Converting SQL Timestamps to Date Format: Your Quick Guide

Converting SQL timestamps to date format is a simple process that involves using built-in SQL functions to extract the date from a timestamp field. After reading this paragraph, you’ll understand how to take a timestamp, like "2021-03-10 08:00:00," and turn it into just the date, "2021-03-10."

Step by Step Tutorial: Converting SQL Timestamps to Date Format

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to note that SQL timestamps are used to record the date and time something happened in the database. Converting these timestamps to dates can be useful for reports, analytics, or just making the data more readable.

Step 1: Identify the timestamp field

Find the field in your database that contains the timestamp you want to convert.

Timestamp fields are usually named something like "created_at," "updated_at," or simply "timestamp." Knowing which field you’re working with is the first step to converting the data.

Step 2: Use the DATE function

Apply the DATE function to the timestamp field to extract the date.

The DATE function in SQL is used to extract the date part of a timestamp. It’s as simple as writing SELECT DATE(timestamp_field) FROM your_table;.

Step 3: Run the query

Execute the SQL query to see the converted date.

After running the query with the DATE function, you’ll see results that display only the date, without the time.

After completing these steps, the SQL database will display the date in a "YYYY-MM-DD" format, making it easier to read and use in various applications.

Tips for Converting SQL Timestamps to Date Format

  • Always backup your database before running queries that might change your data.
  • If you want to display the date in a different format, you can use the DATE_FORMAT function in SQL.
  • Remember that SQL functions might vary slightly depending on the database system you’re using, like MySQL, SQL Server, or PostgreSQL.
  • You can also convert timestamps to date format when exporting data, if you’re using a tool that supports SQL queries.
  • Practice with different timestamps to get comfortable with the DATE function and understand how it works.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want to include the time as well as the date?

You would use the DATETIME function instead of DATE to retain the time information in your output.

Can I convert a timestamp to a date in a specific time zone?

Yes, you can use the CONVERT_TZ function to convert a timestamp to the date in a specific time zone.

What happens if the timestamp field is NULL?

If the timestamp field is NULL, the DATE function will return NULL as the output.

Can I update my table to permanently change the timestamp to a date?

Yes, you can use the UPDATE statement alongside the DATE function to permanently convert timestamps to dates in your table.

How does converting timestamps to dates help with database management?

Converting timestamps to dates can simplify data analysis, reporting, and can make data more human-readable, which is particularly useful for non-technical stakeholders.


  1. Identify the timestamp field
  2. Use the DATE function
  3. Run the query


Now that we’ve gone through the process of converting SQL timestamps to date format, you should feel confident in your ability to manipulate and extract date information from your database. Whether you’re prepping data for a report, making it more accessible for team members, or simply tidying up your database, knowing how to perform this conversion is an essential skill for any database manager. Keep practicing and experimenting with different functions and queries, and soon this will become second nature. Remember, the key to mastering SQL is practice, so don’t hesitate to apply what you’ve learned here to real-world scenarios. Keep exploring, keep learning, and keep optimizing your data with SQL.