Parsing Custom DateTime Formats

by May 4, 2012

Sometimes, date and time information may not conform to standards, and still you'd like to interpret that information correctly as date and time.

That's when you can use ParseExact() provided by the DateTime type. Here's an example:

PS> $timeinfo = '12 07 2012 18 02'

To tell PowerShell what piece of information belongs to which datetime part, you submit a template like this:

PS> $template = 'HH mm yyyy dd MM'

This template defines the custom format to specify hours first (HH), then minutes (mm), then the year (yyyy), the day (dd) and the month (MM).

Now let's use the template to interpret the raw datetime information:

PS> $timeinfo = '12 07 2012 18 02'
PS> $template = 'HH mm yyyy dd MM'
PS> [DateTime]::ParseExact($timeinfo, $template, $null)

Samstag, 18. Februar 2012 12:07:00

Voilá! To define patterns, here are the placeholders you can use (note that they are case-sensitive!):

d Day of month 1-31
dd Day of month 01-31
ddd Day of month as abbreviated weekday name
dddd Weekday name
h Hour from 1-12
H Hour from 1-24
hh Hour from 01-12
HH Hour from 01-24
m Minute from 0-59
mm Minute from 00-59
M Month from 1-12
MM Month from 01-12
MMM Abbreviated Month Name
MMMM Month name
s Seconds from 1-60
ss Seconds from 01-60
t A or P (for AM or PM)
tt AM or PM
yy Year as 2-digit
yyyy Year as 4-digit
z Timezone as one digit
zz Timezone as 2-digit
zzz Timezone

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