When we are working with date time in SQL server, we may not get the format which we want in our application, so in that case, we would have to convert that basic SQL Server date format into the one we need, as every geographic location has different need of the date formats.

SQL server we have various ways to convert date time into the one we need, let's take a look on each one of them.

SQL Server provides a number of options you can use to format a date/time string. One of the first considerations is the actual date/time needed. The most common is the current date/time using getdate(). This provides the current date and time according to the server providing the date and time. If a universal date/time is needed, then getutcdate() should be used.

Let's try using above functions getdate() & getutcdate() to check what the output of the these functions, you can navigate to your SQL server management studio, and click on the new query


As you can see in the above-executed query we have got local datetime using getdate(), Current UTC time using getUTCdate() & using SYSDATETIME() function returns a datetime2(7) value that contains the date and time of the computer on which the instance of SQL Server is running.

Converting Datetime to Date using CONVERT()

Now, we know how to get datetime of the system using the above queries, but we would have to convert it into specific format let's try to get the only date from the datetime using CONVERT() function of SQL Server but before that here is the Syntax of Convert() function in SQL server

CONVERT ( data_type [ ( length ) ] , expression [ , style ] )  

Any valid expression.

The target data type. This includes xmlbigint, and sql_variant. Alias data types cannot be used.

An optional integer that specifies the length of the target data type. The default value is 30.

An integer expression that specifies how the CONVERT function will translate expression. For a style value of NULL, NULL is returned. data_type determines the range.

    ,CONVERT (date, GETDATE())  
    ,CONVERT (date, GETUTCDATE()); 

Executing the above query in SQL server gives


As you can see in the above image, we have got extracted only date using various default datetime functions available for SQL server 2008 & above. 

Extracting date from datetime in a specific format using CONVERT()

Now, we understand how to get only date from the datetime, but how to get specific date format like dd/MM/yyyy or dd-mm-yyyy or in any other format, so we can use CONVERT function to get the date in the specific format and here is the reference table which provides us the code of format's

Code Output Format
101 mm/dd/yyyy USA
102 yyyy.mm.dd ANSI
103 dd/mm/yyyy British/French
104 dd.mm.yyyy German
105 dd-mm-yyyy Italian
106 dd mon yyyy
107 Mon dd, yyyy
108 hh:mm:ss
109 mon dd yyyy hh:mi:ss:mmmAM (or PM) Default + millisec
110 mm-dd-yyyy USA
111 yyyy/mm/dd Japan
112 yyyymmdd ISO
113 dd mon yyyy hh:mi:ss:mmm (24h) Europe default + millisec
114 hh:mi:ss:mmm (24h)
120 yyyy-mm-dd hh:mi:ss (24h) ODBC canonical
121 yyyy-mm-dd hh:mi:ss.mmm (24h) ODBC canonical (with milliseconds) default for time, date, datetime2, and datetimeoffset
126 yyyy-mm-ddThh:mi:ss.mmm (no spaces) ISO8601
127 yyyy-mm-ddThh:mi:ss.mmmZ (no spaces) ISO8601 with time zone Z


Here are some of the codes used in sample query

SELECT CONVERT(varchar, SYSDATETIME(), 100) as Default_Format,
       CONVERT(varchar, SYSDATETIME(), 1) AS [USA format 1],  
	   CONVERT(varchar, SYSDATETIME(), 101) AS [USA format 2],
	   CONVERT(varchar, SYSDATETIME(), 2) AS [YY.MM.DD ANSI format],
	   CONVERT(varchar, SYSDATETIME(), 3) AS [DD/MM/YY Biritish format],
	   CONVERT(varchar, SYSDATETIME(), 4) AS [DD.MM.YY German format],
	   CONVERT(varchar, SYSDATETIME(), 113) AS [Europe Format],
	   CONVERT(varchar, SYSDATETIME(), 120) as ODBC_cannonical

When executed in the above query in SQL server, here is the output


You can also get all available Date formatting code available by executing the below query

DECLARE @counter INT = 0
DECLARE @date DATETIME = '2018-06-23 19:38:54.840'

CREATE TABLE #dateFormatsAvailable (dateFormatCode int, dateOutput varchar(40))

WHILE (@counter <= 150 )
      INSERT INTO #dateFormatsAvailable
      SELECT CONVERT(varchar, @counter), CONVERT(varchar,@date, @counter) 
      SET @counter = @counter + 1
      SET @counter = @counter + 1
      IF @counter >= 150

SELECT * FROM #dateFormatsAvailable

Output of the above query


Converting Datetime into specific date format without using CONVERT()

In SQL Server 2012 & above, we can use one function"FORMAT"  to format date instead of multiple functions.

Let me explain it with simple examples to convert date into different formats

Declare @Date as Date =Getdate()

Select Format(@Date,'yy.MM.dd') as [yy.MM.dd] 
Select Format(@Date,'yyyy.MM.dd') as [yyyy.MM.dd]
Select Format(@Date,'dd.MM.yyyy') as [dd.MM.yyyy] 
Select Format(@Date,'MM/dd/yy') as [MM/dd/yy] 
Select Format(@Date,'MM/dd/yyyy') as [MM/dd/yyyy] 
Select Format(@Date,'dd/MM/yyyy') as [dd/MM/yyyy]
Select Format(@Date,'dd-MM-yyyy') as [dd-MM-yyyy] 
Select Format(@Date,'dd MMM yyyy') as [dd MMM yyyy]
Select Format(@Date,'MMM dd, yyyy') as [MMM dd, yyyy]  
Select Format(@Date,'MM-dd-yy') as [MM-dd-yy] 
Select Format(@Date,'MM-dd-yyyy') as [MM-dd-yyyy]
Select Format(@Date,'yy/MM/dd') as [yy/MM/dd] 
Select Format(@Date,'yyyy/MM/dd') as [yyyy/MM/dd]
Select Format(@Date,'yyMMdd') as [yyMMdd]
Select Format(@Date,'yyyyMMdd') as [yyyyMMdd] 
Select Format(@Date,'yy-MM-dd') as [yy-MM-dd] 
Select Format(@Date,'yyyy-MM-dd') as [yyyy-MM-dd]

Here is the output of the sample query


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