Quick change the language setting in Word

There’s a way to quickly change the language setting for a multi-lingual Microsoft Word document, by adding a language selector to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) like this.

Use this as a pull-down list to change the language setting in parts of a document.

The problem is the fixed width of the toolbar item, which is at it’s maximum width and just says “English (United” … is that English (United States) or English (United Kingdom).

As you can see from the above Word 365/2021/2019 example, you can can’t see the whole setting! Other language setting also fall off the edge of the narrow view.

In Word 2010 and Word 2007 that specific problem didn’t occur because the language options were labelled ‘English (U.S.)’ and ‘English (U.K.)’.

From Office 2013 changes the label to a longer form (e.g. ‘English (United Kingdom)’) which doesn’t fit in the standard width allowed for the Language selector.

In other words, Microsoft expanded the language labels without considering all the consequences and have left the problem unfixed for a decade.

How to add the Language selector

Here’s how to add it. Go to the Quick Access Toolbar, click on the arrow on right and choose More Commands. That will open the QAT customize dialog.

Change ‘Choose commands from …’ to All Commands then scroll down to the Language options. There are three called ‘Language’, we want the top one with the cursor/down arrow icon on the right. Select that one then click ‘Add’.

You can move the QAT items around using the arrows on bottom right.