    You use the regular English keyboard setting on the computer, but it works like a standard Korean keyboard (2-Set).
  • Google Translate
    You can type Romaja into the “English” side of Google Translate, and it will usually transform it into Hangul for you in the Korean side. (Note: this doesn’t work perfectly 100% of the time, but it can be useful.)

Korean keyboard: how to use and type in Korean

We highly recommend that you use should the most common input methods, called “2-Set Korean” on Mac or “Microsoft IME” on Windows. These use exactly the same keyboard layout (called 2-Set), so once you learn, you’ll be able to type on either computer system. Almost all Korean use this typing method.

When you’re learning the 2-Set method, you’ll want to see what the keyboard layout looks like. You could either print out a copy of the keyboard layout diagram (see link below), or you can turn on the on-screen keyboard viewer. (See the “Setting up Your Computer” page for instructions on how to do this on Mac or Windows.)

Korean typing is really easy. Basically, you type the letters in order, and they will automatically form into clusters.

To type the double letters, such as ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅆ ㅉ, use SHIFT + the single letter, such as ㄱ ㄷ ㅂ ㅅ ㅈ

Let’s say for example you want to write the following word: 빵 (bread)

You would type ㅃ + ㅏ + ㅇ which would be the same keys on the English keyboard as (SHIFT+q) + k + d

In Korean, sometimes you also need to use traditional Chinese characters (Hanja). After you have typed the word, then you need to convert it to Hanja:

  • Windows: Highlight the Korean word you would like to change into Hanja and click on the Hanja Convert button on the Language Bar (next to the Korean/English toggle). This will give you a choice of what Hanja (according to the meaning) you can convert the Korean word into.
  • Mac: Right after typing, you should see an underline still appearing under the word. While that underline is still visible, press Option + Return (both keys at once). This will give you a choice of what Hanja (according to the meaning) you can convert the Korean word into. Note: if the underline isn’t visible (e.g., if you already pressed Space, Return or typed another word), Option + Return won’t work. To convert to Hanja, you would have to type the word again, and press Option + Return while the underline is still visible.

Other Input Methods for Mac

Mac computers also have other input methods that you can activate: 3-Set Korean, 390 Sebulshik, GongjinCheong Romaja, and HNC Romaja.

Romaja are input methods that spell out Korean as it sounds using the Roman alphabet. So when you want to write 북 (“drum”) using the Romaja method you would write b + u + k (the exact sound of the Korean word). However, to type the words, you need to know the right way to spell them using the romanization that the input method recognizes. Koreans rarely use Romaja input methods.

390 Sebulshik and 3-Set Korean are newer keyboard layouts. They attempt to make typing faster and easier by defining combinations of vowels that you can enter with a single keystroke. However, they are not widely known or used by Korean speakers.

Hope that after reading this post, you can learn a lot about korean keyboard, how to use and type it properly. 


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