How to Customize Time & Date Format in Ubuntu Panel

December 7, 2015

Time & Date format

This quick tutorial is going to show you how to customize your Time & Date indicator in Ubuntu panel, though there are already a few options available in the settings page.


To get started, search for and install dconf Editor in Ubuntu Software Center. Then launch the software and follow below steps:

1. When dconf Editor launches, navigate to com -> canonical -> indicator -> datetime. Set the value of time-format to custom.

custom time format

You can also do this via a command in terminal:

gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.datetime time-format 'custom'

2. Now you can customize the Time & Date format by editing the value of custom-time-format.


You can also do this via command:

gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.datetime custom-time-format 'FORMAT_VALUE_HERE'

Interpreted sequences are:

  • %a = abbreviated weekday name
  • %A = full weekday name
  • %b = abbreviated month name
  • %B = full month name
  • %d = day of month
  • %l = hour ( 1..12), %I = hour (01..12)
  • %k = hour ( 1..23), %H = hour (01..23)
  • %M = minute (00..59)
  • %p = AM or PM, %P = am or pm.
  • %S = second (00..59)
  • open terminal and run command man date to get more details.

Some examples:

custom time format value: %a %H:%M %m/%d/%Y


%a %r %b %d or %a %I:%M:%S %p %b %d


%a %-d %b %l:%M %P %z


I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu 5+ years ago and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me on Google Plus or email to

4 responses to How to Customize Time & Date Format in Ubuntu Panel

  1. exactly what i was looking for, as ubuntu 16.04 doesn’t have any customisations like this in All Settings | Time & Date | Clock

  2. Thank you!!! Very useful post :)

  3. I would like to be able to make the clock format bold or larger in size.. the old eyes are not what they used to be…can that be done without making a system wide alteration to font size?

  4. Hi,
    that seems pretty simple, but doesn’t work for me somehow. I use ubuntu mate 14.04 on my desktop.