Problem with datetime in German

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Joshua
Joshua on 3 Dec 2021
Answered: Eric Sofen on 3 Dec 2021
From a German language spreadsheet I have the following DateString: '21.Okt.2020'
where Okt is short for October.
How to read this as a datetime? According to the documentation the following should work, but unfortunately doesn't:
datetime('21.Okt.2020','Locale','de_DE','InputFormat','dd.MMM.yyyy')
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Regards

Accepted Answer

Stephen23
Stephen23 on 3 Dec 2021
There does seem to be a problem with DATETIME handling the period characters (below).
Workaround: replace/remove the period characters, as per my first two examples.
datetime('21Okt2020','Locale','de_DE','InputFormat','ddMMMyyyy')
ans = datetime
21-Oct-2020
datetime('21-Okt-2020','Locale','de_DE','InputFormat','dd-MMM-yyyy')
ans = datetime
21-Oct-2020
datetime('21.Okt.2020','Locale','de_DE','InputFormat','dd.MMM.yyyy')
Error using datetime (line 651)
Unable to convert '21.Okt.2020' to datetime using the format 'dd.MMM.yyyy' and locale 'de_DE'.
  2 Comments
Joshua
Joshua on 3 Dec 2021
Thanks for the answer!

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More Answers (2)

Eric Sofen
Eric Sofen on 3 Dec 2021
We’re aware of the issues with parsing month abbreviations in some locales, and we're looking at ways to improve this. In this case, the "." following Okt is treated as part of the month abbreviation by the internationalization library we use. For now, the datetime format that works to parse the timestamp is:
datetime('21.Okt.2020','Locale','de_DE','InputFormat','dd.MMMyyyy')
(Notice no period after MMM.)

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 3 Dec 2021
Observe:
datetime('21.Oct.2020', 'InputFormat', 'dd.MMM.yyyy', 'Format', 'dd.MMM.yyyy')
ans = datetime
21.Oct.2020
So using dots is possible for English.
datetime('21-Okt-2020', 'Locale', 'de_DE', 'InputFormat', 'dd-MMM-yyyy', 'Format', 'dd.MMM.yyyy')
ans = datetime
21.Oct.2020
And using dashes is okay for German
datetime('21.Okt-2020', 'Locale', 'de_DE', 'InputFormat', 'dd.MMM-yyyy', 'Format', 'dd.MMM.yyyy')
ans = datetime
21.Oct.2020
and dot between the day and the month is ok in German
datetime('21.Okt.2020', 'Locale', 'de_DE', 'InputFormat', 'dd.MMM.yyyy', 'Format', 'dd.MMM.yyyy')
Error using datetime (line 651)
Unable to convert '21.Okt.2020' to datetime using the format 'dd.MMM.yyyy' and locale 'de_DE'.
But dot between the year and the month is not okay in German.
I do not know why this is... but see the following
  2 Comments
Joshua
Joshua on 3 Dec 2021
@Walter Roberson thanks for your effort, does indeed seem like an issue for Mathworks. In my case I have a bunch of different dates with often different formating. In the end I ended up parsing and replacing the '.' with '-' as both you and @Stephen suggested.

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