By default, Raspbian displays a 24-hour clock:

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Normally, LXDE provides an option to change the clock format by opening Panel Preferences, selecting "Digital Clock", and clicking Preferences. However, this is disabled:

enter image description here

How do I change the format?

  • Clock settings were re-enabled in Raspbian Stretch (v9). Change the time format by right-clicking the time and selecting "digital clock settings".
    – Stevoisiak
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 1:46

4 Answers 4


First, the rationale for this:

"And with regards the clock plug-in – yes, I’ve disabled the config for the time being. The clock plug-in was a nightmare from a UI point of view. For example – popping up the calendar gives you a calendar window in which you can move a highlight to show a different day – for no purpose at all. It contained a lot of kludgey hacked code for the benefit of someone who wanted the option to have their clock in bold font."

Simon Long

Now for the fix. Open a terminal and run:

leafpad /home/pi/.config/lxpanel/LXDE-pi/panels/panel

(Substitute leafpad with a console editor such as vi or nano if desired.)

Locate the following line:


...and change it to:


Save the file and either reboot or restart LXDE.

  • As of Raspbian Stretch (v9), clock settings were re-enabled. You can right click the time and select "Digital clock settings"
    – Stevoisiak
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 2:02

Changing the format of the time using either Ken's or Nathan's way works, but there is another difference between %R and %r. %r also shows the seconds ticking off. If you want them, great. If not, then you need to specify a different format, like %I:%M %p.

For a full list of formatting codes, see Customizing The Clock (from archive.org)

  • Though I like to put %r in the tooltip so the full tooltip is now %A %x %r.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 23:49
  • That incredibly informative link is now dead :((
    – Xbox One
    Commented Feb 17 at 17:16
  • @XboxOne. I found the old page in archive.org and updated the above link to display that instead of the original page.
    – Jim
    Commented Feb 18 at 20:50
  • @Jim awesome, that page is actually so useful.
    – Xbox One
    Commented Feb 20 at 17:45

Use %I:%M %p instead

The seconds from %r are annoying and useless.

  • This should probably be a comment on another answer, rather than an answer on its own.
    – Bex
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 7:21
  • Welcome to Raspberry Pi! This duplicates another answer (raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/a/41175/19949) and adds no new content. Please don't post an answer unless you actually have something new to contribute.
    – Ghanima
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 8:36

On Pi 2, I have found right clicking on the clock, click digital clock settings, on clock format, change %R to %r

  • Note: his issue is that he CAN'T get to those digital clock settings.
    – Brian
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 10:16

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