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Posted 2 Feb 2003


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Use of different Date Time formats and Culture types by CultureInfo and DateTimeFormatInfo class

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17 Nov 20032 min read
Using System.Globalizaion.CultureInfo & System.Globalization.DateTimeFormatInfo classes.


Globalization means the process of preparing your code to be able to support different languages. This is done by eliminating language or culture dependencies from your code to become culture-neutral. That is to avoid using hard coded strings or messages to be displayed to the user. .NET has a bunch of classes integrated to support the development of international software. These classes are located in the namespaces System.Globalization and System.Resources. CultureInfo is the class that holds information about a certain language, as formatting of numbers and dates, calendar to use, decimal character...etc.


The Culture names follow the RFC 1766 standard in the format <languagecode>-<country/regioncode> where <languagecode> is a lowercase two-letter code derived form ISO639-1 and <country/regioncode> is an uppercase two-letter code derived from ISO 3166. The cultures are generally grouped into three sets:

  • Invariant culture:- It is associated with the English language but not with any country/region.
  • Neutral culture:- It is associated with language but not with the country/region code.
  • Specific culture :- It is associated with language and country/region code.

A DateTimeFormatInfo can be created only for the invariant culture or for specific culture, not for a neutral culture. DateTimeFormatInfo inherits from Object and implements ICloneable and IFormarProvider interfaces. For date and time, several standard patterns are defined with the default property values. We can also use the custom format using a set of format pattern characters. CultureInfo class encapsulates information about handling according to the special requirements of a particular culture and language. DateTime values are formatted by the ParseExact() and ToString() methods according to Custom or Standard patterns. The Standard format patterns and the Custom format patterns are as follows:

Format Specifier            Format Pattern

       d                    MM/dd/yyyy
       D                    dddd*, MMMM* dd, yyyy
       f                    dddd*, MMMM* dd, yyyy HH*:mm*
       F                    dddd*, MMMM* dd, yyyy HH*:mm*:ss*
       g                    MM/dd/yyyy HH*:mm*
       G                    MM/dd/yyyy HH*:mm*:ss*
       m, M                 MMMM* dd
       t                    HH*:mm*
       T                    HH*:mm*:ss*
       U                    dddd*, MMMM* dd, yyyy HH*:mm*:ss*
       y, Y                 YYYY MMMM*

About Source Code

In the enclosed source code, add the the Globalization namespace.

using System.Globalization;

Now, collect all the culture with the following code of line:

CultureInfo [] ci = CultureInfo.GetCultures(CultureTypes.SpecificCultures);

CultureInfo.GetCulture gets the list of supported cultures filtered by the specified CultureType and it returns an array of type CultureInfo.

cbCultures.Items.Add(new cultureinfo(ci[i].Name));

c[i].Name gets the Culture name in the Format “<languagecode>-<CountryCode>”. To change this to the required string, pass this to the cultureinfo class which is derived from CultureInfo class. cultureinfo class contains ToString() method to change the culture in the localized version of the .NET framework. Now collect all the date time format.

For example:

patterns = dtf.GetAllDateTimePatterns('D'); 
for (int i = 0;i < patterns.GetLength(0);i++) 

where D is the Format specifier for the Long date pattern.

private void updLongDatePattern_SelectedItemChanged(object sender, 
                                                 System.EventArgs e) 
         textLongDate.Text = dt.ToString(updLongDatePattern.Text, 
    catch {}

Use the ToString() method for the given date which converts the value of this instance to its equivalent string representation using specified format and culture-specific format information.


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Comments and Discussions

GeneralGreat Example Pin
Mark Focas18-Nov-03 11:25
Mark Focas18-Nov-03 11:25 
QuestionIs there no "windows default locale" option? Pin
Member 9628-Feb-03 8:42
Member 9628-Feb-03 8:42 
AnswerRe: Is there no "windows default locale" option? Pin
Mark Conger28-Feb-03 9:46
Mark Conger28-Feb-03 9:46 
AnswerRe: Is there no &quot;windows default locale&quot; option? Pin
load123426-Nov-03 23:37
load123426-Nov-03 23:37 

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