Introduction to Windows SharePoint Services in international environments

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provides a culture-specific experience that enables site owners to create sites in a specific language and configure the regional settings that are appropriate for those sites. Note that the language that the site uses is determined only during site creation and cannot be changed at a later date. If a server administrator has installed one or more language packs on the server, the site owner or site collection administrator can choose which language to use for the new site, based on the language packs that are currently installed.

About regional settings

The regional settings for the top-level site of a site collection are automatically set based on the default language of the site collection. When a subsite is created, the regional settings that are set on the parent site are propagated to the subsite. Site collection administrators can choose to change the regional settings of the top-level site. As a site owner, you can choose to use the regional settings that are inherited from the parent site or specify different regional settings for any subsite.


  • Regional settings that are changed on a particular parent site are not propagated to existing subsites. This is because subsites receive the regional settings that are configured on the parent site only when the subsite is created.

  • Regional settings for subsites that are created in a different user interface (UI) language than their parent site do not use the parent site's regional settings for Locale and Sort Order. Instead, the default regional settings for the UI language that was selected when the subsite was created are used. Other settings are inherited from the parent site.

Individual users can either use the default regional settings that are set on a specific site or set their own regional settings. This ability makes it easier for users who are in different countries or regions to collaborate on documents that are in the same SharePoint site, regardless of what region the user is working from. The following table describes the regional settings that are available for all sites and shows which settings can be configured by site owners and which ones can be configured by individual users.



Site level

Personal level

Follow Web Settings

Always uses the default regional settings set by the site owner.




Controls how locale-specific information, such as numbers, dates, time, and calendar settings, are displayed on the site. The default values for all of the other regional settings (listed below) are based on the locale that you choose. When you change the locale setting for a site, all other regional settings are set to the default settings for the new locale. After selecting the locale you want, you can then change these other settings as you want.



Sort Order

Controls the sort orders used for lists and libraries.



Time Zone

Controls the time zone for the Web site.

Note: Server administrators and site collection administrators can also specify a default time zone for all sites in a Web application. This site-level setting overrides the setting at the Web application level.



Set Your Calendar

Specifies the type of calendar you want as your primary calendar. You can also choose whether to display the week of the year, where 1 represents the first week of the year and 52 represents the last week of the year.



Enable An Alternate Calendar

Enables the settings of an optional calendar to be added to the calendar that you set for your SharePoint site.



Define Your Work Week

Specifies which days of the week make up your work week, the first day of each work week, and the first week of the year. You can also specify the start and end time of work days.



Time Format

Specifies whether to display the time in 12-hour or 24-hour format.

Note: Depending on what locale you selected, you may be able to select only the 24-hour time format.



Note: As shown in the previous table, users can set their personal preferences for all regional settings except the sort order.

When a user requests a page, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 first attempts to load the regional settings that were specified by the user. If the regional settings are unavailable, the site level settings that were specified by the site owner are used. These regional settings are then used to format the locale-sensitive data on the page.

Top of Page

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!