AMITIAE - Tuesday 28 October 2014
System Preferences in OS X 10.10, Yosemite: Language & Region
By Graham K. Rogers
The main section of the panel has a window to the left that displays a list of preferred languages used on the Mac. The languages shown will depend on the user's own previous selections. When the panel is first used in a new account, it will display languages and settings that depend on the user's location. The right side of the panel has a number of buttons and a checkbox used for fine-tuning settings for a specific account.
Main panel - LanguagesThe top language in the list is the display language. Macs can display menus in several languages and can input text in many more. If the Mac does not support the first language, the second language will be used.
In earlier versions of OS X, all the languages that were supported were in the display to the left side of the panel. The display on my Macs now only shows those languages I have specified. English is shown as the "Primary" language. Beneath that is Thai which was added with the 10.7.3 update: menus can be displayed in Thai if this is selected. A display language can be changed by dragging the required one to the top of the list and restarting the computer.
At the bottom of the panel on the left is a + button to add a language (the - is greyed out until a language is highlighted). The selection panel is in 2 sections. At the top 33 languages are listed. Below a grey line are several more although it is expected that these will only change the keyboard (see below).
Examples of the languages listed below the line are English (UK) and Deutsch (Schweiz). When any of these languages is highlighted, a yellow warning triangle appears and the text, "While some applications and web pages can use the selected language, it is not fully supported by OS X." English (UK) would be used with the Primary language English, while others may only be display options, for example there are keyboards for German, Swiss German and Austrian (See Keyboard Preferences).
Main panel - ButtonsThere are three buttons to the right of the main panel. An additional button (List sort order) is added when a second (or subsequent) language is used. These control the way dates and other options (such as currency) are displayed by the system:
Between the last two buttons (above) there is a checkbox for 24-hour time.
Below the settings is a display showing examples of the way information (dates times, numbers and currency) is to be displayed. These are fine-tuned by using the Advanced button at bottom right.
A final button at the bottom (center) of the panel takes a user directly to the Keyboard Preferences panel.
AdvancedThe Advanced panel opens a series of 3 panels that allow information display to be set to the user's requirements. The panels are General, Dates and Times.
When any setting is changed (e.g from Metric to US) a Restore Defaults button at bottom left becomes live. If there are no changes, or if the settings are returned to the original, the button is greyed out.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
For further information, e-mail to