Your browser does not support JavaScript! This site works best with javascript ( and by best only ).Date and Time Formatting | Label LIVE
Date and Time Formatting Teaser Image

Date and Time Formatting

Formatting date and time can quickly become a chore. Label LIVE variables can be configured to parse an input date and format it to conform to your exact needs.

Common Uses for Date and Time

  • Packed on date (e.g. today)

  • Future expiration date (e.g. next Friday)

  • Production timestamp (e.g. now)

  • Lot/batch code

  • Julian date codes

How Date Variables Work

Once you understand how basic variables work in Label LIVE, you might want extra functionality. Label LIVE supports "DATE" variables. Create a new DATE variable by choosing the Kind. For this example we will create a DATE variable named EXPIRATION.

Existing Variables

If you already have variables (via importing) all variables will default to Plain Text.

Change an existing variable's type by clicking on the variable Setup (gear icon).

Once changed to DATE, you will see a default date format and a calendar icon near the variable name.

Date and Time Input

Like other variables in Label LIVE, the input is used to determine what is printed on the label. Date variables expect some kind of date or time as input. These can be either absolute dates or relative dates.

Absolute Date and Time

Absolute inputs are an exact date or time such as January 1st, 2020. Common input formats are supported such as:

  • January 1st, 2000

  • 15 August 1969 420pm

  • 1/1/2023

Note: Beware using formats where the day/month can be unintentionally swapped. The United States is one of the few countries that uses the m/d/yy format.

Relative Date and Time

Relative inputs are short phrases that represent a date or time relative to the current date and time. Examples include:

  • now (includes exact time)

  • today (defaults to midnight)

  • next friday at 2200

  • tomorrow + two weeks

  • in 400 days

  • 30 days ago

Date and Time Output Formats

Output formats use "tokens" to create the desired output. The simplest example of a token is YYYY which is the year, or 2023. If you only need the last two digits of the year, then the token is YY. Tokens are available for every part of a date and time, including day of week, month (e.g. January, Jan, 1, 01). The full token format list is available by clicking the DATE variable's calendar icon, and clicking inside the Format field:

Formatting a Julian Date, Other Lot Codes

A julian date is the "Day of Year" and is formatted with the token DDDD.

Similarly, "Week of Year" is formatted with the token WW.

Zero Padding

Pay special attention to tokens like M vs. MM. While they may seem identical for inputs such as 20, they are different when the input is < 10, for example, the 9th month (September) is formatted M "9" whereas MM is "09". Similarly, YYYY is a zero-padded year, whereas YY is the last two numbers of the year: 2023 and 23, respectively.

Zero padded formats are useful for barcodes that require a fixed length.

Locale Support

Locale dates such as L, LL, LLL, LLLL are common formats that change based on the locale setup in Label LIVE Settings. Locale may impact the name of months, days of week. Here's an example of Spanish.

Common Pitfalls

Dates and times may seem easy, but there are many gray areas that you should consider.

Language and Region Differences

Locales will re-arrange the day and month placeholders for the common shorthand... be careful because these are not 100% distinguishable. For example, is "1/2/23" referring to "Jan 2" or "Feb 1"?


Do not use seconds as a unique field because multiple labels can be printed in under one second.

If all else fails...

You can always use Microsoft Excel to format the date into text. Label LIVE will then proceed as normal, printing exactly what is specified in input data. Just remember to change your Variable Type back to "Plain Text."

A blog icon

How to make Label LIVE work for you, in detail.

Read the guides

Computer monitor icon
Find Answers

If you have questions... we have answers. Check out our in-depth FAQs.

View the FAQs

QR Code Icon

See the barcodes we support and learn how to use them in your labels.

See more barcodes