datetime is the best data type for representing
points in time.
datetime values have flexible display
formats and up to nanosecond precision, and can account for time zones,
daylight saving time, and leap seconds. However, if you work with
code authored in MATLAB® R2014a or earlier, or if you share code
with others who use such a version, you might need to work with dates
and time stored in one of these three formats:
Date String — A character vector.
Example: Thursday, August 23, 2012 9:45:44.946 AM
Date Vector — A 1-by-6 numeric vector containing the year, month, day, hour, minute, and second.
Example: [2012 8 23 9 45 44.946]
Serial Date Number —
A single number equal to the number of days since January 0, 0000 in the proleptic ISO
calendar (specifying use of the Gregorian calendar). Serial date numbers are useful as
inputs to some MATLAB functions that do not accept the
duration data types.
Date strings, vectors, and numbers can be stored as arrays of
values. Store multiple date strings in a cell array of character vectors,
multiple date vectors in an
m-by-6 matrix, and
multiple serial date numbers in a matrix.
You can convert any of these formats to a
datetime function. If your existing MATLAB code
expects a serial date number or date vector, use the
respectively, to convert a
datetime array to the
expected data format. To convert a
to character vectors, use the
Starting in R2016b, you also can convert a
to a string array with the
A date string can be a character vector composed of fields related to a specific date and/or time. There are several ways to represent dates and times in text format. For example, all of the following are character vectors representing August 23, 2010 at 04:35:42 PM:
'23-Aug-2010 04:35:06 PM' 'Wednesday, August 23' '08/23/10 16:35' 'Aug 23 16:35:42.946'
A date string includes characters that separate the fields, such as the hyphen, space, and colon used here:
d = '23-Aug-2010 16:35:42'
Convert one or more date strings to a
datetime function. For best performance,
specify the format of the input date strings as an input to
The specifiers that
datetime uses to describe date and time
formats differ from the specifiers that the
For a complete list of date and time format specifiers, see the
Format property of the
datetime data type.
t = datetime(d,'InputFormat','dd-MMM-yyyy HH:mm:ss')
t = datetime 23-Aug-2010 16:35:42
Although the date string,
d, and the
look similar, they are not equal. View the size and data type of each
whos d t
Name Size Bytes Class Attributes d 1x20 40 char t 1x1 17 datetime
datetime array to a character vector
example, convert the current date and time to a timestamp to append
to a file name.
t = datetime('now','Format','yyyy-MM-dd''T''HHmmss')
t = datetime 2017-01-03T151105
S = char(t); filename = ['myTest_',S]
filename = 'myTest_2017-01-03T151105'
Starting in R2016b, you can use the
to create a string array. If a string array contains date strings,
then you can convert the string array to a
datetime function. Similarly, you can
datetime array to a string array with
Convert a string array. MATLAB displays strings in double
quotes. For best performance, specify the format of the input date
strings as an input to
str = ["24-Oct-2016 11:58:17"; "19-Nov-2016 09:36:29"; "12-Dec-2016 10:09:06"})
str = 3×1 string array "24-Oct-2016 11:58:17" "19-Nov-2016 09:36:29" "12-Dec-2016 10:09:06"
t = datetime(str,'InputFormat','dd-MMM-yyyy HH:mm:ss')
t = 3×1 datetime array 24-Oct-2016 11:58:17 19-Nov-2016 09:36:29 12-Dec-2016 10:09:06
datetime value to a string.
t = datetime('25-Dec-2016 06:12:34'); str = string(t)
str = "25-Dec-2016 06:12:34"
A date vector is a 1-by-6 vector of double-precision numbers. Elements of a date vector are integer-valued, except for the seconds element, which can be fractional. Time values are expressed in 24-hour notation. There is no AM or PM setting.
A date vector is arranged in the following order:
year month day hour minute second
The following date vector represents 10:45:07 AM on October 24, 2012:
[2012 10 24 10 45 07]
Convert one or more date vectors to a
t = datetime([2012 10 24 10 45 07])
t = datetime 24-Oct-2012 10:45:07
Instead of using
datevec to extract components
of datetime values, use functions such as
y = year(t)
y = 2012
Alternatively, access the corresponding property, such as
y = t.Year
y = 2012
A serial date number represents a calendar date as the number of days that has passed since a fixed base date. In MATLAB, serial date number 1 is January 1, 0000.
Serial time can represent fractions of days beginning at midnight;
for example, 6 p.m. equals 0.75 serial days. So the character vector
6:00 PM' in MATLAB is date number 731885.75.
Convert one or more serial date numbers to a
datetime function. Specify the type of
date number that is being converted:
t = datetime(731885.75,'ConvertFrom','datenum')
t = datetime 31-Oct-2003 18:00:00
Some MATLAB functions accept numeric data types but not
datetime values as inputs. To apply these functions to your date and
time data, convert datetime values to meaningful numeric values. Then,
call the function. For example, the
double inputs, but not
Suppose that you have a
datetime array of dates
spanning the course of a research study or experiment.
t = datetime(2014,6,18) + calmonths(1:4)
t = 1×4 datetime array 18-Jul-2014 18-Aug-2014 18-Sep-2014 18-Oct-2014
Subtract the origin value. For example, the origin value might be the starting day of an experiment.
dt = t - datetime(2014,7,1)
dt = 1×4 duration array 408:00:00 1152:00:00 1896:00:00 2616:00:00
dt is a
dt to a
of values in units of years, days, hours, minutes, or seconds using
seconds function, respectively.
x = hours(dt)
x = 408 1152 1896 2616
double array as the input to the
y = log(x)
y = 6.0113 7.0493 7.5475 7.8694