Configuring Office 365 Preferred Language Settings


Office 365 empower organizations to use cloud based services for their business to ensure anytime anywhere access to corporate information. When you setup Office 365 tenant for an organization with offices in different regions then you’re also required to empower your end users to setup up their own preferred language settings in Office 365. For example, if you have a user in Japan then his preference will be to use Japanese language for his Office 365 portal instead of using English. In Office 365 you can set up language settings for users based on how you setup identities in Office 365. You can easily update language settings for users using PowerShell. Preferred language settings depends on how user identity is provisioned. If you have cloud based identities then you need to use Azure AD to modify the user account properties in Office 365. If you are using Azure AD Connect to sync on-premises active directory accounts with Office 365, then you have to update the settings in local active directory.

Configuring Office 365 Preferred Language Settings for Cloud Identities

Configuring Office 365 language settings for cloud based identities requires you to connect with Azure AD powershell. Perform the following steps to configure these settings.

  • Connect with Azure AD powershell using global admin credentials

C:\> Connect-MsolService

Configuring Office 365 Preferred Language Settings

  • Run the following cmdlet to configure the preferred language settings for user to Urdu

PS C:\> Set-MsolUser -UserPrincipalName -PreferredLanguage “ur-PK”

  • To verify the language settings for the user account, run the following PS cmdlet

PS C:\> Get-MsolUser -UserPrincipalName | fl PreferredLanguage

Configuring Office 365 Preferred Language Settings

Configuring Office 365 Preferred Language Settings for Synced Identities

When you are using synced identities with Office 365, you need to modify the on-premises user attribute in Active Directory to setup preferred language in Office 365. To modify the preferred language in Office 365 to Urdu for a user Phil, you need to set the “PreferredLanguage” attribute in user account properties in Active Directory. By default, this attribute does not contain any value and set to use English as default language.

  • To modify the individual user account properties, you can run the following PowerShell cmdlet.

Set-ADUser -Replace @{‘PreferredLanguage’=”ur-PK”}

  • To update the preferred language attribute in a specific OU, run the following cmdlet.

Get-ADUser SearchBase “OU=Test,OU=IT, DC=msexperttalk,DC=com” Filter * Properties PreferredLanguage | ForEach-Object {Set-ADUser $_.SAMAccountName –replace @{PreferredLanguage=“ur-PK”}}

  • To update the preferred language attribute of users in a specific domain, run the following cmdlet. Following cmdlet will set the attribute for those users who do not have any this attribute setup.

Set-AdServerSettings -RecipientViewRoot “”
#Change language to ur-PK for all users with a setting of NULL in the domain
Get-ADUser -SearchBase “DC=msexperttalk,DC=com” -Filter * -Properties PreferredLanguage | where {$_.PreferredLanguage -eq $null} | Select SAMAccountName | ForEach-Object {Set-ADUser $_.SAMAccountName –replace @{PreferredLanguage=”ur-PK”}}

Preferred Language attribute settings will update the language for the following in Office 365.

  • Office 365 Default Landing page
  • General settings and menu
  • Office 365 Management portal
  • Video
  • Groups
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Delve
  • Office Online
  • Planner

To review a complete list of available language codes, please visit the Microsoft TechNet site.