I am writing an arcpy tool script in ArcGIS 10.0. In a fGDB feature class, I have a Date type field. I gather that the values in the Date field are stored as long integer dates, but they display in mm/dd/yyy format in the table. What I want to do is capture the integer date value as a string showing the date in mm/dd/yyyy format. How do I go about this?

There are many examples of how to convert a date/time string to a date object/value but not vice versa. I am appending features from a feature class with many fields, including a date field, into a standard-schema fc (which I can't change) that has few fields. To save a lot of the technical attributes in the input, I must dump it all into a catch-all, user-controlled text field that is defined in the target. The date data from the input is one of those pieces of data I need to save, hence the need to convert the date to a string.

There is likely a fairly easy solution I'm missing, but at the moment I am at a loss. I appreciate any help that comes my way.

  • It's been months, have you solved your problem?
    – R.K.
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 1:38
  • 1
    @R.K. - I'm very sorry to have left those interested hanging on this one. I lost track. Anyway, yes, blah238's answer below worked just fine. The particular script I was working on was subsequently changed in a way that eliminated the need for the date conversion, but I have used this solution multiple times since in other scripts. Thanks, R.K., for asking, and thank you blah238 for you help. Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


GP cursors read date values as datetime objects, so you can use datetime.strftime() to format it as you like, or datetime.ctime() to format it as the default format (%a %b %d %H:%M:%S %Y).

Here's an example using mm/dd/yyyy:

import arcpy
from datetime import datetime
fc = r"C:\GISData\test.gdb\atlantic_hurricanes_2000"
rows = arcpy.SearchCursor(fc)
for row in rows:
    datetimeVal = row.getValue("Date_Time")
    formattedTime = datetime.strftime(datetimeVal, "%m/%d/%Y")
    print formattedTime

For the meanings of the various time formatting codes see strftime behavior.

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