How to Customize Time & Date Format in Ubuntu Panel

Last updated: February 2, 2019

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.


This does no longer work for Ubuntu 18.04 and higher as they switched to Gnome Desktop, see this tutorial instead.

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 in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please comment to let me know if the tutorial is outdated! And, notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via [email protected] Buy me a coffee:

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.