Excel Basics:
Regional Settings

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
Did you want Working with Numbers: 2007,2010,2013,2016  or españolIcon: Change web

Your computer must be told where it is in the world in order to use the local settings for some things, like the time, language,  measurement system, and currency.

These settings are hidden away in the Regional Settings of the Control Panel. 

These lessons use English (United States) settings. Your instructor may want you to use your local numbering and currency system. That could get a little confusing if you use yen or pounds or francs where I use dollars! Things may not wrap the way you expected. The data may not fit in the spaces that the directions create. Don't let it ruin your day! Just remember that using different Regional Settings will make your documents a little different from mine. You can learn to make adjustments. Really!

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Numbers

Before you start...

Project 1: Excel IntroTo subtopics

Project 2: Excel Basics  
Getting Started Arrow to subtopics
      Icon - FootprintRegional Settings
      Icon - FootprintAppearance
      Icon - FootprintPage
      Icon - FootprintMargins
      Icon - FootprintHeader/Footer
      Icon - FootprintSheet
      Icon - FootprintOptions
      Icon - FootprintEnter/Edit/Clear Popup Table
    ArrangeTo subtopics
    AutoFillTo subtopics
    FinishTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: Format & ArrangeTo subtopics

Project 4: Groups & FormulasTo subtopics

Project 5: DesignTo subtopics


Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Regional Settings

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to change what number system and currency Windows uses

Start with: Desktop

  1. Regional SettingsMenu - Control PanelIcon: Win98On the Start menu select:

     Settings  |  Control Panel 
    and in the Control Panel double-click on the Regional Settings icon.

    Icon: WinXP On the Start menu select:
     Control Panel  | Regional and Language Options 

     Menu: Start | Control Panel | Regional and Language Options (WinXP)

    Icon: Regional and Language Options (WinXP)Icon: TroubleControl Panel does not show a menu: Click on the item Control Panel to open it and then double click the Regional and Language Options icon.

    A dialog opens where you can change settings for things that can vary in different countries: Number, Currency, Time, Date.

    Dialog: Regional Settings (Win98)

    Icon: Win98Dialog in Win98


    Dialog: Regional and Language Options (WinXP)

    Icon: WinXP Dialog in WinXP

    Icon: Win98 Choosing a language and country on the drop list makes changes on the other four tabs (Number, Currency, Time, Date. Sometimes you might want to use those tabs to make some changes separately.

    In older versions of Windows you could click on the map to pick your country, but not any more. 

    Icon: WinXP In WinXP the the Regional Options tab lets you choose a language from a drop list. The effects are shown in the Samples on the tab. You can use the Customize button to get to separate tabs for Number, Currency, Time, and Date if you want to make only certain changes.

  2. Click on each of the tabs and see what you can change and what the choices are. 
    Icon: WinXP Click also on the Customize button and inspect the choices on all the tabs of that dialog.

    Excel uses the measurement system specified in this dialog for the page margins (about the only thing that is truly measured in Excel). The US system is "inches" but most of the rest of the world uses the metric system.

  3. On the Regional Settings/Regional Options tab, choose English (United States) from the drop list. You automatically set values for Number, Currency, Time, and Date to the normal usage in the United States. These are the settings that the exercises use. If your country uses different settings, your instructor may wish to adapt the directions. 
  4. If you did not make any changes, click on the Cancel button.
  5. If you made changes, click on the Apply button.
    Icon: Win98If you changed the Regional Setting, a dialog appears that tells you to restart the computer.  In fact, Excel can use these settings even if you do not restart at this time. You may choose to restart or not, whichever you wish. If you do not restart and your computer crashes or locks up before you restart, the new Regional Settings will be lost.

    If you only made changes on one of the other tabs, you may not get the prompt to restart the computer at all. 

    Tip Excel can use your new values right away, even if it was open when you made the change. Nice!


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Last updated: 02 May 2012