[C#] Format DateTime as String Examples

Some examples and tips on C# DateTime formatting using string.Format() or .ToString() methods.

Standard DateTime format

Standard formats are typically used when you need a fast string representation of your DateTime object based on current culture.

DateTime date = DateTime.Now;
// Short date:
string.Format("{0:d}", date)   // 8/4/2020
// Long date:
string.Format("{0:D}", date)   // Tuesday, August 4, 2020 
// Short time:
string.Format("{0:t}", date)   // 5:16 AM
// Long time:
string.Format("{0:T}", date)   // 5:16:20 AM
// Full date/time (short time):
string.Format("{0:f}", date)   // Tuesday, August 4, 2020 5:16 AM
// Full date/time (long time):
string.Format("{0:F}", date)   // Tuesday, August 4, 2020 5:16:20 AM
// General  date/time (long time):
string.Format("{0:g}", date)   // 8/4/2020 5:16 AM
// General  date/time (long time):
string.Format("{0:G}", date)   // 8/4/2020 5:16:20 AM
// Sortable date/time:
string.Format("{0:s}", date)   // 2020-08-04T05:16:20

Custom DateTime format

Custom formats are useful when you need more flexibility on the output string format.

DateTime date = DateTime.Now;
string.Format("{0:MM/dd/yyyy}", date)   // 08/04/2020
string.Format("{0:MMMM dd, yyyy}", date)// August 04, 2020
string.Format("{0:MMM yyyy}", date)     // Aug 2020
string.Format("{0:hh:mm tt}", date)     // 05:16 AM

// Year patterns:
string.Format("{0:yy yyy yyyy}", date)  // 20 2020 2020
// Month patterns:
string.Format("{0:MM MMM MMMM}", date)  // 08 Aug August
// Day patterns:
string.Format("{0:dd ddd dddd}", date)  // 04 Tue Tuesday
// Hour
string.Format("{0:hh HH tt}", date)     // 05 05 AM
// Minute, second, second fraction 
string.Format("{0:mm ss ffff}", date)   // 16 20 1157

Format DateTime for a specific culture

When you format a DateTime with DateTime.ToString() you can also specify the culture to use.


using System.Globalization;
// ...
DateTime date = DateTime.Now;
// InvariantCulture 
CultureInfo invC = CultureInfo.InvariantCulture;
date.ToString("f", invC)        // Tuesday, 04 August 2020 05:16 
date.ToString("d", invC)        // 08/04/2020 
date.ToString("t", invC)        // 05:16 
// German CultureInfo 
CultureInfo deC = new CultureInfo("de-De");
date.ToString("f", deC)        // Dienstag, 4. August 2020 05:16 
date.ToString("d", deC)        // 04.08.2020 
date.ToString("t", deC)        // 05:16 
// French CultureInfo 
CultureInfo frC = new CultureInfo("fr-FR");
date.ToString("f", frC)        // mardi 4 août 2020 05:16 
date.ToString("d", frC)        // 04/08/2020 
date.ToString("t", frC)        // 05:16 
// Spanish CultureInfo 
CultureInfo esC = new CultureInfo("es-ES");
date.ToString("f", esC)        // martes, 4 de agosto de 2020 5:16 
date.ToString("d", esC)        // 04/08/2020 
date.ToString("t", esC)        // 5:16 

    

Character escape and text

Any characters not used by the formatter is reported in the result string. If you need to enter text with reserved characters that must be inserted between two ' (single quote).

DateTime date = DateTime.Now;
// Escaped date text
string.Format("{0:'y:' yyyy' m:' M 'd:' d}", date)  // y: 2020 m: 8 d: 4 
// Force time format to use ':' as separator ()
string.Format("{0:HH':'mm}", date)                  // 05:16

TOOL: Test you format string

A simple tool for test your format string.

string.Format("
", DateTime.Now)