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Datetime from csv: format change from 2017b to 2018 and higher

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Emma on 17 Oct 2019
Commented: Walter Roberson on 7 Nov 2019
I have the following code to import data from csv file:
filename = '201810.csv';
scenariodata = readtable(filename, 'delimiter', ',');
Some of the data in the csv file is in date format HH:MM:SS, for example in field (3,8) the data is 3:32:11.
In Matlab 2017b, this field is imported as '3:32:11', whereas in newer versions it becomes just 3:32:11.
As a result, when I try
I get the following error message:
"Error using datetime (line 639) Input data must be a numeric array, a string array, a cell array containing character vectors, or a char matrix.".
How should I change my code for newer Matlab versions?
Thank you!

Accepted Answer

Ben Cunningham
Ben Cunningham on 17 Oct 2019
Edited: Ben Cunningham on 17 Oct 2019
Hi Emma,
I haven't checked between releases but I noticed that the 'readtable' function has a 'DatetimeType' name-value pair option:
'DatetimeType' The output type of datetime variables. The possible values
'datetime' - Return dates as MATLAB datetimes.
'text' - Return dates as text.
'exceldatenum' - Return dates as Excel serial day date numbers.
Therefore I suggest trying:
scenariodata = readtable(filename, 'delimiter', ',', 'DatetimeType', 'text');
Otherwise you could call:
whos scenariodata{3,8}
in the command line to see what data type is being used and handle it accordingly.
  1 Comment
Emma on 7 Nov 2019
Thank you, Ben.
I saw that the variable's type was "duration", not "datetime" upon importing it from the csv file, so according to your suggestion I tried:
readtable(filename, 'delimiter', ',', 'DurationType', 'text')
and got the desired results.
Thank you!

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More Answers (1)

Peter Perkins
Peter Perkins on 30 Oct 2019
readtable now reads timestamps as datetimes by default. I think you have two options:
1) If you are already getting datetimes in your table, there's no need to call datetime to convert text to datetime. Just delete that line.
2) As Ben says, you can turn off the "datetime by default" with DatetimeType.
Your example code is converting one element of a table. I hope you aren't actualloy doing it that way: you should have been able to do it with something like this:
scenariodata.TimeVariableName = datetime(scenariodata.TimeVariabeName,'InputFormat','HH:mm:ss','TimeZone','Asia/Tokyo')
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 7 Nov 2019
Add the duration column to the datetime column to get absolute times in datetime format.

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