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Understanding Local Settings

As obvious as it might seem, this is the Internet, and people from all over the world will certainly visit your shop, and order your products. As a shop owner, you must cater for as many customers as possible. This means having your website fully translated in as many languages as necessary, with local taxes, weights and currency units, local geographical zones, etc.

The "Localization" menu appeared with PrestaShop 1.5, and brings together many local settings and tools that used to be scattered in other menus in previous versions.


The main page under the "Localization" menu enables you to configure the units used for your products.

Import Localization Pack

This section provides you with an extensive list of existing localization packs which you can import. Not only does it set your PrestaShop install with your proper local units, but it also adds many other data:

As you can see, these additional data are optional: you can choose to import the currency and language for a given country, and not its taxes, for instance.

While you should not add too many local data for fear of overwhelming both yourself and your customers with it, it may be useful to import the localization pack for your most visited countries (according to your stats).

Apart from the default units, you cannot automatically remove all the data for a given country; if you need to remove data, you will have to do so manually, in their respective pages under the "Localization" menu.


This section groups four default local settings, of prime importance:


The physical units presented in this section (weight, distance, volume, dimension) are used both in your product sheets and for your own packaging needs – and ultimately, is essential in your relationship with your carrier.

These values can be set when you import the localization package for a country, but you can edit manually them afterwards. For instance, if you would rather have centiliters instead of liters for the volume unit, change the default "L" to "cL".

The values should be unit symbols from the International System of Units (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_System_of_Units).


This last section asks you to set your server's local language and country, as ISO code:

These values can be set when you import the localization package for a country, but you can edit manually them afterwards.


PrestaShop comes multilingual out of the box: there are 5 default languages (English, French, Spanish, Deutsch and Italian), and many more are available to download.

The "Languages" page manages the languages you will see in your back office and your shop.

The page displays the languages already installed on your shop, along with some information: ISO code, language code, date format (short and full). You can enable or disable a language by clicking on the icon in the "Enabled" column.

Adding a new language is simply a question of importing the localization pack from a country which uses that language (in the "Localization" page). If it turns out this does not work, or that you need something customized, you can add a new language manually, using the form behind the "Add new" button.

Creating a New Language

Creating a new language means you will have to translate all of the text for PrestaShop's front-end, back-end, modules, etc., or risk using the default English strings. Translation is made using the tool in the "Translations" page, under the "Localization" menu.

You can also create a new language in order to cater for a language pack that you would have downloaded from the PrestaShop site.

In order to create a new language, you must fill as many of the form's field as possible:

Once your language is saved and enabled, you can import its language pack. This is done in the "Translations" page, under the "Localization" menu. Use the "Import a language pack manually" tool.

Finally, make sure everything works: go to your shop's front-office and click on the flags at the top. Similarly, customers can now select an additional language by using these icons.


PrestaShop's zones are a list of the world's subregions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subregion). It helps categorize countries.

If needed, you can create more zones: click on "Add New" to display the creation form.

All you need is a name and a status, for instance indicating that you do not allow deliveries in Oceania.
When in multistore mode, you can also associate a zone with a selection of stores.


Your PrestaShop installation must know all existing countries in order for your customers to clearly indicate where in the world they live.

There are roughly 195 countries in the World, but PrestaShop has 244 registered. This is because some countries include overseas regions are part of the country proper.
For instance, the French departments formerly known as DOM (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion, and French Guiana) nowadays have equals status as the French metropolitan region. Likewise, Alaska and Hawaii are US States proper.
Still, sending a package to Guadeloupe does not mean sending it to France, if only for the shipping fees. Therefore, the list of countries in PrestaShop actually separates the country from the mainland.

Be default, only your own country is enabled. You should enable them one by one, as needed for your customers. If you are unsure which to enable, check your stats to see the countries with most visitors.

At the bottom of the list, the "Country options" section to only display on your front-office the countries that your carriers cover. We recommend that you enable this setting, as it prevents customers from having to scroll through all the country names to find their own.

Adding a New Country

Normally, PrestaShop comes with all current countries in the database. But in the case new ones are created, you would need to add a new country.


By "States", PrestaShop calls first-level administrative divisions of a country. In the United-States, they are called states; in Italy, it is regioni (singular: regione); in France, it is régions; in the United-Kingdom, it is regions. By default, PrestaShop provides you with a set of states: the 50 US states, the 13 Canadian provinces and territories, 24 Argentinian provincias, and 110 Italian province (singular: provincia).

Having states properly defined in your database helps better represent the delivery possibilities of your carriers. These states can also be essential for tax rates calculation, depending on the country. It is therefore important to enter all of a given country's administrative divisions if they are important to your carriers. You can find a list of such divisions on this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_administrative_divisions_by_country.

The PrestaShop address form currently only lists states which are available for the customer to choose. Therefore, make sure to use a sensible list when adding content to your states list. That is the reason why, for instance, the list contains Italian province rather than regioni.

Adding a New State

Let's create a new state. Click the "Add New" button to get to the creation form.


PrestaShop can accept a large number of currencies. By default, there is only one standard currency: the one for your country. However, you must add and configure new currencies depending on your customers' needs. Indeed, customers will appreciate the ability to display your shop's prices in their country's currency.

The two sections at the bottom of the "Currencies" page are very simple yet essential, as relate to your currencies exchange rates (or "conversion rates"). To quote Wikipedia, "In finance, an exchange rate between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in terms of another currency." Rates change daily, sometimes drastically depending on current events, and your shop should always be updated to the latest values.

In order to change the default currency, you must go to the "Localization" page of the "Localization" menu, and use the "Default currency" option from the "Configuration" section.
If the currency you want to use is not available in this option, you must import the currency from one of the countries which use it, using the "Import a localization pack" section of the "Localization" page.

Updating the Currency Rates

In PrestaShop, there are two ways to update your conversion rates:

Note that the rates are provided as-is: the PrestaShop team does pay attention to have correct rates in these file, but might slightly differ from the actual ones, if only because these rates can fluctuate greatly in a short time.

Adding a New Currency

The easiest way to add a country's currency is to import its localization package. This is done in the "Localization" page, under the "Localization" menu. Once import, you must go the "Currencies" page to enable it.

You might need to add a currency not featured in any the localization packages. In that case, you can use the creation form.


Taxes are a complex subject, which should be fully understood as it can have a significant impact on your product prices or your shipping fees. While this user-guide is not meant to teach all the ins-and-outs of taxes, we will try our best to give you pointers.

Taxes are "compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions". In short, every product you sell is subject to sales taxes, which depend on your state's tax laws. In effect, you contribute to your state or government functioning (public goods and services) with a percentage of all your sales, as defined by local tax rates.

There are hosts of tax rates in the World, and they vary considerably from one country to another, and even within a single country if it has federal states (USA, Germany, Spain, Russia...). You should therefore make sure to strictly conform to your country's tax laws, and even those of your state or town if they apply to you. Check with your local tax representative as soon as possible in order to get all the official details.

By default in PrestaShop, a tax applies to all countries/states/zones. If order to apply a specific tax rate for a single country or a set of countries (and not some others), you must create a tax rule. The tax rule is then applied on a per-product basis, during the creation of the product ("Prices" tab).

You cannot directly apply a tax to a product; you can only apply tax rules. Therefore, you must first register all relevant taxes, and then create a tax rule for that tax in order to specify the countries the tax applies, and finally set the tax rule to the product.

Tax Options

At the bottom of the page is the "Tax options" section. These options apply to the whole shop, and all of the orders.

If you decide to enable the ecotax after having added products, you will have to edit them all in order to set the tax properly for each product.
Note that if you have set ecotaxes for your products already, and that you choose to disable ecotax, then all your products will lose their ecotax settings. Re-enabling the ecotaxe will mean having to set all your products' ecotaxes again.
The ecotax will also appear to the customer, on the product's page.

Adding a New Tax

Adding a new tax is very easy, because tax rules take out all the burden of having to specify the countries where the tax applies. The tax creation form is therefore very short:

Tax Rules

Tax rules make it so that taxes are only applied to select countries.

By default in PrestaShop, a tax applies to all countries/states/zones. In order to apply a specific tax rate for a single country or a set of countries (and not some others), you must create a tax rule. The tax rule is then applied on a per-product basis, during the creation of the product ("Prices" tab).

You cannot directly apply a tax to a product; you can only apply tax rules. Therefore, you must first register all relevant taxes, then create a tax rule for that tax in order to specify the countries the tax applies, and finally set the tax rule to the product.

A few sample taxes rules are already in place, which depend on the country you chose for your shop during the installation of PrestaShop. The tax rules are set for each tax: the rules actually serve as a kind of country filter, limiting the use of that tax to a specific set of countries.
You should edit a couple of the presented rules in order to get a better grasp of how tax rules can be set.

Adding a New Tax Rule

You can add as many tax rules as needed to your PrestaShop installation. Not only that, but you should make sure that all of the needed tax rules are registered in your shop.

Creating a new tax rule is done in two steps:

  1. Create the tax rule:
  2. Specify the country and behaviors:

Note that the default rate applied to your products will be based on your store's default country.


PrestaShop provides you with full translation tool for your shop. This helps you add and edit your pages translations. This way, you are the master of your shop, and can handle your translated strings without having to wait for official translators to publish their corrections.

Even if you do not want to correct the translators' work, you might want to change the wording they chose to use (less formal, less wordy, etc.), and customize the various available text, thus tailoring your website to your audience; for instance, a hip-hop clothing shop might be better off using different expressions from that of a luxury watches shop.

The process of adapting a program to foreign languages is called internationalization and localization, or i18n and L10n for short.
Internationalization is the first step, where developers choose a mechanism for the translation of the software. All the strings of the software are then converted to make use of this mechanism.
Localization is the second step, where bi- or multi-lingual users of the software actually translate the original strings into their own language. Localization may also include providing local data in order to further improve the software for local users.
You can learn more about i18n and L10n at this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalization_and_localization

The PrestaShop team has chosen to use its own built-in translation tool, so that anyone with a PrestaShop installation may customize their shop to their needs.
The community translation is done with an online and open installation of PrestaShop, located at http://translate.prestashop.com/.

The official translation packs can be downloaded manually from this address: http://www.prestashop.com/en/translations.

Modifying a Translation

The most important tool of the "Translation" page is in the "Modify translations" section. This is where you can choose to edit a translation, and completely customize each and every sentence if you wish so.

Select the part of the current translation that you wish to edit:

Some categories have a second drop-down list, which lists the available themes. PrestaShop themes have their own strings, but can also have their own modules, PDF templates and e-mail templates. The drop-down list therefore enables you to choose which theme you want to work with.

Once your selection is done, click the flag of the language in which you wish to edit that category of translation.

A long page then appears. It contains the hundreds of available strings for that category, sometimes split in tens of fieldsets.

By default, only the fieldsets which have untranslated strings are open. If you wish to open them all, click on the button on the top left twice: once to close all of them, once more to expand them all. You can open and close fieldsets one by one by clicking on its title.

Editing a translation is easy:

PrestaShop 1.5 introduces a new syntax where strings can contain placeholders, such as %s, %d, %1$s, %2$d, etc.

When you find a string with such placeholder, it means that PrestaShop will replace it with an actual dynamic value before displaying the translated string.
For instance, in the string "Your order on %s is complete", %s will be replaced by the shop's name. Therefore you should keep it in your final translation; for instance, in French, the translation would be "Votre commande sur %s a bien été enregistrée."

Technically, having placeholders prevents strings from being split in parts. Thereby, in previous version of PrestaShop, "Your order on %s is complete." would have been split in two: "Your order on" and "is complete.". While the literal translation of these worked for some language, it made translation nearly impossible for many other languages, none the less RTL languages such as Arabic or Hebrew. Thanks to the placeholders added in PrestaShop 1.5, such strings are now fully translatable in any language.

Some strings might have a warning icon to their right. This indicates strings with placeholders. You can click on the icon to get more information.
In case of a string with a placeholder, you should make sure that the content of that placeholder will be placed in the correct flow of the sentence, and avoid literal translation.
Numbered placeholders (%1$s, %2$d, etc.) enable translators to rearrange the order of the placeholders in the string while maintaining the information each is replaced with. This way, a French translator could choose to translate "Order #%1$d from %2$s" into "Commande n°%1$s du %2$s" or "Le %2$s, commande n°%1$s".

Specific features

Most translation categories present their strings in the same way: the category's strings are grouped into fieldsets that you can close or expand by clicking on their title. The title indicates the number of expressions that the fieldset contains, and when needed, the number of missing expressions, in brackets and in red.

This is true for most categories, except three:

Add / Update a Language

PrestaShop translations are available in packs, which combine all the different translation categories into a zip file. Many language packs are available freely for you to download and install, directly from the PrestaShop.com servers. PrestaShop will take care of downloading the language pack, unpacking it and creating the correct sub-folder in your installation's /translation folder.

You can also update the currently installed languages, likewise directly from the PrestaShop.com servers, but be reminded that any change that you might have made to your own translations will be lost once you update it.

Import a Language Pack Manually

In the case where you do not want to use an official PrestaShop translation pack, but rather a custom one (either provided by someone you know, or one that you exported from another PrestaShop installation), then this tool is for you.

Select the Zip file, select the theme to which you want that pack to be applied to, then click the "Import" button, and it will install the pack in the /translation folder.

If there is already a language folder with the same ISO 639-1 code, it will be replaced by the files from the pack you are importing.

Export a Language

You can create your own language pack using this tool, either as a way of making a backup of your customizations, or in order to share your translations with other PrestaShop installation – your own or someone else's.

Simple choose the language and the theme of the translation you wish to export, and click the "Export button.

Note that the pack will contain the theme that your translation is supposed to support.


You can copy the content of one language to another. This is especially useful when you wish to replace a theme's language with the same language from another theme.

Choose the source language and theme, then the destination language and theme, then click the "Copy" button. In most case, the language should remain the same in both drop-down lists.

If there is already a language folder for this language in the destination theme, it will be replaced by the files from the language and theme you are copying.

You might prefer to first create a new language for the destination theme before copying the source language to it.

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