Setting the date format on SharePoint's Central Admin Site

This blew me away – Central Admin in SharePoint 2007 doesn’t have any ‘Regional Settings’. Now, at one level, this might make sense – perhaps you always want it to match, say, the server time, or UTC time. I’m not convinced, but it might make sense.

<rant>What absolutely doesn’t make sense is that the date format it uses is the stupid American ‘mm/dd/yyyy‘ format. Why can the US not accept that the rest of the Gregorian calendar using world (i.e. nearly everywhere else) uses a format of ‘dd/mm/yyyy‘? I mean, isn’t sensible to have a format that offers a gradiated precision of time, rather than dumping the most specific part of it in the middle? Or, if we wanted to accept that central admin will probably only be used by techies, what’s wrong with ‘yyyy-mm-dd‘? Hell, I’d nearly prefer Javascript’s ‘milliseconds since the start of 1970‘ format (nearly, but not quite).

Make the format configurable, or use a standard format like ‘yyyy-mm-dd’. </rant>

I did find some solutions though – I particularly like the way that is transpires that the regional settings page is there, but that you have to enter the URL by hand…

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Setting the date format on SharePoint's Central Admin Site

33 thoughts on “Setting the date format on SharePoint's Central Admin Site

  1. Steve Chen says:

    Hello,

    as a feature in MOSS 2007, you can add several language packs and in order to that, it wouldnt make sence to change “regional settings” on central page, because it would afffect all sites. If you would have a site collection with differnt language and regional settings, the central admin page would overwrite these, which should not be expected. To change the regional options for central amdin page you can use the “Mysites” also there. here xou can specify your prefered settings as personal.

    Date format globally:
    There are lots of blogs about date formats in Sharepoint anyway. As I know by now, SharePoint uses hardcoded default settings for regional options. Maybe with a future service pack or hot fix they will deploy a resoltuion to configure the international ISO 8601 standard.

    See also: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/iso8601.html or http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/iso-time.html

    Like

  2. Yup, I get that in some contexts regional settings wouldn’t make sense. So why choose a date format that is only used, AFAIK, in the USA? (Though I’m not sure what Canada does, to be fair).

    Also, most of our customers are in one country (heck, a fair proportion are government). I doubt we’re exceptional. The option to have a region would be nice.

    But you’re right, my main gripe isn’t so much with the lack of regional settings, as much as they’ve chosen a default setting which is itself quite regional.

    I wonder what happens to central admin for countries which use another calendar? That could get really hairy!

    Like

  3. Bela says:

    Hi,

    I am in Australia and we are using the Calendars sychronised with Outlook. Outlook is fine, but the date setting in SharePoint is all USA (as discussed) and it’s a ripe pain I will be very annoyed if this is something that can’t be changed
    😦

    Like

  4. Gordon says:

    We use the “American” date format here in Canada too. Some businesses like to change it to the dd/mm/yy format, but nearly all people here use the mm/dd/yy format.

    Like

  5. John says:

    Among the plethora of basic ommissions in Micro$oft products this one surley takes the cake.

    There is no excuse for failing to address this US date format issue.

    It reminds me of their absolute and beligerant refusal to fix the textbox in Visual Studio 6 that was too small to show the filename part of (long) paths used by Reference objects, and you couldnt even scroll inside it to reveal the filename. Now VS6 is not supported – HA! what a joke ! They never really supported it anyhow !!!

    Anyhow thanks for the info. I’ve just wasted another hour of my time trying to resolve yet another Micro$oft anti-customer defect. God knows how many hours everyone else has wasted over this.

    Like

  6. John says:

    Oh and BTW, if MS were half as good as they think they are, they’d show some market leadership and standardise YYYY/MM/DD as their default date format, which is consistent with the universally accepted left-to-right default sort sequence.

    Problem solved. Forever.

    Like

  7. Yeah, it just seems to pervade the product – things like DataView web parts having to be modified in the code view (not design view) to get Date formats into other locales. For an ‘internationalized’ product, surely dates and calendars for other locales would be a priority. Heck, if memory serves, it supports non-gregorian calendars too – now that *must* be difficult.

    There is just a plain lack of thought of other parts of the world in this app!

    Like

  8. Chris says:

    Microsoft consistently “hard-code” date formats. They just don’t get it!

    I had big issues with Reporting Services some time ago where it would validate it as US, but format it as the desired dd/mm/yyyy – you can imagine how frustrating that was. They fixed it in RS 2000 but then the bug reappeared in the SSRS 2005 beta. Grrrr.

    As for Sharepoint, it’s browser based and should always use the setting of the end users locale – as you can easily do in Reporting Services now. But it doesn’t look like it does that.

    And for the record, Canada is officially dd/mm/yyyy or yyyy-mm-dd but being so close to the US mm-dd-yyyy is more often used and accepted. I emigrated to Canada from the UK last year and everybody here says it’s confusing. Many are in the habit of writing the month name in to avoid ambiguity, either as 1 Jan 2009 or Jan 1, 2009.

    I believe the US, Phillipines, Micronesia, Palau, Belize and Kenya are the only countries where the US format is the official format.

    Like

  9. Well, I can get having Sites set to a region’s format or calendar – but yes, it would be nice if it was based on the browser settings.

    I must confess, I’m surprised by Kenya – as an ex-colony, I’d’ve thought it would be dd/mm/yyyy. Interesting list. And good to know what they do in Canada – I had wondered. Presumably they do something different in Quebec? ;p

    Like

  10. Yand says:

    Central Admin site is just admin’s site. Admins are very few people in the company. For an ordinary user SharePoint site, regional options can be easily switched. It is enough.

    Like

  11. Hmm. I disagree. Admins might only be a few people – but they might well be people (like me) who have worked in a dd/mm/yyyy format of date their whole lives.

    I’m aware of Microsoft’s penchant for mm/dd/yyyy, but I still get confused in certain sites, particularly if you’re shifting from a dd/mm/yyyy formatted user solution, and then going to a mm/dd/yyyy formatted Central admin.

    And I guess the crux of it all is that I can’t see any good reason why I should have to. Yes, I can live with it – but why should I have to?.

    Like

  12. IanB says:

    The U.S. date format is a ludicrous notion – totally impractical and counterintuitive. The ASA ought to make an effort to change it.

    Like

  13. pravesh says:

    as far as CA is concern we can not change Regional Settings but we can change Regional Settings for each Site collections. so instead of ‘MM/DD/YYYY’ as English (US) we can use English (UK) ‘DD/MM/YYYY’.

    🙂

    pravesh sharda

    Like

  14. JOe says:

    Why can’t we standardize on yyyy/mm/dd? It makes so much more sense and is sortable when used in other areas such as file naming.

    Like

  15. Hi,

    I have another problem regarding the date format in WSS 3.0

    I’ve used the URL by hand solution and now I have the desired date format (dd/mm/yyyy) in Central Administration Backup and Restore History.

    Although in the spbrtoc.xml still shows the date format in mm/dd/yyyy. I’m running a backup retention script upon this file that is failing because 06/11/2009 is diferent than 11/06/2009, so when I set retention for 7 days it erases all backup point.

    Any ideas on how to solve this?!

    Best regards

    Luis

    Like

  16. Jim Owens says:

    I’m a lowly Sharepoint user who wants to change his date format to YYYY-MM-DD. (This is the official standard in Canada, whether most Canadians actually know it or not.) When I say “lowly” I mean I can get to My Regional Settings, clear the “Always follow web settings” Box, and select another locale.

    I know from my experience with Regional and Language Settings that the locale “Swedish” is associated with the international standard date format, so I’ve selected that in Sharepoint. Crude, but effective.

    Like

  17. Anne Scott says:

    Do any of the standard date formats spell out the month name? I always find this much more readable and would like to use this format for our CEO’s blog, which I’m currently setting up — e.g., January 25, 2010.

    If not, does anyone know how to do this?

    Like

  18. Jørgen B. Thulstrup says:

    Be aware that while changing into Swedish regional settings – as suggested by Jim above – might change the date format to the desired YYYY-MM-DD it will also leave you with other problems.
    Day names in calendars will also change to Swedish (monday will be måndag, tueday = tisdag, etc.).

    It really would be nice if day formats and language settings were separate settings in SharePoint.

    Like

  19. Lee says:

    CultureAndRegionInfoBuilder carib = new CultureAndRegionInfoBuilder(“nb-NO”, CultureAndRegionModifiers.Replacement);
    carib.LoadDataFromCultureInfo(new CultureInfo(“lv-LV”));
    carib.LoadDataFromRegionInfo(new RegionInfo(“lv”));
    carib.GregorianDateTimeFormat.ShortDatePattern = “dd.MM.yyyy”;
    carib.Register();
    CultureInfo ci = new CultureInfo(“nb-NO”);
    using(SPSite site = new SPSite(“http://localhost”))
    {
    using(SPWeb web = site.RootWeb)
    { web.Locale = ci; web.Update();
    }
    }

    Hi go through this link for REfernce, Hope it helps:
    http://sharepointex.blogspot.com/2007/09/how-to-modify-date-format-in-sharepoint.html

    Like

  20. Anubis says:

    Quote :
    What absolutely doesn’t make sense is that the date format it uses is the stupid American ‘mm/dd/yyyy’ format. Why can the US not accept that the rest of the Gregorian calendar using world (i.e. nearly everywhere else) uses a format of ‘dd/mm/yyyy’? I mean, isn’t sensible to have a format that offers a gradiated precision of time, rather than dumping the most specific part of it in the middle? Or, if we wanted to accept that central admin will probably only be used by techies, what’s wrong with ‘yyyy-mm-dd’? Hell, I’d nearly prefer Javascript’s ‘milliseconds since the start of 1970’ format (nearly, but not quite).

    Actually its a very smart way to write a date. Much easier to sort on dates MM/DD!
    And no i’m not from the states.

    Like

  21. Siva says:

    I have a SharePoint Site Collection with regional settings changed to dd/mm/yyyy overall, all date picker controls change and I get the dd/mm/yyyy format.

    I have an Enterprise Search Center in which we have the Advanced Search, where one can search for all content based on Created or Modified Date. Now, this continues to only take mm/dd/yyyy format of dates inspite of that site’s regional settings being changed to dd/mm as well.

    How do we change this and make all the date parameters in the Advanced Search work on dd/mm/yyyy?

    Like

  22. Yvonne says:

    The organisations that I have worked in have been using dd/mm/yyyy format for many years. I strongly agree that Microsoft should not hardcode the date format but allow users/administrators to select the date format they prefer based on their working needs. Meeting the needs of users is important. I am not a techy person and do not know what it costs to allow flexibility in date format in MS Sharepoint. I am a user of MS Sharepoint 2003 and 2007 for intranet and will soon be using MS Sharepoint 2010. I just want to share that being accustomed to dd/mm/yyyy format since my birth, it’s definitely much more welcoming if I could use this date format instead of being forced to use mm/dd/yyyy format. Imagine asking all familiar users of mm/dd/yyyy to change to use dd/mm/yyyy, I believe many of them would have similar concerns.

    Like

  23. Ed says:

    Hi.
    I’m Canadian. I’m always telling people to “spell the month”, because there’s a great deal of confusion over whether 1/12 is 1 Dec or Jan 12.

    How can I just make SharePoint spell the month at the display level? That’s all I want…

    Like

  24. Aniket says:

    How can we set the locale of a sharepoint site for a particular user according to his/her system locale through coding???

    Like

  25. Here in the UK I insist with all my clients that dates are stored in an ‘internal’ format defaulted by the system (SQL or Sharepoint or whatever) but when they display, they absolutely must show the three letters for the month so neither Americans nor Europeans are ever in doubt. 1 Nov 2012 works for all and if they don’t understand the anglicised three letters at least they know to go and look it up rather than confuse a numeric month for a day.

    Like

  26. Raj says:

    Ive created a conditional format if a SharePoint date column (LiveExpiry <= Today).

    The dates visible in the LiveExpiry column are of format 15/04/2015 (day,month,year) UK . (servers and users in UK)

    However the conditonal format result is wrong, as it appears to reverse the day and month order,

    Here is advanced (XPath expression)
    ddwrt:DateTimeTick(ddwrt:GenDisplayName(string($thisNode/@LiveExpiry))) <= ddwrt:DateTimeTick(ddwrt:GenDisplayName(string($Today)))

    Since this I've edited the XSLT code but despite several methods, it doesn work.

    Like

  27. Chris says:

    If we are asking the US (and Canada) to please change the date to dd/mm/yyyy, can we ask them to change to the metric system also? 😉

    Like

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