Customize Linux: Cinnamon Desktop Environment – Clock Format

One of the best things about Linux is that you can customize it any way you like. So why not how the date/time displays?

If you are using Cinnamon as your chosen desktop environment, did you know you can customize the time on your task bar? You can, and more than just disabling the 24hr time default. Ok, let’s begin!

So the basic way to modify the date/time settings is to click on the time and then go to ‘Date and Time Settings’.

Cinnamon calendar showing text link to Date and Time Settings.

Here you will find you can disable the 24h clock, display the date/seconds and change which day of the week the calendar starts on (Sunday or Monday).

Cinnamon Date & Time Settings window.

So to get a more custom experience you will want to right click on the time in the bottom right to get the menu shown below.

Configure is available on the clocks right click menu.

Then click configure and it will bring up the window to customize the clock.

Clock customization window with web page reference open.

The customization screen is pretty basic, however you can find out all the available variables/symbols to use by clicking the ‘Show information on date format syntax’. This will open the web page shown where you can pick a preset and copy and paste it to your machine or use the reference to compose your own.

I personally prefer to see the day of the week, the month, day number and the time in the format below. Just copy and paste the line below to your customization screen to get the same format!

%A %b %d @ %H:%M

Once done making customizations, you can close the window which will save the changes. If you want to reset them to the default use the square icon in the upper right hand corner to reset them.

That’s it! It’s that simple to make the clock work more for you. I would also like to note that on this customization screen you can check a box to show the week numbers on the calendar. I only recently enabled this and find it at least neat if not somewhat useful to remind me how far into the year we are.

My personal preferences for date/time are the following:

  • Custom time format shown above (%A %b %d @ %H:%M)
  • Show the week numbers in the calendar
  • Under Date and Time Settings
    • Week starts on Monday(to match the paper planner I use)

I know this was a short tutorial, but I felt this may be a small tweak that goes overlooked and can be really useful. So I hope you found this helpful. If you enjoyed this post, please like, subscribe and share it! You can also let me know in the comments whether you liked this, found it to be too basic or would like to see more Linux tutorials or specific tutorials.


One additional note: If you like my desktop background, it is included as a default option in Linux Mint. It is found in under the Olivia folder and is called City Night (by Nicolas Goulet). If you don’t have the folder be sure you are running a recent release of Mint.

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