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Regional Settings in SharePoint 2007

Global companies use different date formats depending on the employee’s home office location. SharePoint 2007 provides two methods of setting regional settings: Global and Local. Contrary to popular belief, SharePoint does not use the server regional settings. In fact, SharePoint 2007 provides fewer options than Windows 2003 and Windows XP. For example, the format DD-MMM-YYYY is not supported. A good example of this format would be 5-Feb-2007. Leaving this out does not seem to be a big deal. However, to Americans, 9-11-2001 is a major date in our history. To Europeans and most of the world, that date is interpreted as November 9, 2001. The formats DD-MM-YYYY and MM-DD-YYYY are confusing. Back to SharePoint configuration.

When a site collection is created, the default regional setting is English (U.S). Configuring regional settings can be found in the site settings of each site. This includes the top level website. By default, regional settings on newly created child sites inherit from the parent site; but only on creation. If you do not change the regional setting in the top level site before creating child sites, you will have more than one site using the incorrect date format. Regional Settings contain more than date formatting, but that is my focus for this posting.

Site Level Settings

Fortunately, there is an action that allows you to reapply regional settings to child sites. Open Site Settings for the top level web site. The easiest way to confirm you are in the top level web site is to use the Manage Site Content and Structure page. This is found under Site Actions.

At the top node, select Settings | Site Settings.

This is the page to configure the available regional settings for this site. To apply the settings to all child sites as well, enable the checkbox – All sub-sites inherit these Regional Settings.

When you select OK, SharePoint will apply the settings.

Personal Regional Settings

For global companies, it is rare that a team site will be used by employees from a single country. You can override the site’s regional settings with your own regional settings. When you login to SharePoint, there is a Welcome control at the top of the page containing your name. Select the drop down, and choose My Settings.

Select My Regional Settings.

Configure your personal regional settings. It is important to uncheck the box – Always follow web settings. Disabling will allow your settings to override the site settings.

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