# What is the best way to convert DateTime to VarChar?

## Problem

I’m trying to convert a value from a DateTime variable to a varchar variable with the yyyy-mm-dd format (without time part).

How can I go about doing that?

## Solution #1

For all of the styles, here’s some test sql.

``````DECLARE @now datetime
SET @now = GETDATE()
select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 0) as output, 0 as style
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 1), 1
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 2), 2
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 3), 3
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 4), 4
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 5), 5
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 6), 6
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 7), 7
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 8), 8
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 9), 9
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 10), 10
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 11), 11
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 12), 12
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 13), 13
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 14), 14
--15 to 19 not valid
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 20), 20
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 21), 21
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 22), 22
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 23), 23
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 24), 24
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 25), 25
--26 to 99 not valid
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 100), 100
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 101), 101
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 102), 102
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 103), 103
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 104), 104
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 105), 105
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 106), 106
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 107), 107
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 108), 108
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 109), 109
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 110), 110
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 111), 111
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 112), 112
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 113), 113
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 114), 114
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 120), 120
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 121), 121
--122 to 125 not valid
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 126), 126
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 127), 127
--128, 129 not valid
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 130), 130
union select convert(nvarchar(MAX), @now, 131), 131
--132 not valid
order BY style
``````

Here’s the result

``````output                   style
Apr 28 2014  9:31AM          0
04/28/14                     1
14.04.28                     2
28/04/14                     3
28.04.14                     4
28-04-14                     5
28 Apr 14                    6
Apr 28, 14                   7
09:31:28                     8
Apr 28 2014  9:31:28:580AM   9
04-28-14                     10
14/04/28                     11
140428                       12
28 Apr 2014 09:31:28:580     13
09:31:28:580                 14
2014-04-28 09:31:28          20
2014-04-28 09:31:28.580      21
04/28/14  9:31:28 AM         22
2014-04-28                   23
09:31:28                     24
2014-04-28 09:31:28.580      25
Apr 28 2014  9:31AM          100
04/28/2014                   101
2014.04.28                   102
28/04/2014                   103
28.04.2014                   104
28-04-2014                   105
28 Apr 2014                  106
Apr 28, 2014                 107
09:31:28                     108
Apr 28 2014  9:31:28:580AM   109
04-28-2014                   110
2014/04/28                   111
20140428                     112
28 Apr 2014 09:31:28:580     113
09:31:28:580                 114
2014-04-28 09:31:28          120
2014-04-28 09:31:28.580      121
2014-04-28T09:31:28.580      126
2014-04-28T09:31:28.580      127
28 جمادى الثانية 1435  9:31:28:580AM    130
28/06/1435  9:31:28:580AM    131
``````

To save time, make nvarchar(max) shorter. Consider the following scenario:

``````select convert(nvarchar(11), GETDATE(), 0)
union select convert(nvarchar(max), GETDATE(), 0)
``````

outputs:

``````May 18 2018
May 18 2018  9:57AM
``````

## Solution #2

With Microsoft SQL Server, you can do the following:

``````--
-- Create test case
--
DECLARE @myDateTime DATETIME
SET @myDateTime = '2008-05-03'

--
-- Convert string
--
SELECT LEFT(CONVERT(VARCHAR, @myDateTime, 120), 10)
``````

## Solution #3

Try the following:

``````CONVERT(varchar(10), [MyDateTimecolumn], 20)
``````

Do the following for a whole date time, not simply a date:

``````CONVERT(varchar(23), [MyDateTimecolumn], 121)
``````

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms187928.aspx OR you can use the SQL Server CONVERT() function.

## Solution #4

FORMAT is a new function in SQL Server 2012: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee634924.aspx

You may also use custom date and time format strings like this: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee634398.aspx

These pages indicate that it is also available on SQL2008R2, but I don’t have one to test this.

Use this example (in Australian datetime):

``````FORMAT(VALUE,'dd/MM/yyyy h:mm:ss tt')
``````

## Solution #5

DATEPART is a useful tool (DATEPART, VARIABLE). Consider the following scenario:

``````DECLARE @DAY INT
DECLARE @MONTH INT
DECLARE @YEAR INT
DECLARE @DATE DATETIME
@DATE = GETDATE()
SELECT @DAY = DATEPART(DAY,@DATE)
SELECT @MONTH = DATEPART(MONTH,@DATE)
SELECT @YEAR = DATEPART(YEAR,@DATE)
``````