Your language and text preferences are two areas that enable you to set some preferences that will make your MacBook much better suited for you specifically.

  • Language: Choose the preferred order for language use in menus and dialogs as well as the standards that Mac OS X will use for sorted lists.

  • Text: Specify character combinations that will be automatically replaced with special characters. For example, Lion will automatically replace the combination TM with the special character ™. You can also choose a language for spell-checking and turn on “smart” quotes (where Lion chooses double or single quotation marks for you). Note that these settings can be overridden by preferences set within applications — for example, Microsoft Word.

  • Formats: Find the following settings here:

    • Dates: You can select a region and use its date conventions (for example, month-day-year versus day-month-year) or you can click the Customize button to build a custom format for the full date (Saturday, September 24, 2011), long date (September 24, 2011), medium date (Sep 24, 2011), and short date (9/24/2011) used throughout Mac OS X.

    • Times: Click Customize to configure the appearance of the full time (7:18:30 PM Central Standard), long time (7:18:30 PM CST), medium time (7:18:30 PM), and short time (7:18 PM) displayed within Lion. You can also specify different suffixes for morning (a.m.) and evening (p.m.).

    • Numbers: These convention settings determine the separators used for large numbers or numbers with decimals, as well as the currency symbol that you want to use and where it appears in a number. You can also choose between standard (U.S.) and metric measurement systems.

  • Input Sources: Each check box toggles the keyboard layouts available from the Input menu. (To display the Input menu on the Finder menu bar, click the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar check box to select it.) Click the Keyboard Shortcuts button to toggle the shortcuts for switching layouts and input methods.