Beware the Office 365 Group -Based Site Regional Settings!!!

2 minute read

This is a quick post, yet it’s still an important one. We’re using more and more Office 365 Group -based SharePoint sites these days. Even when you know you aren’t going to use some of the goodies you end up with, this type of site is making more and more sense.

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Several people have asked me in other forums the basic question: “So what?” If all dates and times are stored in UTC, does it really matter what the site’s Regional Settings are? Frankly, that’s got me a little bit stumped.

It certainly feels wrong that the site’s settings don’t match its primary locus, but since team members can span the globe, what’s the impact?

I know I struggle as a developer to show everyone things in the right date/time based on their settings, and it feels like the platform doesn’t give us great tools for this. What other issues does it raise? Please add your thoughts and issues in the comments. I’m interested in things other than the usual “The people in Redmond don’t realize that we’re not all in their timezone” stuff – which is basically all I’ve pointed out here.

BUT, there’s a simple problem that can have longer-term ramifications. The default time zone for every new Group-based site we create is PDT, also known as UTC-08:00. You have to go into Site Settings to change it manually for every site you create this way. Since a lot of my clients are in EDT, this is tedious.

I’m guessing no one in Redmond even notices this, because PDT is their time zone. I spot it every time I create a new Group-based site during a migration because Sharegate warns me the time zones of the source and destination sites are different when I start to copy content across. (Yay, Sharegate!)

If you happen to be a non-US person, then ALL of the regional settings are likely to be wrong for you. I’ve checked, and there is no way to change the default here – unless it’s a VERY recent change.

Here are some Office 365 UserVoice suggestions you can run off to vote for:




  1. Yep, a pain. My customer has a tenant in the US for legal reasons. We have to change every site collection manually.

    These groups sites we have just started looking at. We are most likely going to limit group creation to an it team from now. Then as part of the creation process put together scripts and site changes required for each site. At the moment they use site templates in classic mode.

    One thing that I found with these group created sites is you do not appear to be able to change the permission levels for the owners and members through the GUI. Not tried any other way. Just simply we do not want full control and edit levels for owners and members. Permissions levels appear to be read only for the group.

  2. We’re UK based and on the planner app I could find nowhere to change the timezone. Will try the site settings and see if they carry across.

  3. What about (especially when you anyway have people across timezones even in one site) people profile specific timezone override (the one coming from classical SP), does that work properly still in O365? The timezone per site topic for me is an all-time classic, where – if peopel don’t set their profile timezone – you have confusions about dates/times (bonus even with properly set timezones: the truncation of date-only is hardly understandable for teh average user)


Have a thought or opinion?