Enable your SharePoint Start Page for language preferences

Have you noticed that when you set your preferred language in your user profile, the SharePoint Start Page remains at the tenant default language? Me too, so lets go and change that.

An example SharePoint Start Page

An example SharePoint Start Page

In the above screenshot, I have setup a Welsh user with preferences set in their profile (via Delve), to select Welsh as the main display language. As you can see, it doesn’t look Welsh. Currently this page is English. So why isn’t this showing the correct language when other Modern sites appear as Welsh?

Two points to note about the root site (that’s https://.sharepoint.com):

  1. This is provisioned automatically. So the primary site language will always be the tenant default when you signed up to Office.com. You cannot change this - and I haven’t heard of any upcoming changes to this.
  2. For existing tenants and new tenants created before Jan 2019, the root site uses the classic team site template “Team Site - SharePoint Online Configuration” (EHS#1). This does not provide out of the box, ‘enable alternative languages’ in the site language settings.

In the case of the start page, the URL is based on your root site address - https://.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/SharePoint.aspx

This means the site languages preferences take affect on this page.

So what happens if we change this?

Its quite simple to enable support for other languages by following these steps:

  • Go to the root site collection e.g. https://.sharepoint.com
  • Go to Site Settings and Language Settings
  • You will notice all the languages are not selected.
  • Tick the languages, you want your organisation to support.
A Screen shot of selecting languages on the site settings page

A Screen shot of selecting languages on the site settings page

Go back to the SharePoint Start Page - Tip: Click on SharePoint in Suite Bar to navigate quickly to this page.

Screen shot of the example home screen in Welsh

Screen shot of the example home screen in Welsh

So any upcoming changes on the roadmap?

Yes, there is a change coming from Microsoft that will allow you to use a communication site, on the root site of your tenant. Additionally, new Office 365 tenants will default for this to be on.

An image of the SharePoint sites and portal systems roadmap

An image of the SharePoint sites and portal systems roadmap

If the site template changes to ‘modern’ for new tenants or the new PowerShell script (demoed at Ignite) is released, this may change the current settings. However, I will update this post when we have a confirmation of any specific changes relating to this.


This blog post is part of a series, check out this post “Series: Creating a multi-lingual Intranet using Communication Sites” for more related content.

Useful References

Hope you find this useful!

Note: In this post, I am using Welsh translated from Microsoft Bing/Translator Text API, I don’t speak Welsh so I rely on the accuracy of the translator services, if you find some Welsh words inaccurate or offensive, please let me know immediately by posting a comment or DM via Twitter and I will correct the content. Thank you.