How To Set a Date Format In GridView Using ASP.NET 2.0(Using HtmlEncode Property)

(AKA, the DataFormatString=”{0:M-dd-yyyy}” Problem)


A very common desire is to set a column of a GridView to display just the month, day and year of a DateTime type. The problem is the by default, the HtmlEncode property of the BoundField attribute ( <asp:BoundField …) is set to True. The reason for this (as pointed out in the documentation of this attribute) is that this helps prevent cross-site scripting attacks and malicious content from being displayed. Microsoft recommends that the HtmlEncode attribute be enabled whenever possible.

The problem is that if this field is enabled, you can not pass format information to the boundfield control. That is, if you try the following code, you will not get the desired result.

  <asp headertext="CreationDate" dataformatstring="{0:M-dd-yyyy}" 
       datafield="CreationDate" :BoundField />


You have two choices to make this work as you would expect. The first choice is to simply set HtmlEncode to false as follows:

<asp id="GridView1" runat="server" :GridView>
  <asp headertext="CreationDate" dataformatstring="{0:M-dd-yyyy}" 
       datafield="CreationDate" :BoundField HtmlEncode="false" />


The second choice is to make the column a template and simply set the format string directly in the Label or Text Fields as follows.

<asp id="GridView3" runat="server" :GridView>
  <asp headertext="CreationDate" :TemplateField>
    <asp id="Label1" runat="server" Label.Text='<%# Eval("CreationDate", "{0:M-dd-yyyy}") %>'>
    <asp id="Label1" runat="server" Label.Text='<%# Bind("CreationDate", "{0:M-dd-yyyy}") %>'>;


Below is a screen shot of what the three scenarios discussed above look like.

Output of all three scenarios

Good luck with your coding and hopefully, this will be one nasty you can put behind you.

About Peter Kellner

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  1. pravin patil says:

    very nice

  2. Abhishek says:

    Thanks for date format it help me a lot

  3. Thanks. It works well.

  4. Dhananjay Kumar Gupta says:

    thanks you.

  5. Thanks men

  6. Thanks you so much for the help

  7. Yalin Meric says:

    Sorry for multiple messages but I had to find a way to put the example code

  8. Yalin Meric says:

    And if you want the dating format to be applied during editing as well add this extra setting to the control:


    The code sample I had added to my previous message has somehow dissapeared. It was like below (I encoded it hoping it will display this time)


  9. Yalin Meric says:

    For those who are having problems with date field updates (getting incorrect string format etc error messages) I’ll suggest not using template field. Instead use boundfield such as:

  10. Thanks for lot.. it is really useful article..

  11. Thank you so much for example

  12. Vini Katyal says:

    thanks a ton!! helped in my project

  13. Very nice initiative!

  14. Thanks, I remember in the early days with classic ASP, using a gridview was a nightmare!

  15. Web design is a hard lesson for me. Still need to learn more…

  16. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  17. lead to this page with google, the gridview date format bothering me for a long time. thx 4 yr valuable share.

  18. Peter,
    Thanks for this – was driving me mad !
    Rgds, Peter

  19. thanks

  20. Thanks a lot sir…
    I was stuck at that for a long time ………….

  21. This code works very well on my local computer. I’ve tested the entire script and seems to work fine. Thank you !

  22. Yei! thanks

  23. Thanks.. its works superb.

  24. I usually format the cells in the RowDataBound in the code behind. This method seems quite easy and straight forward

    Thank you

  25. THXX A LOOTTTT!!!! >.<
    i look for this since 10 hours ago.. LOL

  26. Thanks a lot.. i got how to publish only date in grid view…

  27. Nice and practical! But can you please illustrate formatting numbers? Like into fewer decimal places.. i tried ” and it is not resulting the expected.
    Thanks Much

  28. Thanks for great contribution, clear and concise

  29. Sreejith kumran says:

    Thanks man…

  30. For Null Values how can we set some default value ???

  31. need to apply this formatting to a templatefield that is bound dynamically …any ideas? Not an option do this formatting in mark-up…needs to happen in code behind.
    thanks in advance

  32. Just what I was looking for – thank you.

  33. Arthur Freeman says:

    Yes, learn, and very helpful.

  34. mehrbani janab

  35. use “{0:D}” output sample =14 Agustus 2010

  36. Richard J. Rothery Jr. says:

    I can change the DateFormatString in the BoundField Properties and my display results reflect the change.

    I am not sure why you say this cannot be accomplished.
    Perhaps, Microsoft corrected the issue since your post.

    Additionally, I do not see how the following is permitted:

    VS throws an error for this code and rightfully so.

    I guess as long as we find an appropriate solution then we are happy.

    Best Regards,

  37. Nayan Chavada says:

    Thanks a lot
    Its really helps to me

  38. Nayan Chavda says:

    Thanks a lot
    Its really helps to me
    Happy Coding

  39. Vikas Priyadarshi says:

    Thanks. it’s really solve my problem.

  40. Vikas Priyadarshi says:

    Thanks. it’s really solve my problem & save my time.

  41. Thanks..! Its gave a path to build stable scheduler for my client.

  42. Thank you…really helps and saves lot of my time…..

  43. Chris S. says:

    Thanks very much for a clear explanation and an easy solution! Nicely documented and easy to follow. Your help is much appreciated!

  44. hey many thanks !!

  45. Thanks, was helpful.

  46. PT Sivakumar says:

    Very good artical thanks 4 d post…

  47. its helped me out for my work

  48. can somebody show me how to format it from the codebehind? thanks

  49. Thanks for a simple answer with practical examples. Much preferred to wading through all the specific date formats in MSDN.

  50. George Rindov says:

    It did not display the code here it is one more time:

    BoundField DataField=”oContactPhone” HeaderText=”Contact Phone”
    ReadOnly=”True” SortExpression=”oContactPhone”
    DataFormatString=”{0:(###) ###-####}”

  51. George Rindov says:

    Need help to format Phone Number.
    The following code displays the phone number as 10 digits with no space.

    What am I missing?

  52. This does not work when you bind a gridview to a collection when the column is a date.

  53. Just human says:

    Nice tips. I twill be more helpfull to all

  54. Thank you for this tip. It saved me some time.

  55. thanks…………..

  56. Bilal Sammour says:

    how can i trim string using format?

  57. Shivani Khare(MCA) says:

    Thanks a lot!!!!!!!!!!
    Its really helps to me

  58. abhishoka says:

    thanks a lot.. was searching for this so long…

  59. Ujwal Khairnar says:

    thank you very much realy

  60. Great tip ive been trying everything for the last few hours.

    worked perfect for my project

    but a 10 second google search saved the day cheers

  61. Akhtar jahan says:

    it works for me .thanks

  62. Gr8 job!!

  63. Chandralekha says:

    Thank U Very Much!!
    U Rock!!!!!!

  64. Jitendra Tyagi says:

    This article very use full i got my desird soltion on it which i want immediatlty


  65. Cool.. This code Work’s Thks man..!!

  66. Thanks your code really works very well.

  67. patrick: if u’r using control extensions has ur answer..

  68. Thanks a lot! This is awesome.

    My question is, if I want to let the user rather than change that text, but give a calendar for them to choose from. How do I do that? I tried the Calendar object, but I could not get it to work.

    That is like… they have the currently chosen date in a label or textfield, then next to it a button (like with an hourglass or somethin) that when they press that, a mini calenday pops up, and they can select the date from there.

  69. To Nic Smith:

    You can format just the date with DataFormatString=”{0:hh:mm:ss tt}” Notice lowercase ‘mm’. Upper case will give months while lowercase will give minutes. It worked for me.

  70. Hooray………………….

    IT worked ………..

    Thanks alot ………

    U Rockzzz………….

  71. i would say thanks for your help,

    it certainly saved my time to formate the date in grid view.


  72. Superb man !!!!
    It wrks excellent….
    thnx man …

  73. great work. solved my problem. thanks alot

  74. :)

  75. :):) superb

  76. thankz, i solve my problem…

  77. hello peterkellner
    thanks for your explanation.
    For @Vedpathak:
    How to show datetime like
    DataFormatString = “{0:MM/dd/yyyy hh:mm:ss AM/PM}”
    ==> try for expression:
    DataFormatString ={0:MM/dd/yyyy hh:mm:ss tt}
    It will display hour with AM or PM
    Hope to help you.

  78. Prashant Deepak Vedpathak says:

    Hello Sir,
    How to show datetime like
    DataFormatString = “{0:MM/dd/yyyy hh:mm:ss AM/PM}”

    I tried this but it doesn’t work. I have to export it to excel with AM/PM.

    Prashant V

  79. Xcalibur says:

    Absolutely perfect – wonderfully explained thanks mate

  80. 10x a lot!!!

  81. I tried below code


    but didn’t work.

    Table Column ‘Booking_Date’ is of ‘datatime’ type.

    can anybody explain?

  82. I tried below code

    but didn’t work.

    Table Column ‘Booking_Date’ is of ‘datatime’ type.

    can anybody explain?

  83. Thanks! Exactly what I need.

  84. i just want to share with you mine experience. i tried to bind to objectdatasource where property was another custom object which implemented IFormatter. in this case you must ensure that ToString() doesnt return empty string. crazy. i found that out by dissasembling the code of BoundField. i wish i could avoid this rant but code actually looks like it was written by very junior guy..

  85. Good article, but the HtmlEncode=”False” isn’t doing the trick for me. I’m trying to dynamically bind to a GridView with the following code:

    Dim gv As New GridView()
    gv.DataSource = dt
    gv.AutoGenerateColumns = False

    For Each col As Data.DataColumn In dt.Columns
    Dim myBoundField As New BoundField()
    With myBoundField
    Select Case col.ColumnName
    Case “DtReadingFrom”
    .HeaderText = “Start Date”
    .DataFormatString = “{0:MM/dd/yyyy}”
    .HtmlEncode = False
    Case “DtReadingTo”
    .HeaderText = “End Date”
    .DataFormatString = “{0:MM/dd/yyyy}”
    .HtmlEncode = False
    .HeaderText = “Meter #”
    Case Else
    .HeaderText = col.ColumnName
    End Select

    .DataField = col.ColumnName
    .Visible = True
    End With

  86. hmmm coool

  87. Thanks man, it worked for me too !!!

  88. Thanks man, this is that i’m looking for.

  89. How to do this if dynamically binding data in code behind?

  90. Thanks for your insightful article.
    Warmest Regards

  91. how to bind in GridView custom DatePicker Control to Null Value.
    Here is code.

    CalendarFont-Names=”Arial” InitialText=”Select a Date” TextBoxWidth=”80″ AutoPosition=”True” CalendarOffsetX=”-200px” CalendarOffsetY=”25px” CalendarTheme=”None” CalendarWidth=”200px” CallbackEventReference=”" Culture=”Bulgarian (Bulgaria)” EnableDropShadow=”True” MaxDate=”9999-12-31″ MinDate=”" NextMonthText=”>” NoneButtonText=”None” ShowNoneButton=”True” ShowTodayButton=”True” ZIndex=”1″>



  92. Vey helpful. Thanks

  93. Great Job! thanks

  94. John Uhrich says:

    Thanks so much! I was beating my head against the wall!!

  95. Asmat Khan says:

    Well done peter

  96. This worked great for display, but when trying to update it throws – System.FormatException, String was not recognized as a valid DateTime, anyone with suggestions.

  97. ThinkTank says:

    Thank you so much, now I can stop having nightmares.

  98. Thanks,Its really Useful.

  99. Bravo, Peter, this was great help!
    Merci beau coup.

  100. nice try.
    u got me out of a crappy situation :P

    thank u!

  101. very helpful, thankyou.

  102. Very useful! Thank a lot!

  103. help..HtmlEncode statement is not recognized

  104. Dmitriy K says:

    Great stuff, thanks.

  105. I have GridView binding to BLL object returning ArrayList.
    How can I set DataFormatString programatically using GridView’s DataBinding or DataBound event?
    Desing time it works.
    DataFormatString of (###) ###-#### will work with formatting phone numbers in column?

  106. zahorjana says:

    very nice, thanks!

  107. Thanks, it helped.

  108. Nice, thanks

  109. Thanks! Nice work!

  110. Thanks very usefful code. any way to format the bind text with a custom function?

  111. I have to join in with all the other kudo’s — this simple problem was very irritating — thanks for the complete explanation.

  112. thanks a lot man. it was very helpful.

  113. Helped me out, thanks.

  114. Nice work Peter,


  115. It is very great it work in my project.
    Thanks you very much…

  116. Sarfaraj Sayyad says:

    fantastic ! This code work
    Thanks man

  117. Thank you!

  118. its very very helpfull..tq for that…

  119. Jason Shaffer says:

    What if I dynamically bind data to the gridview?

  120. Peter,

    Thanks for this – was driving me mad !

    Rgds, Peter

  121. Nice article. I like how you demonstrate in a couple different ways, cheers.

  122. Thanks this was helpful to me.

  123. Than You very much about your explaining. it works :)


  1. [...] post is inspired by another post on did on GridView date formatting years ago.  It’s still very [...]

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