Skip to main content

Korean Language Guide

Typing Korean When You Can't Change Computer Settings

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 an online tool that lets you type with the regular English keyboard and then you can copy and paste the Korean text where you need it.

Input Methods for Typing in Korean

Typing in Korean

We recommend that you use 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. This is the typing method that almost all Koreans use.

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

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.

Springshare's information on Accessibility in Libguides - - MHC Accessibility Barriers Form