Choose a Different Default Language in Outlook Mail

Outlook Mail supports many different languages and dialects

Stack of foreign language books
Windows Live Hotmail speaks a number of languages including Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese. Jupiterimages / Getty Images

Microsoft's web-based email application is Outlook Mail, and it offers support for many other languages. If your preferred language is not English, you can easily change the application's default language.

Outlook Mail (as well as many of Microsoft's other applications) offers robust language support. Besides English, dozens of additional languages are supported, including German, Spanish, Filipino, French, Japanese, Arabic, Portuguese. The list is quite long, and among major languages, you will find many regional variations to pick from—even English variations for Canada, Australia, South Africa, the Philippines, the UK, and others.

How to Change the Regional Language in Outlook Mail

To change the default language on Outlook.com, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings by clicking the gear icon in the upper right of the Outlook Mail menu.

  2. Click Options in the Settings menu. This will open the Options menu with shortcuts on the left side of the window.

  3. Click General to open a list of general settings options.

  4. Click Region and time zone under General. This opens the region and time zone settings options menu to the right.

  5. Click the drop-down menu under Language to display all of the language options available, scrolling down for a full list.

  6. Click your language choice. A checkbox will appear to rename default folders so their names match the specified language. This box is checked by default; uncheck it if you do not wish to rename these folders using the new language choice.

  7. Click Save at the top of the region and time zone settings menu.

Once saved, Outlook.com will automatically reload with your new language settings.

How to Change Time Zone, Time and Date Format in Outlook Mail

The region and time zone settings menu also allows you to change the format in which times and dates are displayed, as well as your current time zone. To makes these changes, click the corresponding drop-down menu and select the new setting you want. 

Remember to click Save at the top.

Now your Outlook Mail is fully localized!

Changing Back to English in Outlook Mail

Perhaps you were experimenting with different languages in Outlook Mail, switched to a new language you don't know, and now you want to go back to the one you know—but now all the menu and options names are unrecognizable!

Not to worry. The menu choices and interface elements may be in a new language, but their locations and how they function remain the same. So, you can reverse course and repeat the steps you followed above to find your way back.

The Settings menu is still located in the same location, under the familiar gear icon in the top right of the Outlook Mail menu. Options are in the same place, too, at the bottom of that Settings menu. This will open the Options menu to the left, just as before. ​

The General settings are still in the first position, and under it, the Region and time zone choice is the last one on the list. Click on it and you're back where you can switch your language again.

Be sure to click Save—still located in the same place at the top of the region and time zone settings—to lock in your language choice and reload Outlook.com.

Other Names for Outlook Mail

In the past, the email services Microsoft has offered have been called Hotmail, MSN Hotmail, Windows Live Mail. All of these have evolved into the latest email application Outlook Mail that can be found on the web at Outlook.com.