I'm specifically looking to change the formatting in two places:

On the desktop, the date/time reads "Sat 21:05". I would like it to read "23-Jul-11 21:05" or "23 Jul 11 21:05". In other words, I want to change the display of the day of week to display the day, short month name, and short year.

On the login screen, the date/time reads "Sat 9:06 PM". I would like to change it to either the same as the desktop ("23-Jul-11 21:05" or "23 Jul 11 21:05") or the preferred display of the full date in the format ("Saturday, 23 July 2011 21:05") where the full day, date, full month, full year, and time (in 24-hour format) is displayed.

I don't see any options to adjust this. I would suspect it's possible, but I'm not sure what config file it would be in or what options I would adjust.

2 Answers 2


I created a gnome-shell extension to change the datetime format of the status bar and date menu: https://github.com/Daniel-Khodabakhsh/datetime-format

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  • 2
    Your extension is excellent, because it allowed me to specify the exact custom format I was wanting: %A | %m-%d-%G | %I:%M %p Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 14:36

In Gnome3 you have two choices (neither of them, from what I can tell, currently will do all of what you are looking for):

1 Use the command line tool gsettings:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.shell.clock show-date true

2 Install Gnome Tweak Tool and activate the date that way.

It seems more customizable options haven't been implemented yet.

  • I noticed that if my screen is locked, it displays the same as on my desktop. I wonder if that can help me somehow. I know in GNOME2 there was a gdm user that affected the login screen, but I'm not sure if it exists in GNOME3 or how I would go about logging in to that user. Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 9:41
  • 3
    Apparently not. From the Arch Wiki article on GDM: "You can no longer use the gdmsetup command to configure GDM as of version 2.28. The command has been removed and GDM has been standardized and integrated with the rest of GNOME." wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/GDM
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 9:47
  • 1
    I just started Googling for accessing the GDM user and came across that page too. So changing the user settings to a 24-hour clock and activating the show-date wouldn't help me. As much as I like GNOME 3, this is kind of disappointing. Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 9:49
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    Gnome3 doesn't strike me as the sort of DE that encourages tinkering and customization...
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 9:59
  • jasonwryan has the right methodology, you just need to make sure to run the commands as root for the settings to affect the login screen. I used sudo gdm3setup.py to get things configured for me. (I'm running gdm
    – rbellamy
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 1:51

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