Um-al-Qura Calendar Support in Office 2010

The Professor

A Lesson by The Professor

Um-al-Qura Calendar Support in Office 2010

Welcome back to class!  

   My fellow students, our lesson today is about the support of Um-al-Qura calendar in Office 2010.

The Um-al-Qura calendar is a variation of the Hijri calendar. While the Hijri calendar is used in most predominantly Muslim countries and by Muslims worldwide to calculate important religious holidays, the Um-al-Qura calendar is a civil calendar used in some Muslim countries. The main difference between the calendars is the month-length calculation depending on sightings of the moon and the sun.  Most of the dates in Um-al-Qura calendar are either identical or off by one day compared to the Hijri calendar.  In Saudi Arabia, Um-al-Qura is the official civil calendar and is used for administrative purposes; it’s also commonly used by many other Arabic speaking countries.  For more information on the Hijri and Um-al-Qura calendars, please see the Wikipedia article.

Support level for the Um-al-Qura calendar varies in different applications of Office 2010, and we’ll go over some of the features that use the Um-al-Qura calendar.

Applications Dependent On The Operating System

Support for the Um-al-Qura calendar is available in Windows Vista and above.  If you set the Current Format in Regional and Language Options in Vista to Arabic (Saudi Arabia), and then select Customize –> Date, you’ll notice the default calendar is set to Um-al-Qura.  These options are Format in Region and Language and Additional Settings –> Date in Windows 7 respectively.  For other Arabic formats that don’t have Um-al-Qura as the default calendar, we can manually change the calendar to Um-al-Qura.


In Office 2010, the following applications will have support for Um-al-Qura calendar only if the operating system is Windows Vista or a later version, with the calendar type set to Um-al-Qura as described above.  Here are some examples from these applications.

Excel, InfoPath, and Visio

These three applications all have formatting options for dates that are dependent on the operating system.

In Excel, right click on a cell and select Format Cells to bring up the Format Cells dialog.  Select Date for the Category and then select any Arabic Locale, then Um-al-Qura will appear as one of the selections for Calendar Type.


In InfoPath Designer, insert either theDate Pickeror the Date and Time Pickercontrol, then go to the Control Tools tab –> Control Properties –> Format.  The Date Format dialog is similar to Excel.  One noticeable difference is the calendar name for Um-al-Qura is in Arabic, which is identical to the Current Format in the operating system.


You can change the calendar type in any Visio text object. Inside the text object, select the Insert tab -> Field –> select Date/Time for Category -> Data Format.  In the Date Format dialog, Um-al-Qura is listed under the Calendar drop-down for Arabic (Saudi Arabia), as well as any other Arabic Language in the Language drop-down.


Have you ever tried to figure out what a certain date in the Gregorian calendar would be in the Hijri calendar or the Um-al-Qura calendar?  You don’t need to write your own program to solve this, because Excel can easily provide you the answer!  As shown below, you can create three column of dates, each with a different calendar type, and make the dates in column B and C to be identical as column A using formula.  Now you have the dates from each calendar type side-by-side, and you can modify the dates to find the answer quickly.


OneNote and Outlook

Both OneNote and Outlook use calendar as set in the Regional and Language Options.  If the Current Format is using Um-al-Qura calendar, then the date display and Date Picker in these applications will show the Um-al-Qura calendar.  Below is a page created in OneNote with these settings.


Applications Dependent On The Office Enabled Editing Language

Publisher and Word don’t depend on the operating system for Um-al-Qura calendar support.  Instead, they depend on whether an Arabic editing language has been enabled in Office.  Please refer to the article How to type in my language using office 2010 if you are not familiar with the concept of an Office editing language.

Publisher and Word

Both Publisher and Word allow you to insert dates (Insert tab –> Date & Time).  One difference between Publisher and Word and the applications that are dependent on operating system, is the Um-al-Qura calendar is also available as a selection for English languages.  Word also has Um-al-Qura calendar support in the Fields and Date Controls.


That’s it for today’s lesson, I hope you all learned something new.  Please don’t hesitate to post a comment if you have questions for the Professor.

The Professor

PS. I would like to offer my thanks to Peter Liang for his invaluable contribution on this article. Peter works with the Office Global Experience Platform team at Microsoft as a Software Development Engineer in Test. Peter is originally from China but he and his team work in Redmond, Washington, USA. Peter and his team specifically focus on making sure the Office applications are “world-ready” for our dedicated students like you! Assisting Peter with this article was Grace Sturman, Gwyneth Marshall, Ziad Khalidi, and Ahmad Abu-Dayah.

The example companies, organizations, products, domain names, email addresses, logos, people and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, domain name, e-mail address, logo, person, or event is intended or should be inferred.