How To: Convert a text field to a date field
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.
- Open ArcMap and add the layer or table that includes the text field to be converted to a formatted date field.
- Open the Convert Time Field geoprocessing tool: ArcToolbox > Data Management Tools > Fields > Convert Time Field.
- Populate the Input fields:
a) From the 'Input Table' drop-down menu, select the layer or table that contains the field to be converted.
b) 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.
- Populate the Output fields:
a) Create a name for the new date field under 'Output Time Field'.
b) 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.
- Click OK. The process completes and the dialog box closes. The date field is formatted to MM/dd/yyyy by default.
- ArcGIS Help - Converting string or numeric time values into date format
- ArcGIS Help - Convert Time Field (Data Management)
- ArcGIS Help - Fundamentals of date fields