Understanding the Microsoft Excel language settings isn't as easy as it used to be. In Office 2016 and earlier, it was a simple process with one primary language and the option to add different ones for proofreading functions, but in more recent versions, things are a little more complicated. However, you can still change the Excel language quickly when you understand the different parts of the settings. Most languages are automatically supported, but in some cases, you have to download the appropriate language pack.
Editing and Display Languages
In versions of Excel post-2016, such as Excel for Microsoft 365 and Excel 2019, the language settings are split into two sections. The display language is the language used on the ribbons and menus in Excel, while the editing or authoring language is used for the content you produce using the program. This works the same way in other Office programs, so you can use the instructions in this post to change the language for programs such as Word.
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There is also a language setting under "Proofing" for older versions of Excel, which essentially controls the languages used for the spelling and grammar checks built into the program (although this is more important for Word). In most cases, you want all of these languages to be the same, but the option to separate them is useful if you are producing spreadsheets and other documents in a language besides your native one.
Change Excel Language (After 2016)
If you want to change the language of your Microsoft Excel program for any version after Excel 2016, the process isn't difficult despite the two different settings to change. First, open Excel and go to "File" and then "Options." From there, choose the "Language" option to bring up the relevant page.
You are presented with lists of languages in two sections, one for "Office display language" and one for "Office authoring language and proofing." If the language you want to use is displayed in these sections already, you can select it and use the "Move Up" and "Move Down" options to adjust its position in your order of preference or choose "Set as Preferred." If not, choose the "Install additional display languages from Office.com" link under the list, choose your language, and select "Install" to go to the relevant page. There is also a corresponding option under the "Office authoring language and proofing" section.
Excel Language Settings (2016 or Earlier)
If you want to change your Office 2016 language to English or any other language, the process is the same as for older versions. First, open up the "File" menu and then choose "Excel Options" from the menu. Select either "Language" from the left side of the window that appears or "Language Settings" from the "Popular" section, depending on your software version.
This brings up the Microsoft Office Language Settings window, which has a list of available languages on the left and the enabled ones on the right. To add a language, highlight the relevant option from the list on the left and then select "Add" to move it onto the list on the right. You can also remove a language if you want. Ensure your "Primary editing language" matches this selection unless you want to edit in a different language than Excel's interface.
Accept your changes and then go to the "Proofing" section from "Excel Options." You can change the "Dictionary language" using the option here, by choosing the language you want from the drop-down menu. Choose "OK" to confirm your changes.