Quick Tip: Format Finder for .NET date strings

If you’ve written C# for any length of time, chances are you’ve become very familiar with the MSDN documentation pages about Standard Date and Time Format Strings and Custom Date and Time Format Strings. Any time you need to format a DateTime, those pages are invaluable.

I don’t find myself reading those pages often enough to warrant memorizing the strings, but I do read them often enough that it’s worth automating the lookup. So I wrote a simple webapp to do it.


I plan on skewing those curves by sharing this tool. So, here it is: Format Finder.

Format Finder presents you with a very specific point in time: Monday, March 1st, 2009 at 8:04AM. You then provide the desired output of that date, and Format Finder will provide the formatting strings for you. For example, if you type in 2009-03-01, Format Finder will return a custom format string of yyyy-MM-dd along with a explanation of each part. Alternatively, if you type in 3/01/2009, Format Finder will return the standard format string of d.

I hope other people find this as useful as I do. Let’s skew that XKCD curve!

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