Python Detect Datetime String Format and Convert to Different String Format – Python Datetime Tutorial

By | March 10, 2021

There exists some datetime with different string formats in text, for example:

  • Tue, 01 Mar 2016 21:17:00 +0800
  • 2016/03/01 21:17:00
  • 21:17:00 2016/03/01
  • 01/03/2016 21:17:00

In order to save or process datetime, we should convert these different formatted time to a format. In this tutorial, we will introduce you how to do in python.

dateutil.parser

We will use python dateutil.parser package to parse different datetime string format. Here is an example code:

import dateutil.parser
from datetime import datetime
time_str = ['Tue, 01 Mar 2016 21:17:00 +0800', '2016/03/01 21:17:00', '21:17:00 2016/03/01', '01/03/2016 21:17:00']
for t in time_str:
    d = dateutil.parser.parse(t)
    print(type(d))
    print(d)

Run this code, you will get this output:

<class 'datetime.datetime'>
2016-03-01 21:17:00+08:00
<class 'datetime.datetime'>
2016-03-01 21:17:00
<class 'datetime.datetime'>
2016-03-01 21:17:00
<class 'datetime.datetime'>
2016-01-03 21:17:00

We can find: dateutil.parser.parse() method can convert a string datetime with different formats to a datetime object.

Then we can convert this datatime object to other string format.

Convert datetime to string format

We can use datetime.strftime() to implement it. Here is an example:

time_str = 'Tue, 01 Mar 2016 21:17:00 +0800'
d = dateutil.parser.parse(time_str)
d = d.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")
print(d)

Run this code, we will get this result:

2016-03-01 21:17:00

It means we convert ‘Tue, 01 Mar 2016 21:17:00 +0800’ to “%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S” format.

Finally, we can save and process datetime easily.

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