How to Get the Current Date and Time in T-SQL: An Easy Guide Without Time Zone Confusion

By Cristian G. Guasch • Updated: 09/22/23 • 8 min read

When you’re working with T-SQL and need the current date and time, it might seem like a straightforward task. But there’s a catch; how do you get this information without any timezone details creeping in? This common challenge is one I’ll be addressing right here.

T-SQL, or Transact-SQL, is Microsoft’s extended version of SQL (Structured Query Language). It comes packed with some handy features to make database management easier. One of these features allows us to fetch the current date and time. However, if you don’t want timezone information included – which can often be the case when dealing with global databases – things can get a little tricky.

Luckily for us, there are solutions available that we can explore together. In this article, I’ll walk through the steps needed to obtain the current date and time in T-SQL while leaving out those pesky timezone specifics. Diving into these techniques should give you all the tools required to tackle similar issues confidently in your future work.

Understanding the Basics of T-SQL

Diving headfirst into the world of T-SQL, it’s important to understand that this language is Microsoft’s implementation of SQL; an extension, if you will. Designed specifically for interacting with Microsoft SQL Server, T-SQL stands for Transact-SQL. It’s a powerful tool that allows users to manage data stored in relational databases.

T-SQL has a few unique features that set it apart from standard SQL. One such feature is its support for procedural programming. This means we can create complex scripts with loops, conditions and exception handling mechanisms – something that isn’t always possible with generic SQL.

To illustrate what I mean, take a look at this simple example:

    DECLARE @myVar INT;
    SET @myVar = 1;

    WHILE (@myVar <= 10)
        PRINT @myVar;
        SET @myVar = @myVar + 1;

In this snippet, we’re declaring a variable @myVar, initializing it to 1 and then using a while loop to print the numbers 1 through 10. You’d be hard-pressed to do something like this in plain old SQL!

Another key component of mastering T-SQL is understanding how to work with dates and times – which brings us back around full circle to our main topic! When dealing with dates in T-SQL there are some common mistakes that people tend to make:

  • Using incorrect date format: Always use ‘YYYY-MM-DD’ as your date format.
  • Not considering time zones: If your server resides in a different timezone than your user base you may end up displaying inaccurate information.

With these basics under our belt, we’re ready to tackle how exactly one goes about getting the current date and time without incorporating any timezone data using T-SQL!

Retrieving Current Date and Time in T-SQL

Let’s dive into the heart of the matter: how to retrieve the current date and time in T-SQL. You’ll find that it’s not as intimidating as it initially seems, especially with a practical approach.

The function GETDATE() is your friend here. It returns the current database system timestamp as a datetime value, without any timezone offset. Here’s an example of its use:

SELECT GETDATE() AS CurrentDateTime;

Running this piece of code will yield something like ‘2023-01-29 16:45:22.920’. Notice that it includes both date (YYYY-MM-DD) and time (HH:MM:SS.sss).

Sometimes, you might just need the date without the time. In those cases, CAST or CONVERT functions come handy to remove the time portion. Take a look at this snippet:


This will return something like ‘2023-01-29’, giving us only the date part.

It’s important not to mix up GETDATE() with SYSDATETIME(). While they seem similar, SYSDATETIME() returns a more precise datetime2 type value, which includes fractions of seconds too!

Keep in mind that these functions don’t account for user-set sessions or language settings; they always display server system time.

A common mistake I’ve seen is trying to manipulate these result sets using string functions – avoid doing so! There are plenty of built-in T-SQL date and time functions designed specifically for such operations.

There you have it – retrieving current date and time in T-SQL isn’t a herculean task after all! Do remember though – practice makes perfect. So keep experimenting until you’re comfortable handling dates & times in SQL Server.

Excluding Time Zone from Date and Time in T-SQL

Let’s dive right into the heart of eliminating time zones from date and time in T-SQL. We’ve all been there – you’re trying to organize data, but those pesky time zones keep interfering with your clean, streamlined information. Well, fret no more! With T-SQL, it’s actually quite straightforward to get the current date and time without a hint of timezone.

Here’s a simple trick: use the GETDATE() function. This function returns the current database system timestamp as a datetime value without the database time zone offset. Here it is in action:

SELECT GETDATE() AS CurrentDateTime;

Running this code will give you the current date and time according to your SQL Server settings. However, common mistakes can occur if your server is set up on a different timezone than where you’re operating from.

So how do we overcome this? That’s where CONVERT comes in handy! You can convert your date and time into VARCHAR format like so:


This way, you’ll get just the date part without any troublesome timezone offset!

But what if I need both date and time without timezone? Easy peasy! Use combination of CONVERT functions like this:

CONVERT(VARCHAR(10), GETDATE(), 101) + ' ' + 

Now that’s how one gets rid of unwanted timezone details!

Remember though – variation is key! Depending on how you want your output formatted (such as DD/MM/YYYY or YYYY-MM-DD), you may need to adjust these examples slightly.

In conclusion – don’t let time zones muddy your data waters. With T-SQL’s powerful functions, you’ll have no problem getting the current date and time – sans timezone! Just be wary of common pitfalls, such as server settings that don’t match your location. But with a bit of practice and understanding, you’ll navigate these challenges like a pro.

Practical Examples: Using Date and Time Functions in T-SQL

I’ve spent a good chunk of my time working with T-SQL, and I’ve always found the date and time functions to be incredibly handy. So let’s delve into some practical examples that can help you get more comfortable using them.

First off, the GETDATE() function is your go-to for retrieving the current date and time. But what if you don’t need the time? That’s where CAST and CONVERT come into play! You can use either of these two functions to manipulate your GETDATE() output. Here’s how:


In both cases, you’ll magically strip away the timestamp, leaving you with just the date.

Now, it isn’t uncommon to encounter data that includes both date and time but doesn’t specify a timezone – often because it’s assumed we know it. In such instances, being able to separate or combine dates and times becomes crucial. The DATEPART function provides an excellent solution here:

SELECT DATEPART(hour, '2021-10-07 15:34:23') AS 'Hour'

This snippet will extract just the hour from your datetime string.

But watch out! Common mistakes when dealing with dates include forgetting SQL Server uses military (24-hour) time format by default. Not keeping this in mind might lead to confusion when reading timestamps!

Lastly, let’s consider combining separate date and time values using DATETIMEFROMPARTS:

SELECT DATETIMEFROMPARTS(2021, 10, 7, 15, 34, 23, 0) AS 'Combined DateTime'

The result? A nicely formatted datetime value built from individually provided parts!

Remember folks, practice makes perfect. So don’t shy away from tinkering with these functions until you’ve got them down pat!

Concluding Thoughts on Handling Dates and Times in T-SQL

I’ve taken you through the ropes of handling dates and times in T-SQL. It’s a simple process, but it can be tricky when you’re just starting out. Remember that to get the current date and time without time zone, you’ll need to use the GETDATE() function.


This snippet will return the current date only without any time component.

But we all know that coding isn’t always a walk in the park. Mistakes happen, so here are some common pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Forgetting to convert: T-SQL will give you both the date and time by default. If it’s just the date or time you’re after, don’t forget to use CONVERT.
  • Using incorrect formats: The format code matters. For instance, 111 gives us ‘yyyy/mm/dd’. But if you want ‘dd/mm/yyyy’, then 103 is your go-to code.

The power of SQL lies not just in retrieving data but molding it into useful information – like getting today’s date or current timestamp sans timezone! So keep exploring, keep learning; there’s always more than one way to query a database!

Remember this journey through dates and times is just one part of mastering T-SQL. There are many other functions and possibilities waiting for you out there. As I often say, practice makes perfect – so make sure to spend enough time honing your skills!

In future posts, I’ll delve deeper into different aspects of using SQL Server effectively including advanced querying techniques, performance optimization strategies among others.

For now though – happy querying!

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