Sometimes, there's a need to work in a different language. Often, the driving factor is to support users in different locales. So, how do you configure the language in for your favourite Office 365 apps? Turns out the answer is not so simple.
In my tests, I have narrowed down the language configuration to four areas:
- Operating System - this is often fixed based on the language of the OS you have installed
- Browser - defaults to the operating system language, but can be changed
- Office 365 - set through My Account settings (https://portal.office.com/account/#settings)
- Delve - set within the Delve profile (https://XXXXX-my.sharepoint.com//_layouts/15/editprofile.aspx?UserSettingsProvider=XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX)
To see where things are set, I have configured my environment as follows:
- Operating System - English
- Browser - Spanish
- Office 365 - Hebrew
- Delve - German
While not exhaustive, I have summarized my findings of which configuration sets the language for which app below.
|SharePoint Site Collections (Default)||Yes||Yes|
|SharePoint sub sites (default)||Yes||Yes|
|Excel Online Intro Page||Yes|
|Excel Online Workbook||Yes|
|Word Online Intro Page||Yes|
|Word Online Document||Yes|
|OneNote Online Intro Page||Yes|
|OneNote Online Document||Yes|
|OneDrive for Business||Yes|
There are a few considerations to mention around the language selection that may impact how you manage languages for your needs.
SharePoint Site Languages
When you create a new site collection, by default, no languages are selected and the site defaults to the Operating System language. However, when a sub site is created, all languages are by default selected.
In some cases, setting more than one configuration can impact the language in which an app is displayed. For SharePoint-based apps (SharePoint sites, Groups, OneDrive for Business), the language is controlled by two settings - Office 365 and Delve. In the case, where both are set, these apps will take the Delve language configuration. When not set, the apps will revert to the Office 365 language. So, in my case, the Site Collections were showing up in English (operating system language), while the sub sites were showing up in German (Delve language). Once I enabled the alternate languages in the site collections, then those sites also appeared in German.
Some settings don't take effect immediately. In my test, it took as long as 15-20 minutes in some cases to see these changes. So, when you're making changes and want to see if it works, give it some time.
The order in which you set the language also matters. In my testing, when setting the Office 365 language after the Delve language, I noticed that the Delve language is overwritten by the Office 365 language.
In some apps, I noticed that different language configurations were impacting the apps at once. In the case of Sway, the browser setting was taking over the general UI, while some of the default content was appearing using the Office 365 language.