Python strptime()

In this article, you will learn to create a datetime object from a string (with the help of examples).

The strptime() method creates a datetime object from the given string.

Note: You cannot create datetime object from every string. The string needs to be in a certain format.

Example 1: string to datetime object

from datetime import datetime
date_string = "21 June, 2018"
print("date_string =", date_string)
print("type of date_string =", type(date_string))
date_object = datetime.strptime(date_string, "%d %B, %Y")
print("date_object =", date_object)
print("type of date_object =", type(date_object))

When you run the program, the output will be:

date_string = 21 June, 2018
type of date_string = <class 'str'>
date_object = 2018-06-21 00:00:00
type of date_object = <class 'datetime.datetime'>

How strptime() works?

The strptime() class method takes two arguments:

  • string (that be converted to datetime)

  • format code

Based on the string and format code used, the method returns its equivalent datetime object.

In the above example:

How strptime() works in Python?

Here,

  • %d - Represents the day of the month. Example: 01, 02, ..., 31

  • %B - Month's name in full. Example: January, February etc.

  • %Y - Year in four digits. Example: 2018, 2019 etc.

Example 2: string to datetime object

from datetime import datetime
dt_string = "12/11/2018 09:15:32"
# Considering date is in dd/mm/yyyy format
dt_object1 = datetime.strptime(dt_string, "%d/%m/%Y %H:%M:%S")
print("dt_object1 =", dt_object1)
# Considering date is in mm/dd/yyyy format
dt_object2 = datetime.strptime(dt_string, "%m/%d/%Y %H:%M:%S")
print("dt_object2 =", dt_object2)

When you run the program, the output will be:

dt_object1 = 2018-11-12 09:15:32
dt_object2 = 2018-12-11 09:15:32

Format Code List

The table below shows all the format codes that you can use.

Directive

Meaning

Example

%a

Abbreviated weekday name.

Sun, Mon, ...

%A

Full weekday name.

Sunday, Monday, ...

%w

Weekday as a decimal number.

0, 1, ..., 6

%d

Day of the month as a zero-padded decimal.

01, 02, ..., 31

%-d

Day of the month as a decimal number.

1, 2, ..., 30

%b

Abbreviated month name.

Jan, Feb, ..., Dec

%B

Full month name.

January, February, ...

%m

Month as a zero-padded decimal number.

01, 02, ..., 12

%-m

Month as a decimal number.

1, 2, ..., 12

%y

Year without century as a zero-padded decimal number.

00, 01, ..., 99

%-y

Year without century as a decimal number.

0, 1, ..., 99

%Y

Year with century as a decimal number.

2013, 2019 etc.

%H

Hour (24-hour clock) as a zero-padded decimal number.

00, 01, ..., 23

%-H

Hour (24-hour clock) as a decimal number.

0, 1, ..., 23

%I

Hour (12-hour clock) as a zero-padded decimal number.

01, 02, ..., 12

%-I

Hour (12-hour clock) as a decimal number.

1, 2, ... 12

%p

Locale’s AM or PM.

AM, PM

%M

Minute as a zero-padded decimal number.

00, 01, ..., 59

%-M

Minute as a decimal number.

0, 1, ..., 59

%S

Second as a zero-padded decimal number.

00, 01, ..., 59

%-S

Second as a decimal number.

0, 1, ..., 59

%f

Microsecond as a decimal number, zero-padded on the left.

000000 - 999999

%z

UTC offset in the form +HHMM or -HHMM.

%Z

Time zone name.

%j

Day of the year as a zero-padded decimal number.

001, 002, ..., 366

%-j

Day of the year as a decimal number.

1, 2, ..., 366

%U

Week number of the year (Sunday as the first day of the week). All days in a new year preceding the first Sunday are considered to be in week 0.

00, 01, ..., 53

%W

Week number of the year (Monday as the first day of the week). All days in a new year preceding the first Monday are considered to be in week 0.

00, 01, ..., 53

%c

Locale’s appropriate date and time representation.

Mon Sep 30 07:06:05 2013

%x

Locale’s appropriate date representation.

09/30/13

%X

Locale’s appropriate time representation.

07:06:05

%%

A literal '%' character.

%

ValueError in strptime()

If the string (first argument) and the format code (second argument) passed to the strptime() doesn't match, you will get ValueError. For example:

from datetime import datetime
date_string = "12/11/2018"
date_object = datetime.strptime(date_string, "%d %m %Y")
print("date_object =", date_object)

If you run this program, you will get an error.

ValueError: time data '12/11/2018' does not match format '%d %m %Y'