Microsoft Office applications are one of the most popular apps for documentation purposes. Sometimes, you have multiple users using different native languages on the same computer. They may prepare documents or presentation or using Outlook. Although people type in English, many feel convenient to have the menu items displayed in their native language. Fortunately, Microsoft Office allows you to change display language for this purpose.
Display and Input Languages in Microsoft Office
Display language is the one you see in all app menu items and text display of your system. Other than the display language, there is an app input language which is the one you use for typing text in an app. However, Windows display language and Office languages are different and work independently. This is a big advantage especially when you have purchased laptop from countries like China with Chinese Windows version. Though you cannot change the Windows system language from Chinese to English, you can still change Office apps display and editing language to English.
How to Change Display Language in Microsoft Office?
The process has three steps, you can ignore the second step if you have an existing Office language pack installed.
- Check available Office language packs
- Install additional language
- Change display and proofing language
You can check and update the display language using any of the Office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook. The changes in one application will affect all Office applications installed on your computer. In this article, Microsoft Word app is used for explaining how to change the language.
Step 1 – Check Available Office Language Packs
- Launch Microsoft Word and open a blank document.
- Go to “File” menu and choose “Options”.
- Click on the “Language” tab to view available languages for your Office installation.
- Alternatively, go to “Review > Language” and select “Language Preferences…”.
The “Language” section has three parts:
Choose Editing Language
This is a language used for typing with keyboard and you have to add necessary keyboard input method in Windows for using the language in Office applications. In addition, you have to check the language has installation package for proofing spelling and grammar mistakes. Office allows you to add a new language in this section directly by selecting from the dropdown that shows “Add additional editing language”. However, it will just add the language to the list and show “Not Enabled” and “Not Installed”. You have to install Office language as explained in step 2 and add keyboard layout / input method in Windows as explained in this article. After that you will see the “Keyboard Layout” column shows “Enabled” and “Proofing (Spelling, Grammar…)” column shows “Installed”.
You can also check the box “Let me know when I should download additional proofing tools” option. This will allow Office to remind you when you process documents in different languages.
You can toggle the input language in apps using language bar or “Windows Key + Space” keyboard shortcut.
Change Display and Help Language
This is the display language affecting menu and other relevant text items when you open Office applications. As you can see in the below screenshot, it is possible in Office to match the display language as Windows operating system language. In addition, you can make the display language as default for help language. This gives lot of flexibility in choosing the language for different display purposes.
View All Installed Languages
This section shows a list of available display languages for each Office application.
Check whether you have a required language pack installed and showing under all three sections. If you only want to change the display language, it is sufficient to have the language listed under “Choose Display and Help Languages” section. If you have a language pack installed then skip step 2 and move on to step 3.
Step 2 – Install Office Language Pack
If you do not have the language listed, you have to download and install the required language. Again, remember that this is Office language and different from Windows display language.
- Open official Microsoft Office page for language accessory pack.
- Scroll down to “Install the language accessory pack” section.
- Go to the Office version 2013, 2016, 2019 or Office 2021, Microsoft 365 subscription tab as per your Office product version.
- Select the language from the dropdown and check under “Description” column. It should show the pack details whether the language includes display, help and proofing options. Not all languages will have all the options, for example below is an example showing only display and proofing are available. The “Download Instructions” explains further details like read the documentation after installation.
- After choosing the language, click on “Download (64-bit)” link. This is for the computers with 64-bit processor as 32-bit is obsolete and all modern desktops and laptops use 64-bit processors. If you are not sure about your processor type, check this article to find whether you have 32-bit or 64-bit.
- It may take some time for the file to download. Depending upon the browser, you can either download the file to your computer or run directly without downloading.
- If you have downloaded the file, start the installation process by double clicking on the “OfficeSetup.exe” file from your downloads folder.
Step 3 – Change Display Language in Office Apps
After successful installation of the language pack, launch any Office application and go to “File > Options > Language” section as explained in step 1.
- You should see the installed language under “Choose Display and Help Languages” section.
- Click on the language and click “Set as Default” button to make the language as default for your display or help.
- Alternatively, you can move the selected language up or down using the arrow buttons to change the priority. Office will use the priority from this list to decide which language to use for display and help. In the above screenshot example, Office will use Windows language as default then try German, English or Chinese. This is helpful when there I no sufficient help documents available in the default language.
Proofreading in Different Languages
Word app will underline each word in red when you view the documents with different language setup. For example, entire document will be underlined when you open Russian language with English display. In some cases, you may also need to use a single word or phrase in different language without showing grammar error. There is a quick fix to avoid this by switching editing language or ignoring grammar check only on that document.
- Open you document and click the language showing in the bottom status bar in Word.
- If you do not see the language in the status bar, go to “Review > Language” menu and select “Set Proofing Language…” option. You will see a small pop-up window to switch the language for that document.
- You have options to ignore spelling / grammar check, detect language automatically or change the default language.
I hope the above content helped you to understand how to change display, editing and proofing languages in Office applications. You can follow the same process for setting up right-to-left languages like Arabic in Word.
Sorry this does not work. Reason – the menu on display in all the office applications is in Chinese. How to select “Options”?
File is the first menu in the app (top right corner) and Options is the last item (on bottom left) in the backstage view.