Disabling Shift+Ctrl

Eric prefers to use the keyboard for most of his work in Excel but has found that the keyboard language seems to randomly switch to French causing the wrong characters to appear. He traced the problem to unintentionally pressing Shift+Ctrl, which switches the language. With using the Ctrl key for macro shortcuts, the Shift+Ctrl language switch happens all the time. Eric wonders if there is a way to disable the Shift+Ctrl language switch.

The shortcut key that changes the keyboard language is controlled by Windows, not by Excel. That being said, it can be frustrating to have languages change as you are typing away, just because you inadvertently hit the shortcut key. Fortunately, there is a way to change it.

First, get out of Excel. (Like I said, this is a Windows issue, not an Excel issue.) If you are using a system with Windows 8, then follow these steps:

  1. Move the mouse pointer into the very bottom-left corner of your screen. You should see a small thumbnail appear showing you the Start screen (if you are looking at the desktop) or a different app (if you are looking at the Start screen already).
  2. Right-click on the thumbnail. Windows displays a Context menu.
  3. Choose Control Panel. Windows displays the traditional Control Panel window.
  4. Click the Change Input Method link. (This link is under the Clock, Language, and Region heading.)
  5. Click Advanced Settings at the left side of the window.
  6. Click Change Language Bar Hot Keys. (You may need to scroll down to see this option.) Windows displays the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box.
  7. Make sure the Advanced Key Settings tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  8. Figure 1. The Advanced Key Settings tab of the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box.

  9. The Between Input Languages option should already be selected, so just click the Change Key Sequence button. Windows displays the Change Key Sequence dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  10. Figure 2. The Change Key Sequence dialog box.

  11. Change both shortcut keys, as desired.
  12. Click OK or Save, as appropriate, to close all dialog boxes.

Note that there are actually two shortcut keys that you can change in the Change Key Sequence dialog box. While you can change just one, if you want, there really isn’t much difference between Ctrl+Shift and Left Alt+Shift-they are both very easy to mistakenly press. Thus, it is a good idea to change them both if you are having problems with one of them. (Not Assigned is a good choice. It disables the keyboard shortcuts altogether.)

If you are using Windows 7 you can accomplish the same task in this manner:

  1. Press the Start menu button and choose Control Panel. Windows displays the traditional Control Panel window.
  2. Click the Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods link. (This link is under the Clock, Language, and Region heading.) Windows displays the Keyboards and Languages tab of the Region and Language dialog box.
  3. Click Change Keyboards. Windows displays the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Advanced Key Settings tab is displayed.
  5. The Between Input Languages option should already be selected, so just click the Change Key Sequence button. Windows displays the Change Key Sequence dialog box.
  6. Change both shortcut keys, as desired.
  7. Click OK or Save, as appropriate, to close all dialog boxes.

If you are using a version of Windows other than 7 or 8, the steps to make the shortcut key change will obviously differ from those presented above. However, there should be enough clues in this tip to help you get to the right place on your system. (The key is to figure out how to get to that Change Key Sequence dialog box. How you get there is what differs from version to version.)