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String Format for DateTime


This example shows how to format DateTime using String.Format method. All formatting can be done also using DateTime.ToString method.

Custom DateTime Formatting

There are following custom format specifiers y (year), M (month), d (day), h (hour 12), H (hour 24), m (minute), s (second), f (second fraction), F (second fraction, trailing zeroes are trimmed),t (P.M or A.M) and z (time zone).
Following examples demonstrate how are the format specifiers rewritten to the output.
// create date time 2008-03-09 16:05:07.123
DateTime dt = new DateTime(2008, 3, 9, 16, 5, 7, 123);

String.Format("{0:y yy yyy yyyy}", dt); // "8 08 008 2008" year
String.Format("{0:M MM MMM MMMM}", dt); // "3 03 Mar March" month
String.Format("{0:d dd ddd dddd}", dt); // "9 09 Sun Sunday" day
String.Format("{0:h hh H HH}", dt); // "4 04 16 16" hour 12/24
String.Format("{0:m mm}", dt); // "5 05" minute
String.Format("{0:s ss}", dt); // "7 07" second
String.Format("{0:f ff fff ffff}", dt); // "1 12 123 1230" sec.fraction
String.Format("{0:F FF FFF FFFF}", dt); // "1 12 123 123" without zeroes
String.Format("{0:t tt}", dt); // "P PM" A.M. or P.M.
String.Format("{0:z zz zzz}", dt); // "-6 -06 -06:00" time zone

You can use also date separator / (slash) and time sepatator : (colon). These characters will be rewritten to characters defined in the current DateTimeForma­tInfo.DateSepa­rator andDateTimeForma­tInfo.TimeSepa­rator.

// date separator in german culture is "." (so "/" changes to ".")
String.Format("{0:d/M/yyyy HH:mm:ss}", dt); // "9/3/2008 16:05:07" - english (en-US)
String.Format("{0:d/M/yyyy HH:mm:ss}", dt); // "9.3.2008 16:05:07" - german (de-DE)
Here are some examples of custom date and time formatting:

// month/day numbers without/with leading zeroes
String.Format("{0:M/d/yyyy}", dt); // "3/9/2008"
String.Format("{0:MM/dd/yyyy}", dt); // "03/09/2008" // day/month names
String.Format("{0:ddd, MMM d, yyyy}", dt); // "Sun, Mar 9, 2008"
String.Format("{0:dddd, MMMM d, yyyy}", dt); // "Sunday, March 9, 2008" // two/four digit year
String.Format("{0:MM/dd/yy}", dt); // "03/09/08"
String.Format("{0:MM/dd/yyyy}", dt); // "03/09/2008"

Standard DateTime Formatting

In DateTimeForma­tInfo there are defined standard patterns for the current culture. For example property ShortTimePattern is string that contains value h:mm tt for en-US culture and value HH:mm for de-DE culture.
Following table shows patterns defined in DateTimeForma­tInfo and their values for en-US culture. First column contains format specifiers for the String.Format method.
DateTimeFormatInfo property
Pattern value (for en-US culture)
h:mm tt
h:mm:ss tt
dddd, MMMM dd, yyyy
(combination of D and t)
dddd, MMMM dd, yyyy h:mm tt
dddd, MMMM dd, yyyy h:mm:ss tt
(combination of d and t)
M/d/yyyy h:mm tt
(combination of d and T)
M/d/yyyy h:mm:ss tt
m, M
y, Y
MMMM, yyyy
r, R
ddd, dd MMM yyyy HH':'mm':'ss 'GMT' (*)
yyyy'-'MM'-'dd'T'HH':'mm':'ss (*)
yyyy'-'MM'-'dd HH':'mm':'ss'Z' (*)
(*) = culture independent
Following examples show usage of standard format specifiers in String.Format method and the resulting output.

String.Format("{0:t}", dt);  // "4:05 PM"                         ShortTime
String.Format("{0:d}", dt);  // "3/9/2008"                        ShortDate
String.Format("{0:T}", dt);  // "4:05:07 PM"                      LongTime
String.Format("{0:D}", dt);  // "Sunday, March 09, 2008"          LongDate
String.Format("{0:f}", dt);  // "Sunday, March 09, 2008 4:05 PM"  LongDate+ShortTime
String.Format("{0:F}", dt);  // "Sunday, March 09, 2008 4:05:07 PM" FullDateTime
String.Format("{0:g}", dt);  // "3/9/2008 4:05 PM"                ShortDate+ShortTime
String.Format("{0:G}", dt);  // "3/9/2008 4:05:07 PM"             ShortDate+LongTime
String.Format("{0:m}", dt);  // "March 09"                        MonthDay
String.Format("{0:y}", dt);  // "March, 2008"                     YearMonth
String.Format("{0:r}", dt);  // "Sun, 09 Mar 2008 16:05:07 GMT"   RFC1123
String.Format("{0:s}", dt);  // "2008-03-09T16:05:07"             SortableDateTime
String.Format("{0:u}", dt);  // "2008-03-09 16:05:07Z"            UniversalSortableDateTime