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Formatting dates

From: Access 2010: Queries in Depth

Video: Formatting dates

There are thousands of ways that dates can be valuable in your database and just as many variations on how they're formatted or displayed. They can be written longhand for use on business letters or abbreviated for use on payroll checks. They can be incorporated into serial, production, or batch ID numbers, or used for quarterly financial reporting. Because Access stores dates as serial numbers as we saw in the previous movie we have an infinite number of ways that we can display our data. One of the ways that we can do that is with the Format function. The Format syntax looks like this.

Formatting dates

There are thousands of ways that dates can be valuable in your database and just as many variations on how they're formatted or displayed. They can be written longhand for use on business letters or abbreviated for use on payroll checks. They can be incorporated into serial, production, or batch ID numbers, or used for quarterly financial reporting. Because Access stores dates as serial numbers as we saw in the previous movie we have an infinite number of ways that we can display our data. One of the ways that we can do that is with the Format function. The Format syntax looks like this.

It requires two pieces. It requires the expression that we want to format and this is where we want to plug in our DateField, and it requires some symbols. For the symbols we have a variety of options. We'll use a lowercase d to represent days, m represents months, y represents years. We can also use q for quarters, wd for weekdays, and ww for weeks of the year. We'll use these symbols in a variety of configurations. If we write one d that tells Access that we want to return a single digit or double digit day of the month.

If we use two ds, that tells Access that we wanted double digit day of the month. So for instance days 1 through 9 we'll get a leading 0. If we use three ds, that tells Access we want returned a three letter abbreviation for the week and if we use four ds, that tells Access that we want to return the full name of the day of the week. Months work the same way. We have the option to return a single or double digit month of the year, a three letter abbreviation, or the full name of the month. With years we have two options.

We can either return a two digit or a four digit year. So let's see how we can combine these symbols into various configurations to get different date formats. If we format our date like m-d-yy, we'll get a date that has a one digit month, a one digit day, and a two digit year separated by hyphens. If we use two mm/dd/yyyy, we'll get a two digit month, a slash, two digit day, a slash, and a four digit year.

Let's look at another. How about mmm, yyyy? This will return a three letter abbreviation for the month and the four digit year, separated by a comma. One more here dd mmmm, yyyy. We'll get a two-digit day, the full name of the month, and the four digit year. Let's jump into Access and we'll use the Expression Builder to build a couple of these functions. We'll start with the Create tab and go into Query Design. Next, we'll add our Orders table. Let's add our OrderID and the OrderDate field.

In the third field we'll right-click and select the Builder. So let's start typing out our Format function. We'll write the word Format(. Access's pop-up help here will tell us that the next thing we need to supply is an expression. This is the date that we want to format. Let's drill into our database to find it. We'll going into the TwoTrees database into the Tables folder and into our Orders table. Here we could double-click and select the OrderDate. Now we need to supply the symbols to help us format it.

We'll add a comma and a quotation mark and then we'll put in our symbols. So let's try m.d.yy. We'll add a closing quote and a closing parenthesis to finish the Format statement. Let's go ahead and say OK and run our query. Access has formatted the dates for our specifications using the symbols. We have a period as a separator. Let's go back to our Design view and let's expand this out. We'll see that Access has actually modified our code a little bit by putting these slashes in.

Now the slashes mean that the next character is literally what we want. The period has special meaning in SQL, so Access put the slashes in here to specify that we want to actually include a period and this isn't mean something different in SQL view. Let's go ahead and highlight this out and we'll change our function a little. Let's be really verbose now. dddd, mmmm dd, yyyy. Let's see what this does.

Go ahead and click Run and we'll expand this out. We'll see that Access returns a date like Monday, January 10, 2005. So as you can see, the Format function can be pretty flexible at how you display dates and can satisfy almost any reporting need that you may require.

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This video is part of

Image for Access 2010: Queries in Depth
Access 2010: Queries in Depth

46 video lessons · 13620 viewers

Adam Wilbert
Author

 
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  1. 9m 9s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
    3. Introducing the database
      4m 29s
    4. Previewing the course
      2m 49s
  2. 17m 17s
    1. Understanding queries
      3m 31s
    2. Following naming conventions and best practices
      2m 56s
    3. Using the Query Wizard
      5m 21s
    4. Exploring the design interface
      5m 29s
  3. 26m 39s
    1. Defining criteria
      5m 40s
    2. Understanding comparison operators
      3m 19s
    3. Defining the column headers
      2m 49s
    4. Exploring the property sheet
      7m 32s
    5. Printing query results
      2m 41s
    6. Working with joins
      4m 38s
  4. 14m 14s
    1. Understanding parameter queries
      4m 27s
    2. Obtaining parameters from forms
      5m 17s
    3. Creating a combo box
      4m 30s
  5. 23m 24s
    1. Understanding the Totals field
      5m 31s
    2. Creating aggregate calculations
      3m 31s
    3. Exploring the Expression Builder interface
      4m 28s
    4. Using mathematical operators
      5m 46s
    5. Applying text functions
      4m 8s
  6. 24m 23s
    1. Understanding dates as serial numbers
      2m 42s
    2. Specifying a range of dates or times
      3m 47s
    3. Formatting dates
      4m 31s
    4. Using other Date/Time functions
      3m 47s
    5. Defining today's date
      2m 41s
    6. Calculating time intervals
      6m 55s
  7. 20m 9s
    1. Introducing the conditional IIf function
      2m 57s
    2. Creating an IIf function
      7m 31s
    3. Nesting IIf functions
      4m 57s
    4. Using the Switch function
      4m 44s
  8. 20m 41s
    1. Understanding the reporting tool
      2m 13s
    2. Building the form
      6m 57s
    3. Building the query
      5m 4s
    4. Building the report
      3m 30s
    5. Finalizing the reporting tool
      2m 57s
  9. 25m 37s
    1. Finding duplicate records
      2m 17s
    2. Identifying unmatched records
      2m 29s
    3. Creating crosstab results
      2m 57s
    4. Creating backups
      1m 29s
    5. Creating update queries
      3m 22s
    6. Making, deleting, and appending records
      5m 36s
    7. Uniting tables
      3m 16s
    8. Embedding SQL code in queries
      4m 11s
  10. 1m 0s
    1. Next Steps
      1m 0s

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