If you want to use your Mac in a different language, or you’re live in a different region, then you can change it in OS X. When you do, it’ll display everything in your preferred language, currency, date format, and more.

The language and region settings on OS X are pretty useful in an number of ways, Even if you have no intention of ever changing your language, there are some cool things you can do to your regional formats. Let’s take a look at how this is done.

Begin by opening the “Language & Region” pane in the System Preferences.

As it says, the Language & Region preferences let’s you control which language you will see in menus and dialogs, as well as the formats of dates, times, and currencies.

If you want to add a language, then click the “+” symbol at the bottom of the preferred languages panel.

Then, you can select to add a preferred language.

When we choose a second language, we’re immediately shown a dialog that lets us choose our primary language.

If you don’t change your preferred language when the system prompts you, then you can always click and drag the language into your desired order.

When you change your preferred language, you will need to restart your computer. For example, if we elected to change our language to French, everything will appear in French after we reboot.

Next, let’s talk about changing the region.

If we change the region to Greece, we see that the timezone and currency is automatically adjusted (note the text at the bottom).

If you were traveling to Africa, on the other hand, you see the date format and currency is adjusted again, this time using 24-hour time.

Now, open the advanced options, which can accessed by clicking the “Advanced” button in the lower-right corner of the Language & Region preference pane. The advanced options allow you to change items that pertain to your region settings without changing everything to a new region.

For example, let’s say you don’t want to change your region, but you want the date to appear as day/month/year instead of month/day/year.

To do this, you’d simply go to the applicable field, and drag the day in front of the month. When you’re finished, simply click the “OK” button in the lower-left corner.

Dragging elements is just one way to make changes, you can also click on the arrows next to each element.

So, let’s say we want to change our long date format from displaying the full name of the month to the shortened format. We click on the arrow next to “January” and would then pick the format style such as “Jan” or “J”.

Again, when you’re done making your changes, click the “OK” button.

Just remember, if you think you’ve messed something up and you can’t seem to fix it, you can always hit the “Restore Defaults” button in the lower-left corner.

Now, next time you want to set your default currency to yen or display the date like they do in England or use your system in Russian, you’ll be able to do so easily.

Profile Photo for Matt Klein Matt Klein
Matt Klein has nearly two decades of technical writing experience. He's covered Windows, Android, macOS, Microsoft Office, and everything in between. He's even written a book, The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 8.
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