Vadim's Weblog

Never stop learning.

Russian Phonetic Keyboard

Posted by Vadim on January 10, 2010


If you just want the keyboard layout and don’t want to bother to read this post, here’s the download link.

My dad finally is using Windows 7.  He’s very happy with the new OS but he had a huge complain.  He wasn’t able to type Russian.

Of course Windows 7 has standard Russian keyboard layouts that looks like this:


If you not familiar with this layout, you’ll need to put stickers on every key to know where each letter is.  What my dad needed is a phonetic Russian keyboard where Russian letters correspond more or less to English ones.  For some reason I couldn’t find a free phonetic Russian keyboard layout that will work nice on Windows 7.

In my search I got across the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.  I was surprised how easy to create your own layout with this tool.  It’s a little bit tedious but very easy.

This is the keyboard that my dad and I are currently using:


If you are in need of free Phonetic Russian Keyboard, feel free to Download it.

Instruction to download and install Phonetic Russian Keyboard:

  1. Download file from here.
  2. Unzip the file to any temporary directory of your choosing
  3. Double click on setup.exe.  If your UAC is enable, you will need click on Yes button to allow the application to be installed.

Installation should be very fast.  When it’s done, you should see following dialog:


It should work with any current version of your Windows OS.  I tested it on Windows XP 32-bit, Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit.

Now you can start typing Russian.  To switch between languages you can use Alt + Shift keys on your keyboard or click on the language letters in your task bar and select the language you want.


You need to realize when you change a language you change it only for application that currently is active.  For example let assume that you have two application open: MS Word and FireFox.  If you switch to Russian when FireFox has focus, you will be able to type Russian only in FireFox, in MS Word you still will type English.

In case you are not happy with this keyboard layout, you can easily remove it like you would uninstall any Windows application form Uninstall or change program window.



60 Responses to “Russian Phonetic Keyboard”

  1. morhetz said

    I’ve tried such kind of phonetic layout, but found it too awkward cause of some mismatched letters (“Q” -> “Я”, etc). So i prefer to bind such letters to paired russian + AltGr. E.g: “Я” -> “A” + AltGr, “Ю” -> “U” + AltGr, “Ш” -> “S” + AltGr, “Ж” -> “Z” + AltGr, etc.

  2. Boris said

    Nice one!!! Thanks.
    Where is such signs like :,;,” and etc?

    • Vadim said

      Boris, you’d have to switch to English in order to type ;:”‘ characters. I always open to suggestions. Tell me where would you put these characters on Russian layout?

  3. Aaron Bean said

    Thank you so much for this! I’m a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan, just bought a new computer, and I was dying hunting and pecking the Russian standard layout. You made my life a little easier.

  4. Oleg said

    Vadim, Thanks a bunch!!!


  5. tomas said

    thanx mate, really helped and was looking for it for a long while! appreciate!

  6. Igor said

    Just installed it and does not work – I go into MS Word and types like it used to. Can you tell me why?

    • Vadim said

      Did you switch to Russian keyboard layout? In your task bar you should see letters for your current language (For English it’s ‘EN’). You can click on two letters abbreviation and switch to ‘RU’ for Russian. You also can try by pressing Alt-Shift on your keyboard to toggle between two or more languages (in case you have more than two languages installed).

      Hope it helps.

  7. Igor said

    I guess I was not clear – I installed and when I switch, it types russian letters, but not phonetically according to your layout.

  8. Igor said

    I got it to work – when I was pressing alt-shift, it was switching to Ru layout, but when I actually clicked on settings, Ru phonetic was there as an option that I switched to. works great. Thank you

  9. Agne said

    Hello! I have a good news. The phonetic russian keyboard now are available in iPhones and iPod touch. It is realy great supplement if you want to write russian with standart englich keyboard.

  10. Paul said

    Agne, could you please provide more details?

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  12. Алик said

    Классно! Я изпользую твою програму что бы напечатать это!

  13. Zeev said

    I am used to write Russian using Its distinguishing feature is that one can use two-letter combinations; say, “SH” for “Ш” etc. Is this possibe using the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator? Any programs known which would allow this?

    • Andrei said

      yes is possible to do this in MKLC, this feature is called Dead Keys, and you can do eg “SH” for “Ш” , and also I use for a long time a small program called Letter Zu. Try it ;)

  14. Sandra said

    Дорогой Вадим: This keyboard is perfect, большое вам спасибо!! There are some phonetic layouts that I don’t like as well – this layout is what I had on my old computer. I was dreading getting the new one set up – until I saw your weblog.

  15. Olga said

    I just installed it and it works,thanks!

  16. Vadim said

    You also can use It has Phonetic layout and no need to install any program at all.

  17. pv said

    thanks…sposibo vadim!

  18. Anonymous said

    Thank you Vadim, great job! Very useful app!

  19. Alex said


  20. Andrei said

    Worked as soon as i installed it all i had to do is change from EN to RU in the task bar, Thank you very much.

  21. Гриша said

    Спасибо! Очень чорошо!

  22. Emma said

    Hi Вадим,

    thanks a lot for this program, now I can type phonetically in my favorite language, Наконец-то!

  23. Anonymous said

    how do you spell “life” in Russian? the letter “Zh” for zhizn’????

  24. Thank you. I have been in need of a phonetic keyboard for so long!!! <3!!!! Спасибо большое!!!

  25. Abhishek said

    Thanks a lot. I am learning Russian language and this keyboard is great. Must have.

  26. Mike said

    Thank you so much. I’m making a very painful transition for Mac to Windows. You really helped my out

  27. Anonymous said

    The download link to does not work anymore. It would be great to have this program available.

  28. kristina said

    Not sure what is going on.. I have a windows 2010 version on my computer. I had a phonetic keyboard installed on my older windows version and now whatever I do, I get a message that I do not have access to this file when I am trying to download it. Something is messing with the proccess. I have a regular Russian keyboard installed now, but I need phonetic as the letters on my physical keyboard correspond to the phonetic one… need this sorted really bad..

    • Vadim said

      Kristina, I assume that by Windows 2010 you mean Windows 7. Phonetic keyboard works just fine on Windows 7. I store the installation files on my google drive and I just ask some one test it for me and it worked fine for that person.

      It’s probably confusing because the download page shows you a lot of file. Try to follow these steps exactly:
      1. Press on download link.
      2. Select ‘File’ from the menu above and then click on ‘Download’ option. You also can simply press Ctrl+S on your keyboard.
      3. After Russian Phonetic is downloaded, unzip the file and run setup.exe.
      4. Follow instructions on the screen.

      Good luck

  29. kristina said

    Dear Vadim, thanks for your response. Yes, Windos 7, correct. The thing is, the steps are quite straightfoward. The zip will not download. It gets stuck right before it starts downloading the actual zip.
    I guess there might be something that is blocking it on my computer. I will have to talk our IT team at the company.
    Thanks so much for your response though!

  30. Svetlana said

    Dear Vadim,

    what should I do to create from the File in Windows 8.

  31. Vagrant said

    Vadim, any chances to have Windows 8 version?

    • Vadim said

      Vargant, I’m still on Windows 7. I run Windows 8 only on my VM image. I think it’s the time to upgrade to Win 8. I’ll try to find time to create Win 8 version.

      • pavelsf said

        People reported that layouts made with MSKLC 1.4 work just fine under Windows 8, that is your layout can be normally installed by running its setup.exe under Windows 8.
        The only thing that will not work (but it’s not related to typing) is a “Preview” –
        like one in Windows 7 Control Panel when you place a cursor on your layout and click on “Properties”, you’d see an image of the layout. This does not work in Windows 8 for such custom made layouts.

  32. Oksana said

    Hello Vadim, did you create that phonetic keyboard for windows 8, I have windows surface RT tablet, is possible to downloads there. Thank you.

  33. Anonymous said

    Thanks a lot!!! exactly the layout that I wanted , it is the same as in my phoenetic keyboard in my macintosh :))))

  34. pavelsf said

    Vadim, as today’s comment says, ” it is the same as in my phonetic keyboard in my macintosh”

    I always wanted to learn what Mac has exactly as Russian phonetic and because your layout’s image above does not show the symbols above the digits (when Shift is pressed), I decided to install your layout and see what the symbols are above the digits when the mode is “RU” assuming that Mac has the same assignment

    To see the assignment I called Windows 7 on-screen keyboard (Start/Run – osk) or I could’ve just typed that row (could also use “Properties” in Control Panel but it does not show the symbols above the digits)

    And realized that the layout is very different from one pictured above on this page, please check!

    One pictured on this page is a well-known so called “Student” layout (by AATSEEL) while installed layout
    “Russian Phonetic Keyboard Vadim Kreinin”
    is different:
    – top left is ‘Щ’
    – differs after zero
    – differs after ‘P’
    – differs after ‘L’

    Is it a wrong image was captured while in MSKLC 1.4?

  35. Larissa Vasilyevna said

    I am not knowledgeable with computers. I just got Win7. Your download Google doc page confused me. I am a 63 year old Russian woman, in USA 20 years. Can you tell me which files to download and in what sequence. I need step by step how to download and use the phonetic Keyboard. I thank you in advance for your help.

    While still using XP, I was so happy with my fbruss setup. Vadim, you can explain to me in Russian or English. Maybe in English, the steps might be useful to more people. Thanks for the work you did in your design.

    • pavelsf said

      Larissa, you can find step-by-step instructions here:

    • Vadim said

      You need to download all the files. I agree with you that it’s not obvious how to download because Google Drive shows files individually when it’s actually just one zip file.

      When you are in the Google Doc page just press Ctrl-S or click on “File” menu option in upper top corner and then select “Download”. It should download “Russian Phonetic” file.

      Hope it helps.

  36. vidas said

    Ne nado izobritat velosiped.Etot alfabet klaviatury uže davno suščestvujet nado ne polenitsia painteresovatsia u sosedej.

  37. Derek Colover said

    How to you create a ж, when you get ‘?

  38. Sasha said

    It is super, thank you!!!

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