How to Change the Language in Microsoft Excel

By Aaron Parson

Although you can type in any language in an Excel 2013 workbook, the program itself assumes you're writing and reading in English, and uses English both for features such as spell checking and in the menus and dialog boxes. To change to a new language, download the language interface pack and activate it in Excel.

Step 1

Visit Microsoft's Office language interface pack Web page (link in Resources) and download a pack for the language you want. Save your work and close any open Office programs, and then run the download to install the language.

Step 2

Open Excel, open the "File" menu and click "Options."

Step 3

Switch to the "Language" tab and pick the new language in the Choose Editing Languages box. Press "Set as Default" and then click "Yes" to acknowledge the warning that some of your settings might change. Do not quit and restart Excel yet.

Step 4

Select the new language in both the Display Language and Help Language boxes and press the "Set as Default" button under each.

Step 5

Click "OK," and then click "OK" on the message about restarting Office. Save any open work and close all Office programs.

Step 6

Reopen Excel to begin working in the new language.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even if Microsoft doesn't offer a language interface pack for the language you want, it might have a ScreenTip language pack. ScreenTips display translated pop-ups when you hold your cursor over a menu item. Download a new ScreenTip language from Microsoft's site (link in Resources) and install it and set it as the default. To change the ScreenTip language later, open the language options and select from the "Set Your ScreenTip Language" menu.
  • If you only want to use proofing tools in another language without changing Excel's display language, open the language options, pick from the "Add Additional Editing Languages" drop-down list and press "Add." If the new language displays "Not Installed" in the Proofing column, download the missing language's tools from Microsoft's website (link in Resources).
  • If Excel displays "Not Enabled" in the Keyboard Layout column for a language, click on "Not Enabled" to open the Windows Language Control Panel and add a new language to Windows. This step is only necessary for typing in new languages -- not to change Excel's interface language -- and only for those that use a different alphabet than your current language.
  • To help undo a language change if you can't read the menus, remember that the menu options don't change positions in other languages: Open the far left menu on the Ribbon for "File," click the bottom button for "Options" and choose the fifth tab to reach "Language."