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strftime(p1) public

Formats time according to the directives in the given format string. The directives begins with a percent (%) character. Any text not listed as a directive will be passed through to the output string.

The directive consists of a percent (%) character, zero or more flags, optional minimum field width, optional modifier and a conversion specifier as follows.

%<flags><width><modifier><conversion>

Flags:

-  don't pad a numerical output.
_  use spaces for padding.
0  use zeros for padding.
^  upcase the result string.
#  change case.
:  use colons for %z.

The minimum field width specifies the minimum width.

The modifier is “E” and “O”. They are ignored.

Format directives:

Date (Year, Month, Day):
  %Y - Year with century (can be negative, 4 digits at least)
          -0001, 0000, 1995, 2009, 14292, etc.
  %C - year / 100 (round down.  20 in 2009)
  %y - year % 100 (00..99)

  %m - Month of the year, zero-padded (01..12)
          %_m  blank-padded ( 1..12)
          %-m  no-padded (1..12)
  %B - The full month name (``January'')
          %^B  uppercased (``JANUARY'')
  %b - The abbreviated month name (``Jan'')
          %^b  uppercased (``JAN'')
  %h - Equivalent to %b

  %d - Day of the month, zero-padded (01..31)
          %-d  no-padded (1..31)
  %e - Day of the month, blank-padded ( 1..31)

  %j - Day of the year (001..366)

Time (Hour, Minute, Second, Subsecond):
  %H - Hour of the day, 24-hour clock, zero-padded (00..23)
  %k - Hour of the day, 24-hour clock, blank-padded ( 0..23)
  %I - Hour of the day, 12-hour clock, zero-padded (01..12)
  %l - Hour of the day, 12-hour clock, blank-padded ( 1..12)
  %P - Meridian indicator, lowercase (``am'' or ``pm'')
  %p - Meridian indicator, uppercase (``AM'' or ``PM'')

  %M - Minute of the hour (00..59)

  %S - Second of the minute (00..60)

  %L - Millisecond of the second (000..999)
  %N - Fractional seconds digits, default is 9 digits (nanosecond)
          %3N  millisecond (3 digits)
          %6N  microsecond (6 digits)
          %9N  nanosecond (9 digits)
          %12N picosecond (12 digits)

Time zone:
  %z - Time zone as hour and minute offset from UTC (e.g. +0900)
          %:z - hour and minute offset from UTC with a colon (e.g. +09:00)
          %::z - hour, minute and second offset from UTC (e.g. +09:00:00)
  %Z - Time zone abbreviation name

Weekday:
  %A - The full weekday name (``Sunday'')
          %^A  uppercased (``SUNDAY'')
  %a - The abbreviated name (``Sun'')
          %^a  uppercased (``SUN'')
  %u - Day of the week (Monday is 1, 1..7)
  %w - Day of the week (Sunday is 0, 0..6)

ISO 8601 week-based year and week number:
The week 1 of YYYY starts with a Monday and includes YYYY-01-04.
The days in the year before the first week are in the last week of
the previous year.
  %G - The week-based year
  %g - The last 2 digits of the week-based year (00..99)
  %V - Week number of the week-based year (01..53)

Week number:
The week 1 of YYYY starts with a Sunday or Monday (according to %U
or %W).  The days in the year before the first week are in week 0.
  %U - Week number of the year.  The week starts with Sunday.  (00..53)
  %W - Week number of the year.  The week starts with Monday.  (00..53)

Seconds since the Epoch:
  %s - Number of seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC.

Literal string:
  %n - Newline character (\n)
  %t - Tab character (\t)
  %% - Literal ``%'' character

Combination:
  %c - date and time (%a %b %e %T %Y)
  %D - Date (%m/%d/%y)
  %F - The ISO 8601 date format (%Y-%m-%d)
  %v - VMS date (%e-%^b-%4Y)
  %x - Same as %D
  %X - Same as %T
  %r - 12-hour time (%I:%M:%S %p)
  %R - 24-hour time (%H:%M)
  %T - 24-hour time (%H:%M:%S)

This method is similar to strftime() function defined in ISO C and POSIX. Several directives (%a, %A, %b, %B, %c, %p, %r, %x, %X, %E*, %O* and %Z) are locale dependent in the function. However this method is locale independent since Ruby 1.9. So, the result may differ even if a same format string is used in other systems such as C. It is good practice to avoid %x and %X because there are corresponding locale independent representations, %D and %T.

Examples:

t = Time.new(2007,11,19,8,37,48,"-06:00") #=> 2007-11-19 08:37:48 -0600
t.strftime("Printed on %m/%d/%Y")   #=> "Printed on 11/19/2007"
t.strftime("at %I:%M%p")            #=> "at 08:37AM"

Various ISO 8601 formats:

%Y%m%d           => 20071119                  Calendar date (basic)
%F               => 2007-11-19                Calendar date (extended)
%Y-%m            => 2007-11                   Calendar date, reduced accuracy, specific month
%Y               => 2007                      Calendar date, reduced accuracy, specific year
%C               => 20                        Calendar date, reduced accuracy, specific century
%Y%j             => 2007323                   Ordinal date (basic)
%Y-%j            => 2007-323                  Ordinal date (extended)
%GW%V%u          => 2007W471                  Week date (basic)
%G-W%V-%u        => 2007-W47-1                Week date (extended)
%GW%V            => 2007W47                   Week date, reduced accuracy, specific week (basic)
%G-W%V           => 2007-W47                  Week date, reduced accuracy, specific week (extended)
%H%M%S           => 083748                    Local time (basic)
%T               => 08:37:48                  Local time (extended)
%H%M             => 0837                      Local time, reduced accuracy, specific minute (basic)
%H:%M            => 08:37                     Local time, reduced accuracy, specific minute (extended)
%H               => 08                        Local time, reduced accuracy, specific hour
%H%M%S,%L        => 083748,000                Local time with decimal fraction, comma as decimal sign (basic)
%T,%L            => 08:37:48,000              Local time with decimal fraction, comma as decimal sign (extended)
%H%M%S.%L        => 083748.000                Local time with decimal fraction, full stop as decimal sign (basic)
%T.%L            => 08:37:48.000              Local time with decimal fraction, full stop as decimal sign (extended)
%H%M%S%z         => 083748-0600               Local time and the difference from UTC (basic)
%T%:z            => 08:37:48-06:00            Local time and the difference from UTC (extended)
%Y%m%dT%H%M%S%z  => 20071119T083748-0600      Date and time of day for calendar date (basic)
%FT%T%:z         => 2007-11-19T08:37:48-06:00 Date and time of day for calendar date (extended)
%Y%jT%H%M%S%z    => 2007323T083748-0600       Date and time of day for ordinal date (basic)
%Y-%jT%T%:z      => 2007-323T08:37:48-06:00   Date and time of day for ordinal date (extended)
%GW%V%uT%H%M%S%z => 2007W471T083748-0600      Date and time of day for week date (basic)
%G-W%V-%uT%T%:z  => 2007-W47-1T08:37:48-06:00 Date and time of day for week date (extended)
%Y%m%dT%H%M      => 20071119T0837             Calendar date and local time (basic)
%FT%R            => 2007-11-19T08:37          Calendar date and local time (extended)
%Y%jT%H%MZ       => 2007323T0837Z             Ordinal date and UTC of day (basic)
%Y-%jT%RZ        => 2007-323T08:37Z           Ordinal date and UTC of day (extended)
%GW%V%uT%H%M%z   => 2007W471T0837-0600        Week date and local time and difference from UTC (basic)
%G-W%V-%uT%R%:z  => 2007-W47-1T08:37-06:00    Week date and local time and difference from UTC (extended)
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September 12, 2008
24 thanks

Readable strftime

%a - The abbreviated weekday name (“Sun”)

%A - The full weekday name (“Sunday”)

%b - The abbreviated month name (“Jan”)

%B - The full month name (“January”)

%c - The preferred local date and time representation

%d - Day of the month (01..31) %H - Hour of the day, 24-hour clock (00..23)

%I - Hour of the day, 12-hour clock (01..12)

%j - Day of the year (001..366)

%m - Month of the year (01..12) %M - Minute of the hour (00..59)

%p - Meridian indicator (“AM” or “PM”)

%S - Second of the minute (00..60)

%U - Week number of the current year, starting with the first Sunday as the first day of the first week (00..53)

%W - Week number of the current year, starting with the first Monday as the first day of the first week (00..53)

%w - Day of the week (Sunday is 0, 0..6)

%x - Preferred representation for the date alone, no time

%X - Preferred representation for the time alone, no date

%y - Year without a century (00..99) %Y - Year with century

%Z - Time zone name %% - Literal “%” character t = Time.now t.strftime(“Printed on %m/%d/%Y”) #=> “Printed on 04/09/2003” t.strftime(“at %I:%M%p”) #=> “at 08:56AM”

March 27, 2009
4 thanks

Hour with/without preceding zero

One gotcha is the difference between the hour in 12 hour time with and without a preceding zero. In some fonts they look the same.

With preceding zero (capital I)

Time.now.strftime("%I:%M") # => 05:21

Without preceding zero (lowercase L)

Time.now.strftime("%l:%M") # => 5:21
February 5, 2010
3 thanks

Rmoving preceding 0's

In most *nix system, adding a - after the % will remove preceding 0s.

So %-d for a single digit day, or %-I for a single digit hour, etc.

March 12, 2010
3 thanks

Complete Formatting Codes

NOTE: Some of these seem only to work for DateTime (e.g. %L, %N)

%a - The abbreviated weekday name (“Sun”)

%A - The full weekday name (“Sunday”)

%b - The abbreviated month name (“Jan”)

%B - The full month name (“January”)

%c - The preferred local date and time representation

%C - Century (20 in 2009)

%d - Day of the month (01..31)

%D - Date (%m/%d/%y)

%e - Day of the month, blank-padded ( 1..31)

%F - Equivalent to %Y-%m-%d (the ISO 8601 date format)

%h - Equivalent to %b

%H - Hour of the day, 24-hour clock (00..23)

%I - Hour of the day, 12-hour clock (01..12)

%j - Day of the year (001..366)

%k - hour, 24-hour clock, blank-padded ( 0..23)

%l - hour, 12-hour clock, blank-padded ( 0..12)

%L - Millisecond of the second (000..999)

%m - Month of the year (01..12)

%M - Minute of the hour (00..59)

%n - Newline (n)

%N - Fractional seconds digits, default is 9 digits (nanosecond)

  • %3N millisecond (3 digits)

  • %6N microsecond (6 digits)

  • %9N nanosecond (9 digits)

%p - Meridian indicator (“AM” or “PM”)

%P - Meridian indicator (“am” or “pm”)

%r - time, 12-hour (same as %I:%M:%S %p)

%R - time, 24-hour (%H:%M)

%s - Number of seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC.

%S - Second of the minute (00..60)

%t - Tab character (t)

%T - time, 24-hour (%H:%M:%S)

%u - Day of the week as a decimal, Monday being 1. (1..7)

%U - Week number of the current year, starting with the first Sunday as the first day of the first week (00..53)

%v - VMS date (%e-%b-%Y)

%V - Week number of year according to ISO 8601 (01..53)

%W - Week number of the current year, starting with the first Monday as the first day of the first week (00..53)

%w - Day of the week (Sunday is 0, 0..6)

%x - Preferred representation for the date alone, no time

%X - Preferred representation for the time alone, no date

%y - Year without a century (00..99)

%Y - Year with century

%z - Time zone as hour offset from UTC (e.g. +0900)

%Z - Time zone name

%% - Literal “%” character

t = Time.now                        #=> 2007-11-19 08:37:48 -0600
t.strftime("Printed on %m/%d/%Y")   #=> "Printed on 11/19/2007"
t.strftime("at %I:%M%p")            #=> "at 08:37AM"
February 25, 2009
0 thanks

Always a String

Remember that even if you ask for one field that is a number, a String will be returned:

Time.now.strftime("%j") #=> "055"
June 28, 2012
0 thanks

see also – similar methods

See also DateTime#strftime and Date#strftime . (They work similarly, but have different APIdock notes.)