JavaScript provides a versatile Date object that allows you to work with dates and times. One common task you might encounter is formatting a JavaScript Date object as a string. This can be especially useful when you want to display a date in a specific format or when interacting with date-based APIs that require a particular date format.

In this article, we will explore how to format a JavaScript Date object into a custom string format. We’ll cover different aspects of date formatting and provide practical code examples to help you achieve this.

The Problem

The problem is clear: you have a JavaScript Date object, and you want to convert it into a string using a custom date format, similar to what you might do in other programming languages like C# or .NET.

For example, you might want to format a date like this:

From: Sat Sep 28 2023 14:30:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

To: 2023-09-28

The Solution

JavaScript doesn’t provide a built-in method to directly format a Date object with a custom string format like yyyy-MM-dd as in C#.

However, you can achieve this by following these steps:

  1. Create a Date object: First, create a JavaScript Date object representing the date you want to format.
  2. Define a formatting function: Create a function that takes the Date object and formats it according to your desired format. You can do this manually or use a library like date-fns or moment.js for more advanced formatting options.
  3. Use the formatting function: Call the formatting function with your Date object as the argument to get the formatted date string.

Now, let’s see how you can do this with practical examples.

Example 1: A Formatting Function

To format a JavaScript Date to a string, you can write a custom function that does it so the code is reusable. Or, you can write a reusable function such as the one below that takes the Date object and a format string (like yyyy/MM/dd similar to that supported by C# / .NET date to string conversion) as inputs for how to format the Date as a string.

Here’s an example Date to String conversion function that takes such an input:

function formatDate (inputDate, format)  {
    if (!inputDate) return '';

    const padZero = (value) => (value < 10 ? `0${value}` : `${value}`);
    const parts = {
        yyyy: inputDate.getFullYear(),
        MM: padZero(inputDate.getMonth() + 1),
        dd: padZero(inputDate.getDate()),
        HH: padZero(inputDate.getHours()),
        hh: padZero(date.getHours() > 12 ? date.getHours() - 12 : date.getHours()),
        mm: padZero(inputDate.getMinutes()),
        ss: padZero(inputDate.getSeconds()),
        tt: inputDate.getHours() < 12 ? 'AM' : 'PM'

    return format.replace(/yyyy|MM|dd|HH|hh|mm|ss|tt/g, (match) => parts[match]);

Then the usage of this function would be as follows:

// output similar to "2023/09/28"
var dateString = formatDate(dateObject, 'yyyy/MM/dd');

// output similar to "2023/09/28 08:35:22 AM"
var dateString2 = formatDate(dateObject, 'yyyy/MM/dd hh:mm:ss tt');

// output similar to "2023-09-28 14:05:45"
var dateString2 = formatDate(dateObject, 'yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss');

Example 2: Using date-fns Library

const { format } = require('date-fns');

const myDate = new Date('2023-09-28');
const formattedDate = format(myDate, 'yyyy-MM-dd');

// Output: 2023-09-28

Here, we use the date-fns library to format the Date object according to the specified format string (‘yyyy-MM-dd’).

Example 3: Using Intl.DateTimeFormat

const options = { year: 'numeric', month: '2-digit', day: '2-digit' };
const myDate = new Date('2023-09-28');
const formatter = new Intl.DateTimeFormat('en-US', options);
const { format } = formatter.formatToParts(myDate);

// Output: 09/28/2023

In this example, we use Intl.DateTimeFormat to format the Date object based on locale-specific rules and options.


Formatting a JavaScript Date object as a string is a common task in web development. While JavaScript doesn’t provide a built-in method for this, you can achieve it easily by creating a custom formatting function or using libraries such as date-fns or Intl.DateTimeFormat. Choose the method that best suits your project’s requirements, and you’ll be able to format dates in JavaScript with ease.