Microsoft Programs in Polish

Both Windows and Office come in a variety of languages.

Windows in Polish provides Polish menus in Windows Explorer (shown), Internet Explorer, Control Panel, and Polish text in Help for these programs. Office in Polish provides Polish-language menus, dialogs and Help text in the core Office applications (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook) and most add-ons (Publisher, FrontPage).

Using Windows in one language and Office in another results in mixed languages on screen in some cases. For example, with English Windows and Polish Office, if you call up Word Help, the Help menu will be in English (it comes from Windows) but the Help text will be in Polish.

There are two ways to obtain Polish-Language programs:

1. MultiLanguage Packs, add-ons to the English versions of Windows and Office. The Windows Language Packs allow switching the Windows interface language (in some cases) to any one of however many language packs are installed, using a dialog (right) in Regional and Language Options of Control Panel. The new language takes effect when the user logs out and logs back in -- a restart is not necessary.

The Office Language Packs are used similarly, to set the interface and help language for Office applications, separately from the language of the operating system.

For Vista Ultimate and Enterprise Editions (the latter is only available to businesses in volume purchase agreements), Windows MultiLanguage User Interface (MUI) packs are available free of charge, and multiple languages may be installed on a system. Each translates almost all of the operating system interface.

For other editions of Vista, Language Interface Packs (LIP) are available, but only one language may be installed on a machine. Thus, if a Polish LIP is installed, English will no longer be available. A LIP translates only the most-used portions of the interface.

For Office 2007, individual language packs may be purchased from Microsoft here. Multiple language packs may be installed. They provide spelling and grammar checking, auto-correction, as well as the option to display menus, dialogs and help in the given language.

Unfortunately, prior to Windows Vista and Office 2007, Language Packs were not a retail product, and were available only on a volume purchase agreement (minimum 5 copies). Thus, they are practical only for businesses, not individual home users.

2. Polish-only (called localized) versions of Windows (available since Windows 95) and Office (available since Office 97). A machine can support only one single-language version of the operating system or Office, so if you install the Polish versions, English will not be available.

Polish-only programs are not available in North America, but can be purchased from stores in Poland. Here are some links to Internet stores: