How to change formats for dates, times, numbers and currencies on Mac

Change Formats in Language Region Mac

Has there been a time, whether for business or pleasure, that you wished you could use a different format for things on your Mac? It could be as simple as changing your default currency type or unit of measurement. Or, it could be more customized like using your preferred format for the date or time.

If you’ve been wondering how to make these adjustments and where to do it, we’re here to help. Here’s how to change formats for dates, times, numbers, and currencies on Mac.

Changing formats

Once you change the formats of these items, those changes will affect the displays in places like Finder windows and apps like Mail. If you simply want to change the time format in your menu bar, go to Apple icon > System Preferences > Date & Time.

Now, to get started, click the Apple icon from your menu bar and select System Preferences.

Choose Language & Region and then click the Advanced button.

Language and Region Advanced on Mac

Changing the date format

Click on the Dates tab and then take a look at the formats you’ve been using for short, medium, long, and full dates. You can change any or all of these and you have tons of flexibility.

For example, I had a boss who always wanted the date formatted as: full year, month, date, using all numbers. So, it had to be 2019/01/31. You could change the short date for this:

1) Drag the year to the front of the sequence and click the drop-down to select the full year.

2) Drag the month to the center and click the drop-down box for a leading zero.

3) Leave the date as-is and click the drop-down to choose its leading zero as well.

4) Click OK.

Change Date Format in Language Region Mac

Just make sure when you are moving the elements that you pay attention to the punctuation so that everything is displayed correctly between the slashes and commas.

For whichever element you decide to change, check out the drop-down box for the various options.

Changing the time format

Click on the Times tab and you’ll see formats, like with the dates, for short, medium, long, and full times. You can change these just as easily.

By clicking the drop-down boxes, you have options to use 12- or 24-hour time formats. You can also remove leading zeros if you like. And of course, you can change the way the time zone displays.

Say that you want to use a 24-hour time format with leading zeros for the short time and won’t need the AM/PM element.

1) Click the hour drop-down box and select 01-24.

2) Leave the minutes element as-is with its leading zero.

3) Select and click Delete to remove the AM element.

4) Click OK.

Change Time Format in Language Region Mac

Changing the number, currency, or measurement format

Click on the General tab and you’ll see the default formats for numbers, currency, and measurements.

  • Number separators: Maybe you don’t want a comma for your number Groupings or maybe you prefer a comma over a Decimal. Click those drop-down boxes to make your changes.
  • Currency: You can select the default currency from the enormous list in the drop-down box. And, you can set the Grouping and Decimal choices for the currency as well.
  • Measurement units: You can choose from Metric, US, or UK.

Click OK after you make any changes to save them.

Change Number Currency Format in Language Region Mac

If you make several changes that you want to revert, you can head back to this area and click the Restore Defaults button on the corresponding tab.

Wrapping it up

Making these types of simple changes on your Mac can make day-to-day tasks much easier. Are you going to change your formats now? Let us know which ones; dates, times, or whatever, you plan to change and why.

For additional tips and how-tos, for Mac or iOS, check out our tutorials section.