By default sharepoint follows below mentioned paths to decide in which language site should be shown

  1. If the User Profile service application is started on the SharePoint Server 2013 farm, the language preferences stored in the user profile are used.
  2. If no language preference is defined in the user profile, or if the server uses SharePoint Foundation 2013, the language preferences stored in the user's language settings for the site collection are used.
  3. If no language preference is defined in the user's site collection language settings, the language preferences stored in the user's web browser are used.
  4. If no language preference is defined in the user's web browser, the default site language is used.

What I want to know, is there any way to force sharepoint to switch between languages, as per users wish. e.g. we provide dropdown/options from where user selects the language and sharepoint system content (Site settings, Ribbon etc.) is shown in that language.
So instead of referring to user profile/Browser settings, can we overwrite this with dropdown selection?

  • Use variation for this. netwovenblogs.com/2014/01/13/…. After this is setup, you can redirect the user to the variation subsite.
    – Akhoy
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 11:38
  • variation takes decision based on 4 points mentioned in question. We want users to decide the language they prefer , when they visit site (More like public domain sites)
    – Rohit
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 12:16
  • Right. Didn't know they'd choose the language when visiting. Was under the opinion that users would choose it after visiting the site. Most of the public sites let you choose the language after the site has loaded and in that case, variation would work fine .
    – Akhoy
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 12:55
  • AFAIK Variation also takes decision from users language preference, i.e. if default lang is english and my languge pref is French. If i hit Root URL of the site, i will be automatically taken to French site. Also, you have to maintain 2 sites (2 lang), if you do UI changes. Please correct me, if I am wrong
    – Rohit
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 13:17
  • are you using dirsync to push on prem users to o365? Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


I have solved this the following way: On each site You want this to be applicable on You have to open "Settings" and "Language Settings". Check the checkbox for each language you want to use. Language settings on the Site

Based on which language that is set in Internet Explorer, the SharePoint Site will show in that language. Language settings in Internet Explorer

  • Thank you for taking time in posting this. But we cannot ask users to make these change in their browser. We want to give a freedom to user to switch between languages.
    – Rohit
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 13:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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