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Standard DateTime Format Strings 

A standard DateTime format string consists of a single standard DateTime format specifier character that represents a custom DateTime format stringCustom DateTime Format Strings. The format string ultimately defines the text representation of a DateTime object that is produced by a formatting operation. Note that any DateTime format string that contains more than one alphabetic character, including white space, is interpreted as a custom DateTime format string.

Standard DateTime Format Specifiers

The following table describes the standard DateTime format specifiers. For examples of the output produced by each format specifier, see Standard DateTime Format Strings Output Examples.

Format specifier Name Description

d

Short date pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current ShortDatePattern property.

For example, the custom format string for the invariant culture is "MM/dd/yyyy".

D

Long date pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current LongDatePattern property.

For example, the custom format string for the invariant culture is "dddd, dd MMMM yyyy".

f

Full date/time pattern (short time)

Represents a combination of the long date (D) and short time (t) patterns, separated by a space.

F

Full date/time pattern (long time)

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current FullDateTimePattern property.

For example, the custom format string for the invariant culture is "dddd, dd MMMM yyyy HH:mm:ss".

g

General date/time pattern (short time)

Represents a combination of the short date (d) and short time (t) patterns, separated by a space.

G

General date/time pattern (long time)

Represents a combination of the short date (d) and long time (T) patterns, separated by a space.

M or m

Month day pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current MonthDayPattern property.

For example, the custom format string for the invariant culture is "MMMM dd".

o

Round-trip date/time pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string using a pattern that preserves time zone information. The pattern is designed to round-trip DateTime formats, including the Kind property, in text. Then the formatted string can be parsed back using Parse or ParseExact with the correct Kind property value.

The custom format string is "yyyy'-'MM'-'dd'T'HH':'mm':'ss.fffffffK".

The pattern for this specifier is a defined standard. Therefore, it is always the same, regardless of the culture used or the format provider supplied.

R or r

RFC1123 pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current RFC1123Pattern property. The pattern is a defined standard and the property is read-only. Therefore, it is always the same regardless of the culture used or the format provider supplied.

The custom format string is "ddd, dd MMM yyyy HH':'mm':'ss 'GMT'".

Formatting does not modify the value of the DateTime object that is being formatted. Therefore, the application must convert the value to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) before using this format specifier.

s

Sortable date/time pattern; conforms to ISO 8601

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current SortableDateTimePattern property. This pattern is a defined standard and the property is read-only. Therefore, it is always the same regardless of the culture used or the format provider supplied.

The custom format string is "yyyy'-'MM'-'dd'T'HH':'mm':'ss".

t

Short time pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current ShortTimePattern property.

For example, the custom format string for the invariant culture is "HH:mm".

T

Long time pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current LongTimePattern property.

For example, the custom format string for the invariant culture is "HH:mm:ss".

u

Universal sortable date/time pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current UniversalSortableDateTimePattern property. This pattern is a defined standard and the property is read-only. Therefore, it is always the same regardless of the culture used or the format provider supplied.

The custom format string is "yyyy'-'MM'-'dd HH':'mm':'ss'Z'".

No time zone conversion is done when the date and time is formatted. Therefore, the application must convert a local date and time to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) before using this format specifier.

U

Universal sortable date/time pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current FullDateTimePattern property.

This pattern is the same as the full date/long time (F) pattern. However, formatting operates on the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) that is equivalent to the DateTime object being formatted.

Y or y

Year month pattern

Represents a custom DateTime format string defined by the current YearMonthPattern property.

For example, the custom format string for the invariant culture is "yyyy MMMM".

Any other single character

(Unknown specifier)

An unknown specifier throws a runtime format exception.

Control Panel Settings

The settings in the Regional and Language Options item in Control Panel influence the result string produced by a formatting operation. Those settings are used to initialize the DateTimeFormatInfo object associated with the current thread culture, which provides values used to govern formatting. Computers using different settings will generate different result strings.

DateTimeFormatInfo Properties

Formatting is influenced by properties of the current DateTimeFormatInfo object, which is provided implicitly by the current thread culture or explicitly by the IFormatProvider parameter of the method that invokes formatting. Specify for the IFormatProvider parameter a CultureInfo object, which represents a culture, or a DateTimeFormatInfo object.

Many of the standard DateTime format specifiers are aliases for formatting patterns defined by properties of the current DateTimeFormatInfo object. Therefore, your application can change the result produced by some standard DateTime format specifiers by changing the corresponding DateTimeFormatInfo property.

Using Standard Format Strings

The following code fragment illustrates how to use the standard format strings with DateTime objects.

DateTime dt = DateTime.Now;
DateTimeFormatInfo dfi = new DateTimeFormatInfo();
CultureInfo ci = new CultureInfo("de-DE");

// Create a new custom DateTime pattern for demonstration.
dfi.MonthDayPattern = "MM-MMMM, ddd-dddd";

// Use the DateTimeFormat from the culture associated 
// with the current thread.
Console.WriteLine( dt.ToString("d") );  
Console.WriteLine( dt.ToString("m") );

// Use the DateTimeFormat from the specific culture passed.
Console.WriteLine( dt.ToString("d", ci ) );

// Use the settings from the DateTimeFormatInfo object passed.
Console.WriteLine( dt.ToString("m", dfi ) );

// Reset the current thread to a different culture.
Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = new CultureInfo("fr-BE");
Console.WriteLine( dt.ToString("d") );

// Use a CultureInfo with a format specifier to parse a string.
IFormatProvider culter = new CultureInfo("en-US");
DateTime myDateTime = DateTime.ParseExact("Tuesday, April 10, 2001", "D", culter);
Console.WriteLine(myDateTime.ToString("D"));

Example

The following code example formats a DateTime object using the thread current culture, a specified culture, and all the standard DateTime format specifiers.

// This code example demonstrates the ToString(String) and 
// ToString(String, IFormatProvider) methods for the DateTime 
// type in conjunction with the standard date and time 
// format specifiers.

using System;
using System.Globalization;
using System.Threading;

class Sample 
{
    public static void Main() 
    {
    string msgShortDate = "(d) Short date: . . . . . . . ";
    string msgLongDate  = "(D) Long date:. . . . . . . . ";
    string msgShortTime = "(t) Short time: . . . . . . . ";
    string msgLongTime  = "(T) Long time:. . . . . . . . ";
    string msgFullDateShortTime = 
                          "(f) Full date/short time: . . ";
    string msgFullDateLongTime =
                          "(F) Full date/long time:. . . ";
    string msgGeneralDateShortTime = 
                          "(g) General date/short time:. ";
    string msgGeneralDateLongTime = 
                          "(G) General date/long time (default):\n" +
                          "    . . . . . . . . . . . . . ";
    string msgMonth   =   "(M) Month:. . . . . . . . . . ";
    string msgRFC1123 =   "(R) RFC1123:. . . . . . . . . ";
    string msgSortable =  "(s) Sortable: . . . . . . . . ";
    string msgUniSortInvariant = 
                          "(u) Universal sortable (invariant):\n" + 
                          "    . . . . . . . . . . . . . ";
    string msgUniSort =   "(U) Universal sortable: . . . ";
    string msgYear =      "(Y) Year: . . . . . . . . . . ";
    string msgRoundtripLocal        = "(o) Roundtrip (local):. . . . ";
    string msgRoundtripUTC          = "(o) Roundtrip (UTC):. . . . . ";
    string msgRoundtripUnspecified  = "(o) Roundtrip (Unspecified):. ";


    string msg1 = "Use ToString(String) and the current thread culture.\n";
    string msg2 = "Use ToString(String, IFormatProvider) and a specified culture.\n";
    string msgCulture  = "Culture:";
    string msgThisDate = "This date and time: {0}\n";

    DateTime thisDate  = DateTime.Now;
    DateTime  utcDate  = thisDate.ToUniversalTime();
    DateTime unspecifiedDate = new DateTime(2000, 3, 20, 13, 2, 3, 0, DateTimeKind.Unspecified);
    CultureInfo ci;

// Format the current date and time in various ways.
    Console.Clear();
    Console.WriteLine("Standard DateTime Format Specifiers:\n");
    Console.WriteLine(msgThisDate, thisDate);
    Console.WriteLine(msg1);

// Display the thread current culture, which is used to format the values.
    ci = Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture;
    Console.WriteLine("{0,-30}{1}\n", msgCulture, ci.DisplayName);

    Console.WriteLine(msgShortDate            +         thisDate.ToString("d"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgLongDate             +         thisDate.ToString("D"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgShortTime            +         thisDate.ToString("t"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgLongTime             +         thisDate.ToString("T"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgFullDateShortTime    +         thisDate.ToString("f"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgFullDateLongTime     +         thisDate.ToString("F"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgGeneralDateShortTime +         thisDate.ToString("g"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgGeneralDateLongTime  +         thisDate.ToString("G"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgMonth                +         thisDate.ToString("M"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgRFC1123              +          utcDate.ToString("R"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgSortable             +         thisDate.ToString("s"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgUniSortInvariant     +          utcDate.ToString("u"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgUniSort              +         thisDate.ToString("U"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgYear                 +         thisDate.ToString("Y"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgRoundtripLocal       +         thisDate.ToString("o"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgRoundtripUTC         +          utcDate.ToString("o"));
    Console.WriteLine(msgRoundtripUnspecified +  unspecifiedDate.ToString("o"));

    Console.WriteLine();

// Display the same values using a CultureInfo object. The CultureInfo class 
// implements IFormatProvider.
    Console.WriteLine(msg2);

// Display the culture used to format the values. 
    ci = new CultureInfo("de-DE");
    Console.WriteLine("{0,-30}{1}\n", msgCulture, ci.DisplayName);

    Console.WriteLine(msgShortDate            +         thisDate.ToString("d", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgLongDate             +         thisDate.ToString("D", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgShortTime            +         thisDate.ToString("t", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgLongTime             +         thisDate.ToString("T", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgFullDateShortTime    +         thisDate.ToString("f", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgFullDateLongTime     +         thisDate.ToString("F", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgGeneralDateShortTime +         thisDate.ToString("g", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgGeneralDateLongTime  +         thisDate.ToString("G", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgMonth                +         thisDate.ToString("M", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgRFC1123              +         utcDate.ToString("R", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgSortable             +         thisDate.ToString("s", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgUniSortInvariant     +         utcDate.ToString("u", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgUniSort              +         thisDate.ToString("U", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgYear                 +         thisDate.ToString("Y", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgRoundtripLocal       +         thisDate.ToString("o", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgRoundtripUTC         +          utcDate.ToString("o", ci));
    Console.WriteLine(msgRoundtripUnspecified +  unspecifiedDate.ToString("o", ci));

    Console.WriteLine();
    }
}
/*
This code example produces the following results:

Standard DateTime Format Specifiers:

This date and time: 4/17/2006 2:22:48 PM

Use ToString(String) and the current thread culture.

Culture:                      English (United States)

(d) Short date: . . . . . . . 4/17/2006
(D) Long date:. . . . . . . . Monday, April 17, 2006
(t) Short time: . . . . . . . 2:22 PM
(T) Long time:. . . . . . . . 2:22:48 PM
(f) Full date/short time: . . Monday, April 17, 2006 2:22 PM
(F) Full date/long time:. . . Monday, April 17, 2006 2:22:48 PM
(g) General date/short time:. 4/17/2006 2:22 PM
(G) General date/long time (default):
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/17/2006 2:22:48 PM
(M) Month:. . . . . . . . . . April 17
(R) RFC1123:. . . . . . . . . Mon, 17 Apr 2006 21:22:48 GMT
(s) Sortable: . . . . . . . . 2006-04-17T14:22:48
(u) Universal sortable (invariant):
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2006-04-17 21:22:48Z
(U) Universal sortable: . . . Monday, April 17, 2006 9:22:48 PM
(Y) Year: . . . . . . . . . . April, 2006
(o) Roundtrip (local):. . . . 2006-04-17T14:22:48.2698750-07:00
(o) Roundtrip (UTC):. . . . . 2006-04-17T21:22:48.2698750Z
(o) Roundtrip (Unspecified):. 2000-03-20T13:02:03.0000000

Use ToString(String, IFormatProvider) and a specified culture.

Culture:                      German (Germany)

(d) Short date: . . . . . . . 17.04.2006
(D) Long date:. . . . . . . . Montag, 17. April 2006
(t) Short time: . . . . . . . 14:22
(T) Long time:. . . . . . . . 14:22:48
(f) Full date/short time: . . Montag, 17. April 2006 14:22
(F) Full date/long time:. . . Montag, 17. April 2006 14:22:48
(g) General date/short time:. 17.04.2006 14:22
(G) General date/long time (default):
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.04.2006 14:22:48
(M) Month:. . . . . . . . . . 17 April
(R) RFC1123:. . . . . . . . . Mon, 17 Apr 2006 21:22:48 GMT
(s) Sortable: . . . . . . . . 2006-04-17T14:22:48
(u) Universal sortable (invariant):
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2006-04-17 21:22:48Z
(U) Universal sortable: . . . Montag, 17. April 2006 21:22:48
(Y) Year: . . . . . . . . . . April 2006
(o) Roundtrip (local):. . . . 2006-04-17T14:22:48.2698750-07:00
(o) Roundtrip (UTC):. . . . . 2006-04-17T21:22:48.2698750Z
(o) Roundtrip (Unspecified):. 2000-03-20T13:02:03.0000000

*/

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