(I'm new to Linux and to Ubuntu) In Settings I can choose a "locale" which then determines how dates, numbers etc. are formatted. But there is no locale corresponding to what I need, and I have found no simple ways of setting formats independently of a locale pack. What I would like is all applications to use:

language = English UK

keyboard = Swiss French

date = YYYY-MM-DD (e.g. 2020-12-25)

time = HH:MM:SS (e.g. 17:45:03)

currency = €

units = metric

number thousands separator = "'" and decimal = "." (e.g. 12'345'678.99 )

first day of the week = Monday

This should be easy. What am I missing? All the answers possibly related to this that I have found do not address a complete or easy solution. I.e. there seems no simple way to set the formats independently of each other.

  • Many of the settings are available in the LC_* environment variables. See env | grep -E '^LC_' and man locale.
    – waltinator
    Dec 12, 2020 at 18:53
  • The bottom half of man locale contains examples of how to customize your locale settings.
    – user535733
    Dec 12, 2020 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


The keyboard layout is unrelated to the locale.

Besides that, it's correct that Ubuntu's GUI doesn't offer you such a fine tuned personalization. To start with you can choose:

  • Language: English (United Kingdom)

  • Formats: Switzerland (French)

Then, for the final adjustments, open the ~/.profile file for editing and add these lines:


You need to ensure that en_DK.UTF-8 and fr_FR.UTF-8 have been generated on your system:

$ locale -a | grep -E 'en_DK|fr_FR'
  • Thanks Gunnar. It helped, but LibreOffice still does it wrong. Dec 13, 2020 at 16:36
  • After installing Danish and French then restarting, it helped, but LibreOffice still does it wrong. Is Ubuntu not supposed to be user-friendly? These settings are easy to do in MacOS (although there was a period from 2006 to 2009 when Apple too thought that just a country pack would be enough). I live in France near the Swiss border, work in English French and Dutch. Like many of my colleagues at CERN I have no "country". Dec 13, 2020 at 16:43
  • @RobertCailliau: LibreOffice has probably its own way to control some of the aspects you mentioned in your question. If that is hard to figure out, you may want to ask a new question specifically about LibreOffice. Otherwise, Ask Ubuntu is not intended for general design discussions. If you want to bring up this topic with the Ubuntu developers, Ubuntu Community Hub is a possibility. Dec 13, 2020 at 17:01
  • Gunnar: understood. I'll bring it up with developers. It's more of a wilderness than I had hoped for. Dec 13, 2020 at 18:26
  • @RobertCailliau: It's worth mentioning that Kubuntu has a GUI which allows the users to control the various locale categories separately. But the Kubuntu/KDE solution is not perfect either; it suffers from other issues. Dec 13, 2020 at 19:45

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