formatDateTime to Format Dates in your flow with Power Automate

Generate a date in your Flow

Recently quite a few citizen developer asked me how to format dates in a flow in Power Automate.

Quite often people want to send dates in an email, however formatting these dates doesn’t seem to be that easy. In this post I will look at formatDateTime to format dates in Power Automate.

An example without formatting the date

In my example I’m just going to take the current date and send it out by email:

Send and email action

This now gives me the following email:

Date in email shown in standard UTC format

OK, that is ugly!

To get a proper date you might be happy with the first part. Or maybe you want to include the time as well but I still have to find the first person who would be happy with that T and Z in the date and time.

formatDateTime flow function in Power Automate

Now I add Flow’s formatDateTime function and a format string ‘dd-MM-yyyy’.

formatDateTime in Power Automate

Using this format and I will see that my date will appear in the European format of day-month-year.

Date shown in clean format

For the full overview of the format strings please have a look at the formatDateTime function documentation

The formatting options for formatDateTime, that you can use here are listed in the following table. Any of the format specifiers can be used in any kind of combination.

Format specifierDescriptionExamples
“d”The day of the month, from 1 through 31.

More information: The “d” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-01T13:45:30 -> 1

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 15
“dd”The day of the month, from 01 through 31.

More information: The “dd” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-01T13:45:30 -> 01

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 15
“ddd”The abbreviated name of the day of the week.

More information: The “ddd” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Mon (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Пн (ru-RU)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> lun. (fr-FR)
“dddd”The full name of the day of the week.

More information: The “dddd” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Monday (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> понедельник (ru-RU)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> lundi (fr-FR)
“f”The tenths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “f” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6170000 -> 6

2009-06-15T13:45:30.05 -> 0
“ff”The hundredths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “ff” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6170000 -> 61

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0050000 -> 00
“fff”The milliseconds in a date and time value.

More information: The “fff” Custom Format Specifier.
6/15/2009 13:45:30.617 -> 617

6/15/2009 13:45:30.0005 -> 000
“ffff”The ten thousandths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “ffff” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6175000 -> 6175

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000500 -> 0000
“fffff”The hundred thousandths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “fffff” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6175400 -> 61754

6/15/2009 13:45:30.000005 -> 00000
“ffffff”The millionths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “ffffff” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6175420 -> 617542

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000005 -> 000000
“fffffff”The ten millionths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “fffffff” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6175425 -> 6175425

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0001150 -> 0001150
“F”If non-zero, the tenths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “F” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6170000 -> 6

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0500000 -> (no output)
“FF”If non-zero, the hundredths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “FF” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6170000 -> 61

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0050000 -> (no output)
“FFF”If non-zero, the milliseconds in a date and time value.

More information: The “FFF” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6170000 -> 617

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0005000 -> (no output)
“FFFF”If non-zero, the ten thousandths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “FFFF” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.5275000 -> 5275

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000500 -> (no output)
“FFFFF”If non-zero, the hundred thousandths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “FFFFF” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6175400 -> 61754

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000050 -> (no output)
“FFFFFF”If non-zero, the millionths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “FFFFFF” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6175420 -> 617542

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000005 -> (no output)
“FFFFFFF”If non-zero, the ten millionths of a second in a date and time value.

More information: The “FFFFFFF” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6175425 -> 6175425

2009-06-15T13:45:30.0001150 -> 000115
“g”, “gg”The period or era.

More information: The “g” or “gg” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30.6170000 -> A.D.
“h”The hour, using a 12-hour clock from 1 to 12.

More information: The “h” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T01:45:30 -> 1

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 1
“hh”The hour, using a 12-hour clock from 01 to 12.

More information: The “hh” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T01:45:30 -> 01

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 01
“H”The hour, using a 24-hour clock from 0 to 23.

More information: The “H” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T01:45:30 -> 1

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 13
“HH”The hour, using a 24-hour clock from 00 to 23.

More information: The “HH” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T01:45:30 -> 01

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 13
“K”Time zone information.

More information: The “K” Custom Format Specifier.
With DateTime values:

2009-06-15T13:45:30, Kind Unspecified ->

2009-06-15T13:45:30, Kind Utc -> Z

2009-06-15T13:45:30, Kind Local -> -07:00 (depends on local computer settings)

With DateTimeOffset values:

2009-06-15T01:45:30-07:00 –> -07:00

2009-06-15T08:45:30+00:00 –> +00:00
“m”The minute, from 0 through 59.

More information: The “m” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T01:09:30 -> 9

2009-06-15T13:29:30 -> 29
“mm”The minute, from 00 through 59.

More information: The “mm” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T01:09:30 -> 09

2009-06-15T01:45:30 -> 45
“M”The month, from 1 through 12.

More information: The “M” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 6
“MM”The month, from 01 through 12.

More information: The “MM” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 06
“MMM”The abbreviated name of the month.

More information: The “MMM” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Jun (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> juin (fr-FR)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Jun (zu-ZA)
“MMMM”The full name of the month.

More information: The “MMMM” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> June (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> juni (da-DK)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> uJuni (zu-ZA)
“s”The second, from 0 through 59.

More information: The “s” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:09 -> 9
“ss”The second, from 00 through 59.

More information: The “ss” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:09 -> 09
“t”The first character of the AM/PM designator.

More information: The “t” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> P (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 午 (ja-JP)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> (fr-FR)
“tt”The AM/PM designator.

More information: The “tt” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> PM (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 午後 (ja-JP)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> (fr-FR)
“y”The year, from 0 to 99.

More information: The “y” Custom Format Specifier.
0001-01-01T00:00:00 -> 1

0900-01-01T00:00:00 -> 0

1900-01-01T00:00:00 -> 0

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 9

2019-06-15T13:45:30 -> 19
“yy”The year, from 00 to 99.

More information: The “yy” Custom Format Specifier.
0001-01-01T00:00:00 -> 01

0900-01-01T00:00:00 -> 00

1900-01-01T00:00:00 -> 00

2019-06-15T13:45:30 -> 19
“yyy”The year, with a minimum of three digits.

More information: The “yyy” Custom Format Specifier.
0001-01-01T00:00:00 -> 001

0900-01-01T00:00:00 -> 900

1900-01-01T00:00:00 -> 1900

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 2009
“yyyy”The year as a four-digit number.

More information: The “yyyy” Custom Format Specifier.
0001-01-01T00:00:00 -> 0001

0900-01-01T00:00:00 -> 0900

1900-01-01T00:00:00 -> 1900

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 2009
“yyyyy”The year as a five-digit number.

More information: The “yyyyy” Custom Format Specifier.
0001-01-01T00:00:00 -> 00001

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 02009
“z”Hours offset from UTC, with no leading zeros.

More information: The “z” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30-07:00 -> -7
“zz”Hours offset from UTC, with a leading zero for a single-digit value.

More information: The “zz” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30-07:00 -> -07
“zzz”Hours and minutes offset from UTC.

More information: The “zzz” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30-07:00 -> -07:00
“:”The time separator.

More information: The “:” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> : (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> . (it-IT)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> : (ja-JP)
“/”The date separator.

More Information: The “/” Custom Format Specifier.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> / (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> – (ar-DZ)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> . (tr-TR)
string

string
Literal string delimiter.

More information: Character literals.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 (“arr:” h:m t) -> arr: 1:45 P

2009-06-15T13:45:30 (‘arr:’ h:m t) -> arr: 1:45 P
%Defines the following character as a custom format specifier.

More information:Using Single Custom Format Specifiers.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 (%h) -> 1
\The escape character.

More information: Character literals and Using the Escape Character.
2009-06-15T13:45:30 (h \h) -> 1 h
Any other characterThe character is copied to the result string unchanged.

More information: Character literals.
2009-06-15T01:45:30 (arr hh:mm t) -> arr 01:45 A

Other options for formatDatetime

There are more options for the formatDateTime formatting. this is called the short date pattern. Just by using a single letter you can format dates.

As an example, the following code gives a nicely formatted long date

formatDateTime(utcnow(),'D')
formatDateTime to Format Dates in your flow with Power Automate 1

Format specifier

Description

Examples

“d”

Short date pattern.

More information:The Short Date (“d”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 6/15/2009 (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 15/06/2009 (fr-FR)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 2009/06/15 (ja-JP)

“D”

Long date pattern.

More information:The Long Date (“D”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Monday, June 15, 2009 (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 15 июня 2009 г. (ru-RU)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Montag, 15. Juni 2009 (de-DE)

“f”

Full date/time pattern (short time).

More information: The Full Date Short Time (“f”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Monday, June 15, 2009 1:45 PM (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> den 15 juni 2009 13:45 (sv-SE)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Δευτέρα, 15 Ιουνίου 2009 1:45 μμ (el-GR)

“F”

Full date/time pattern (long time).

More information: The Full Date Long Time (“F”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Monday, June 15, 2009 1:45:30 PM (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> den 15 juni 2009 13:45:30 (sv-SE)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Δευτέρα, 15 Ιουνίου 2009 1:45:30 μμ (el-GR)

“g”

General date/time pattern (short time).

More information: The General Date Short Time (“g”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 6/15/2009 1:45 PM (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 15/06/2009 13:45 (es-ES)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 2009/6/15 13:45 (zh-CN)

“G”

General date/time pattern (long time).

More information: The General Date Long Time (“G”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 6/15/2009 1:45:30 PM (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 15/06/2009 13:45:30 (es-ES)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 2009/6/15 13:45:30 (zh-CN)

“M”, “m”

Month/day pattern.

More information: The Month (“M”, “m”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> June 15 (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 15. juni (da-DK)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 15 Juni (id-ID)

“O”, “o”

Round-trip date/time pattern.

More information: The Round-trip (“O”, “o”) Format Specifier.

DateTime values:

2009-06-15T13:45:30 (DateTimeKind.Local) –> 2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000000-07:00

2009-06-15T13:45:30 (DateTimeKind.Utc) –> 2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000000Z

2009-06-15T13:45:30 (DateTimeKind.Unspecified) –> 2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000000

DateTimeOffset values:

2009-06-15T13:45:30-07:00 –> 2009-06-15T13:45:30.0000000-07:00

“R”, “r”

RFC1123 pattern.

More information: The RFC1123 (“R”, “r”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Mon, 15 Jun 2009 20:45:30 GMT

“s”

Sortable date/time pattern.

More information: The Sortable (“s”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 (DateTimeKind.Local) -> 2009-06-15T13:45:30

2009-06-15T13:45:30 (DateTimeKind.Utc) -> 2009-06-15T13:45:30

“t”

Short time pattern.

More information: The Short Time (“t”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 1:45 PM (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 13:45 (hr-HR)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 01:45 م (ar-EG)

“T”

Long time pattern.

More information: The Long Time (“T”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 1:45:30 PM (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 13:45:30 (hr-HR)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 01:45:30 م (ar-EG)

“u”

Universal sortable date/time pattern.

More information: The Universal Sortable (“u”) Format Specifier.

With a DateTime value: 2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 2009-06-15 13:45:30Z

With a DateTimeOffset value: 2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> 2009-06-15 20:45:30Z

“U”

Universal full date/time pattern.

More information: The Universal Full (“U”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Monday, June 15, 2009 8:45:30 PM (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> den 15 juni 2009 20:45:30 (sv-SE)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Δευτέρα, 15 Ιουνίου 2009 8:45:30 μμ (el-GR)

“Y”, “y”

Year month pattern.

More information: The Year Month (“Y”) Format Specifier.

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> June 2009 (en-US)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> juni 2009 (da-DK)

2009-06-15T13:45:30 -> Juni 2009 (id-ID)

Any other single character

Unknown specifier.

Throws a run-time FormatException.

Other uses for the formatDataTime flow function

You can use the formatDateTime flow function to format dates and that is the most common use.

When you want to get for example just the day of the month or if you just want to get the hour of the time you could use the formatDateTime flow function as well.

Other date formatting Power Automate posts

Format your dates in PowerApps

Convert your time faster in Power Apps to all time zones using Power Automate

12 thoughts on “formatDateTime to Format Dates in your flow with Power Automate

  1. So simple, when you know how. I went bald trying to get a sensible date format to work when Flow first came out. Bloody stupid US date formats! (UTC, is better, if unfriendly). Thanks Pieter

  2. Hi, Please can you help me with a date format issue.. I tried your example above and it worked, but when I try to use this “formatdatetime” expression on one of my own date fields it doesn’t work. For example, my date field “DateRequired”
    Can you please show me how this is put together in a string so that it displays in UK date format (i.e. non US format)?
    Many thanks
    Sue

    1. Hi Sue,

      You might find that different types of datasources present dates in different ways. I would collect the dates in question in a Compose action and then compare the date formats. Flow will look at the date as a string so that means that the exact text format is important.

  3. How does Flow/Power Automate handle blank or null dates? I’m running into a error trying to take a blank date submitted from Microsoft Forms and using Flow/PA to insert a new item in a SharePoint list.

    Error Message –
    Input parameter ‘item/Date_Field’ is required to be of type ‘String/date’. The runtime value ‘””‘ to be converted doesn’t have the expected format ‘String/date’.

      1. Agreed… But, any idea how to do that? I’ve tried various combinations of ” and null, and can’t get the right one…

        formatDateTime(null,’MM/dd/yyyy’)
        formatDateTime(”,’MM/dd/yyyy’)
        formatDateTime(‘ ‘,’MM/dd/yyyy’)

      2. Got it! For future reference…

        1. Create a variable called ‘Null’ and set it to a string value of ‘Null’
        2. In the flow, create a condition that checks the Form value – If blank, set a variable ‘DateVariable’ equal to a string value of ‘Null’; If not blank, set ‘DateVariable’ equal to the Form’s date value
        3. Use the following equation on the Create SharePoint Item for the date field:

        if(equals(variables(‘DateVariable’),variables(‘Null’)),null,variables(‘DateVariable’))

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