What Is Date Time Data Type in Access?


Angela Bailey

What Is Date Time Data Type in Access?

In Microsoft Access, the Date/Time data type is used to store dates and times. It allows you to store a specific point in time or a duration. This data type is extremely useful when working with databases that involve scheduling, event tracking, or any other time-related information.

Storing Dates

To store dates in Access, you can use the Date/Time data type. This allows you to enter dates in various formats such as dd/mm/yyyy or mm/dd/yyyy, depending on your regional settings.

When entering dates into an Access database, it’s important to ensure that the data is entered correctly. Improperly formatted dates can lead to errors and inconsistencies in your database. You can use input masks or validation rules to enforce a specific date format and prevent incorrect entries.

Storing Times

The Date/Time data type not only allows you to store dates but also times. You can store precise times down to the second or even millisecond if needed. Access uses a 24-hour format by default, but you can also specify AM/PM notation if required.

Similar to storing dates, it’s essential to ensure that times are entered correctly into your database. Input masks and validation rules can help enforce proper time formats and prevent errors.

Date and Time Functions

Access provides a range of built-in functions that allow you to manipulate and work with date and time values effectively. These functions enable you to perform calculations, extract specific components from a date or time value, compare dates, add/subtract time intervals, and much more.

Some commonly used date and time functions in Access include:

  • Date(): Returns the current system date.
  • Time(): Returns the current system time.
  • Now(): Returns the current date and time.
  • DateDiff(): Calculates the difference between two dates.
  • DateAdd(): Adds or subtracts a specified time interval from a date.

Date and Time Formatting

In addition to storing and manipulating dates and times, Access allows you to format them according to your preferences. You can choose from a variety of pre-defined formats or create custom formats using the Format property of a field or control.

The Format property uses a combination of characters to represent different components of a date or time value. For example, “dd/mm/yyyy” represents the day, month, and year in a specific order separated by slashes. Similarly, “hh:mm:ss” represents hours, minutes, and seconds separated by colons.


If you want to display the current date in the format “dd-mmm-yyyy” (e.g., 01-Jan-2022), you can set the Format property of a text box or control to “dd-mmm-yyyy”. This ensures that the date is presented consistently across your database application.

By utilizing these formatting options, you can display dates and times in a user-friendly manner that suits your specific requirements.


The Date/Time data type in Microsoft Access allows you to store and work with dates and times effectively. Whether you need to track appointments, schedule tasks, or analyze time-related data, this data type provides the necessary tools for managing temporal information within your database application. By understanding how to store, manipulate, and format date and time values, you can ensure accurate and meaningful results in your Access database.

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