I feel like something very basic is missing me,

$dateformat = {"Year", "Month", "Day", "Hour"};

date = DateString[$dateformat]

"Tuesday 12 May 2015"

How to get what DateString["Date"] gives using $dateformat and date?

According to the last example in documentation I thought this should work:

DateString[{date, $dateformat},"Date"]

DateString::str: String 2015051215 cannot be interpreted as a date in format {Year,Month,Day,Hour}. >>

but it isn't..

  • $\begingroup$ My initial thoughts are that it's a bug. The documentation leads you to think this will work: DateList[{"1505", {"YearShort", "Month"}}]. However, you need a character like "/" between the YearShort and Month. $\endgroup$ Commented May 12, 2015 at 13:23
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHale Yep, DateString[{StringInsert[date, "/", {3, 5, 7}], $dateformat}, "Date"] does not look nice. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ Based on the behavior of DateList[{"1505", {"YearShort"}}] I think YearShort automatically switches to Year if it finds more than two numeric characters in a row. So then it's complaining that it doesn't find a Month. $\endgroup$ Commented May 12, 2015 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHale Great. I don't feel like writing another report, I haven't got any answer for last three... $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 13:29
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I sent feedback. $\endgroup$ Commented May 12, 2015 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


Here's a simple fix/workaround. It appears that all you need to do to make your code work as intended is to make the following change to your $dateFormat assignment:

$dateFormat = {"Year", "", "Month", "", "Day", "", "Hour"}

This generates an identical string to your test example, but it appears that the empty strings are necessary to correctly parse the resulting text.

Using this modified date format,

DateString[{"2015051210", $dateFormat}, "Date"]


"Tuesday 12 May 2015"

as desired.

  • $\begingroup$ Good idea, I'm surprised it works ;) p.s. you can use Riffle, it will be more compact. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Kuba Yes I was a little surprised myself. Definitely curious behaviour, but perhaps you have to make it explicit that there are no delimiters in the string. I agree that Riffle makes things more compact (and robust). $\endgroup$ Commented May 12, 2015 at 17:33

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