Presently the date is showing as mmm dd hh:mm:ss. Is there any way that I can change it to as per my liking. For example : dd mmm, hh:mm:ss.

  • Look at this link.
    – karthick87
    May 20, 2011 at 7:50
  • Nothing seems to have changed. I tried manually inserting the coded instruction as well as dconf editor. The date still shows up as Mon Apr 21, 21:24 in the upper right corner of the desktop and same in Thunderbird!
    – user272122
    Apr 21, 2014 at 19:26
  • I am surprised there is no simpler way of doing this like a small application added to System Settings where one can chose the date format with a click rather than having to go through such lengths! By the time I've read through the solution, I would have almost forgotten what my difficulty was in the first place! Apr 21, 2014 at 23:45
  • In 14.04, this answer worked for me: askubuntu.com/questions/237941/…
    – mcaleaa
    Jan 14, 2015 at 10:20

2 Answers 2


Terminal method

  • First you need to tell the indicator to use a custom format. To do so, run this from a gnome-terminal:

    gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.datetime time-format "'custom'"
  • Then you need to tell the indicator which format to use. This has to be done in a format understood by the strftime function. You can look it up here.

    For example, if you want the date/time to look like this: Fri, 20. May 08:25, the format string for it would be %a, %d. %h %H:%M. Now let's set it:

    gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.datetime custom-time-format "'%a, %d. %h  %H:%M'"

GUI method

You can also set those keys using a GUI called dconf-editor. It's part of the package dconf-tools, which you'd need to install first by running sudo apt-get install dconf-tools. Then open dconf-editor, navigate to com.canonical.indicator.datetime, and set the two keys.

screenshot of <code>dconf-editor</code> at <code>com.canonical.indicator.datetime</code> schema

  • Worked great for me. I was just looking for this solution. Many many thanks htorque.
    – Arindom
    May 20, 2011 at 12:59
  • 1
    I'm running 11.10, and I don't see any settings in com.canonical.indicator.datetime; is anyone else experiencing this? Nov 10, 2011 at 3:02
  • @MikePartridge Nope, I'm still having the key and can set the date like described. Make sure you have the package indicator-datetime installed.
    – htorque
    Nov 10, 2011 at 5:34
  • 3
    This answer still works for 16.04. I'd vote it again if I could.
    – amotzg
    Aug 16, 2016 at 6:18
  • 1
    this dconf setting no longer exists in 18.04
    – krock
    Jan 12, 2019 at 13:04

Ubuntu 14.04. I don't want to install dconf-editor.

I just tried the following in a terminal:

$ gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.datetime custom-time-format "'%a %Y%m%d-%H%M%S'"

As you can see, there are no error messages or anything.

I then log out and log back in, but there has been no change to my clock display, which is currently %a %b %e %Y %T.

  • 1
    It's fixed now. They key to success is: gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.datetime time-format "'custom'" followed immediately by gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.datetime custom-time-format "'%a %Y%m%d-%H%M%S' Mar 28, 2015 at 3:28
  • 1
    This should be a comment and not an answer. An answer should fully answer the question. That is why you can comment on questions as well as being able to post an answer.
    – user364819
    May 3, 2017 at 20:17
  • 1
    The accepted answer already has all the info from your answer and your comment.
    – wjandrea
    May 4, 2017 at 19:21

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.