Understanding Date Formatting in Java with Example 2024

Mahesh Sharma
2 min readFeb 26, 2024

Understanding Date Formatting in Java

Working with dates and times is a fundamental aspect of software development, and Java offers robust tools to handle these operations effectively. One crucial aspect of dealing with dates is formatting them in a way that is readable and meaningful to users.

Understanding Date Formatting in Java with Example 2024

In Java, the SimpleDateFormat class provides developers with the capability to format dates according to specific patterns. Let’s delve into how date formatting works in Java with examples.

The SimpleDateFormat Class

The SimpleDateFormat class in Java allows developers to format and parse dates according to patterns that define how dates should appear.

This class is part of the java.text package and provides a variety of symbols to represent different components of a date, such as year, month, day, hour, minute, and second.

Formatting Dates

To format a date using SimpleDateFormat, you need to create an instance of this class and specify the desired date pattern.

Here’s a simple example demonstrating how to format the current date:

import java.text.SimpleDateFormat;
import java.util.Date;

public class DateFormatExample {
public static void main(String[] args) {
Date currentDate = new Date();
SimpleDateFormat formatter = new SimpleDateFormat(“dd/MM/yyyy HH:mm:ss”);
String formattedDate = formatter.format(currentDate);
System.out.println(“Formatted Date: “ + formattedDate);

In this example:

We create a Date object representing the current date and time.
We create a SimpleDateFormat object with the pattern “dd/MM/yyyy HH:mm:ss”. This pattern specifies the date format as day/month/year followed by the time in hours:minutes:seconds format.

We use the format() method to format the current date according to the specified pattern.
Finally, we print the formatted date.

Date Format Patterns

The pattern used in SimpleDateFormat consists of various letters that represent different components of a date.

Here are some commonly used pattern letters:

dd: Day of the month (two digits)
MM: Month (two digits)
yyyy: Year (four digits)
HH: Hour in 24-hour format (two digits)
mm: Minute (two digits)
ss: Second (two digits)

These letters can be combined with other characters such as slashes, dashes, colons, or spaces to form the desired date format.

Customizing Date Formats

Developers can customize date formats according to their specific requirements. For example, to format a date as “YYYY-MM-DD”, the pattern would be “yyyy-MM-dd”.

Similarly, to include milliseconds in the formatted date, you can use “yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss.SSS”.


In Java, the SimpleDateFormat class provides powerful capabilities for formatting dates according to specific patterns.

By understanding the various pattern symbols and how to use them, developers can create date formats tailored to their application’s needs.

Effective date formatting enhances the readability and usability of software applications, improving the overall user experience.



Mahesh Sharma

Hey, I'm Mahesh Sharma, a passionate digital marketer with 10+ years of experience in the field. I'll be sharing topics such as SEO, SMO, PPC/ SEM.