Selecting the language of the user interface

ArcGIS is used all over the world and in many regions where the first language is not English. Some regions may have translations for the user interface and help that allow users to use ArcGIS in their own language. Translations for the user interface and help are often installed in what are called language packs or language supplements.

How do you change the language of the user interface?

With ArcGIS 10, language pack installations do not overwrite the English version of the software. This provides the option of using either English in the user interface or another language. Most of the time, users will work with software using the language pack installed by their system administrator. There are some occasions, however, when a user will want to change the language of the user interface. This can be done via the ArcGIS Administrator. Changing the language of the user interface does not require administrator privileges on the Windows operating system.

The ArcGIS Administrator has an "Advanced" button. Clicking on this button takes you to a dialog where you can set the language for the user interface to be used by all graphical user interfaces in the following applications:

  1. Using the ArcGIS Administrator, click the ArcGIS node in the table of contents.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Select the language for use and click OK.
  4. Click Apply to set your changes without closing the ArcGIS Administrator or OK to apply changes and close the ArcGIS Administrator.

The ArcGIS Administrator does not control the language of the user interface for applications written with .NET or Java. Those type of applications rely on the operating system settings only.

If you click on the "Advanced" button and there are only 2 choices:

then there are no language packs installed. In the case of the Display Language choice, it also shows the display language as defined by the operating system. In the United States, for example, users will see (English - United States). English is always an option because English user interfaces and help are always installed. If the application cannot find translated user interfaces or help, it defaults back to English.

If the installed language pack also has translated help, clicking on the Help button in an application starts the Help in the user interface language.