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How To: Convert a text field to a date field in ArcMap


Starting at the 10.0 version of ArcGIS Desktop, a geoprocessing tool has been included that allows for the conversion of a text field that contains dates or times to a formatted date field.

Instructions provided describe the steps for using the 'Convert Time Field geoprocessing tool. In this article's example, the time format 'yyyyMMdd' is used.



  1. Open ArcMap and add the layer or table that includes the text field to be converted to a formatted date field.
  2. Open the Convert Time Field geoprocessing tool: ArcToolbox > Data Management Tools > Fields > Convert Time Field.
  3. Populate the Input fields:
    1. From the Input Table drop-down menu, select the layer or table that contains the field to be converted.
    2. From the Input Time Field drop-down, select the name of the text field to be converted.

      The Input Time Format field should be automatically populated. In this example its current time format (ex: yyyyMMdd)
The Convert Time Field tool supports over 30 different pre-designated time and date formats.
  1. Populate the Output fields:
    1. Create a name for the new date field under Output Time Field.
    2. From the Output Time Type drop-down select DATE.
The Output Time Format and Locale fields are not selectable for the time type DATE. Select type 'TEXT', 'LONG', or any other type if a different time format for the output is desired.
  1. Click OK. The process completes and the dialog box closes. The date field is formatted to MM/dd/yyyy by default.

Related Information

Last Published: 11/15/2021

Article ID: 000008953

Software: ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced 10.2.2, 10.2.1, 10.2, 10.1 ArcGIS for Desktop Basic 10.2.2, 10.2.1, 10.2, 10.1 ArcGIS for Desktop Standard 10.2.2, 10.2.1, 10.2, 10.1 ArcGIS-ArcEditor 10 ArcGIS-ArcInfo 10 ArcGIS-ArcView 10