Retrieving Time and Date Information
This topic includes instructions for using the NLS functions in your applications to retrieve time and date information, as well as duration data. If your application must persist data, see Using Persistent Locale Data.
Windows Vista and later: The functions discussed in this topic can retrieve data from custom locales. In particular, they can be used to customize time and date formats. For example, it is possible to have a time format such as "hhHmm'ss''", resulting in time strings like "12H34'12''".
Your application can get strings for any time in a format that is appropriate for the current locale by using the GetTimeFormat and GetTimeFormatEx functions. Either function checks each of the time values in a valid SYSTEMTIME structure to determine that it is within the appropriate range of values, ignoring the date portions of the structure. If any of the time values are outside the correct range, the function fails with the code ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER. The function returns no errors for a bad format string, but simply forms the best possible time string.
Use Time Markers
Examples of time markers are "AM" and "PM" for English (United States) and "de." and "du." for Spanish (Mexico). If TIME_NOTIMEMARKER is specified in the call to GetTimeFormat or GetTimeFormatEx, the function removes the separator(s) preceding and following the time marker. If a time marker exists and the TIME_NOTIMEMARKER flag is not set in the call, the function localizes the time marker based on the specified locale identifier.
Remove Separators Preceding Minutes and Seconds
Use 24-Hour Time Format
If your application is supporting 24-hour time format, it can call GetTimeFormat or GetTimeFormatEx with TIME_FORCE24HOURFORMAT. Unless the TIME_NOTIMEMARKER flag is set, the function displays any existing time marker.
An application can retrieve strings for any date in a format that is appropriate for the current locale by using the GetDateFormat and GetDateFormatEx functions. Either function checks each of the date values year, month, day, and day of week in a valid SYSTEMTIME structure, ignoring the time portions of structure. The day name, abbreviated day name, month name, and abbreviated month name are all localized based on the locale identifier. If the day of the week is incorrect, the function uses the correct value, and returns no error. If any of the other date values are outside the correct range, the function fails with the code ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER. The function returns no errors for a bad format string, but simply forms the best possible date string.
If the application requires the date format for a particular calendar, it should use GetCalendarInfo or GetCalendarInfoEx, passing the appropriate Calendar Identifier. To return all date formats for a particular calendar, the application can use EnumCalendarInfoEx, EnumCalendarInfoExEx, EnumDateFormatsEx, or EnumDateFormatsExEx.
Specify an Alternate Calendar
The application can call GetDateFormat or GetDateFormatEx with the flag DATE_USE_ALT_CALENDAR to use the default format for the specified alternate calendar. If there is no default format for the alternate calendar, the function uses the user overrides.
Specify Date Type
If the application wants to use short date format, it specifies DATE_SHORTDATE in the call to GetDateFormat or GetDateFormatEx. A long date format can be obtained by specifying DATE_LONGDATE in the function call. If neither flag is specified, and the lpFormat is set to NULL, the function uses DATE_SHORTDATE as the default.
To obtain the short and long date format for the default locale calendar, the application should use the GetLocaleInfo or GetLocaleInfoEx function with the LOCALE_SSHORTDATE or LOCALE_SLONGDATE constant.
Specify the Date Format Picture
The application can specify a date format picture that GetDateFormat or GetDateFormatEx uses to form the date string. If the date format for the specified locale is required, the application can call the function with lpFormat set to NULL. If the parameter is not set to NULL, the function uses the locale only for information not specified in the format picture string, for example, the day and month names for the locale.
The application can enclose any text that should remain in its exact form within single quotation marks. A single quotation mark can also be used as an escape character to allow the mark itself to be displayed in the date string. However, the escape sequence must be enclosed within two single quotation marks. For example, to display the date as "May '93", the format string is: "MMMM ''''yy ".
Windows Vista and later: The functions GetDurationFormat and GetDurationFormatEx are available to obtain duration formats for locales, including custom locales. To obtain the default duration format for a locale, the application should use the GetLocaleInfo or GetLocaleInfoEx function with the LOCALE_SDURATION constant.