There are similar questions to this like list search but this question is focused on finding at subset of dates in DateList format within a range of specified dates from the original key list. The actual list of events is large at ~300,000 x 60 table covering 18 months of activities. The dates are indexed but this maybe not the best approach for find the subset items. I have generated a sample set of the same format using

sampledata = Table[DateString[DatePlus[DateList[][[1 ;; 3]],
  RandomInteger[547]], {"Month",",", "Day", ",", "Year"}], {i, 2000}];

I am attempting to use the keys from position index to

dates = PositionIndex[ DateList[{#, {"Month", "Day", "Year"}}][[1 ;; 3]] & /@ sampledata]

but the search method may be too slow to embed in a Manipulate loop with the date limits dynamically selected from the keys to display the other data associated with the dates.

upperlimit = {2015, 1, 30};
lowerlimit = {2015, 1, 15};

datekeys = Flatten[Position[(DateDifference[#, upperlimit ] > Quantity[0, "Days"] 
&& DateDifference[#, lowerlimit] < Quantity[0, "Days"]) & /@ dates, True]]

selecteddates = Sort[Flatten[dateindex[dates[[#]]] & /@ datekeys]]

Gives the index of the original data list


I chose this method to generate the date index outside of the Manipulate call since the other functions are fast. Any suggestions on how to speed up the process?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could store a copy of the dates in AbsoluteTime and use Between to select the dates in a given range? $\endgroup$
    – John McGee
    Nov 30, 2015 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ Related: mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/64137 $\endgroup$
    – Edmund
    Nov 30, 2015 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ have you considered DatePattern? $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2015 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


Try working with DateObjects instead of strings from DateString.

sampleDates = 
  DateObject[(FromDigits /@ StringSplit[#, ","])[[{3, 1, 2}]]] & /@ sampledata;

{upperlimit, lowerlimit} = 
  DateObject/@ {{2017, 1, 30}, {2017, 1, 1}};

With everything as DateObjects the matching does not need to translate from a string into a date for every comparison. Now operators like Between can be used directly.

selecteddates = 
  Flatten[Position[sampleDates, #] & /@ 
    Select[sampleDates, Between[{lowerlimit, upperlimit}]]];


If you want to view dates in that particular format then use the DataFormat option of DateObject.

Hope this helps.

  • $\begingroup$ I tried Parallelize@Select to try and speed it up but it doesn't help as it does not parallel select. $\endgroup$
    – Edmund
    Dec 2, 2015 at 9:25

Adapting Edmund's answer to Dataset - given sampleDates:

ds = Dataset[sampleDates][
 Select[Between[DateObject@{{2017, 1, 1}, {2017, 1, 30}}]]]

Then, can easily post process, eg, makeshift calendar:

ds[GroupBy[DateValue[#, "Week"] &] /* KeySort, Sort]

enter image description here

Who knows why Jan 1 is in week 52.


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