How to Get Yesterday’s Date in T-SQL: A Step-by-Step Guide for Developers

By Cristian G. Guasch • Updated: 09/22/23 • 9 min read

Navigating the world of T-SQL can often feel like a maze, especially when you’re trying to pull specific dates. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a situation where you needed yesterday’s date for a report or data analysis but weren’t sure how to go about it. Well, I’m here to help shed some light on this.

T-SQL, also known as Transact-SQL, is Microsoft’s and Sybase’s proprietary extension to SQL. It expands upon the capabilities of SQL by adding transaction control, exception handling, row processing and more. Despite its complexities, once mastered, it becomes a powerful tool in any database professional’s arsenal.

In particular, getting yesterday’s date may seem tricky at first glance but it’s actually quite straightforward. This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step making it easy for anyone familiar with T-SQL to follow along. Let me assure you that with just a bit of guidance and practice, you’ll be grabbing yesterday’s date with ease!

Understanding T-SQL and Its Importance

Diving into the world of database management, there’s one language that often stands out – it’s T-SQL. Transact-SQL, or T-SQL for short, is an extension of SQL (Structured Query Language). It adds on a few unique elements which are specific to Microsoft SQL Server. The syntax and functions provided by this robust language offer us the power to manipulate data effectively.

Let me highlight why I believe T-SQL is so important. For starters, it’s key in retrieving and dealing with data stored in relational databases. Whether you’re looking to insert data into a table, modify existing records, or even delete unnecessary ones — T-SQL has got you covered.

Moreover, it allows us to create programmable objects like stored procedures and triggers. That means we can automate tasks right within the database itself! Imagine having a process that automatically updates your inventory records each time a sale is made – that’s possible with T-SQL.

CREATE TRIGGER Sales_ON_SalesOrderDetail
UPDATE Inventory 
SET Quantity = Quantity - inserted.Quantity 
FROM inserted INNER JOIN Inventory ON inserted.ProductID = Inventory.ProductID;

Just remember though: while its features are impressive, they also require careful handling. An incorrectly worded query could accidentally wipe out valuable data!

Now let’s talk about getting yesterday’s date in T-SQL – something developers often stumble upon. Since dates and times are stored as specific types in SQL Server (like datetime), we must use particular functions to manipulate them:

SELECT DATEADD(day,-1,GETDATE()) AS 'Yesterday'

In this code snippet above, we’re using two built-in functions available in SQL Server: DATEADD() and GETDATE(). The GETDATE() function retrieves the current date-time value from the server while the DATEADD() function is used to subtract one day from that date.

Common mistakes? Mixing up the order of arguments in DATEADD() – remember, it’s ‘part’, ‘number’, and then ‘date’. Also, avoid relying on casting or converting datatypes unnecessarily. Stick with date and time functions for accuracy and performance.

Bear in mind, T-SQL can be a powerful tool when wielded correctly. As we delve deeper into our databases, mastering this language becomes crucial to efficient data management and manipulation.

The Concept of Date in T-SQL

Understanding the concept of date in T-SQL is crucial to effectively manage and manipulate data. In SQL Server, dates are stored as datetime data types. They’re not just simple text or numerical fields; they hold an incredible amount of information.

Let’s get into it. T-SQL provides several functions to deal with dates. One such function is GETDATE(), which returns the current system timestamp as a datetime value without the database time zone offset. Here’s how you use it:

SELECT GETDATE() AS CurrentTimestamp;

Notably, this function will give you both the date and time, right down to milliseconds! However, what if we just want yesterday’s date? That’s where DATEADD() comes into play.

SELECT DATEADD(day, -1, GETDATE()) AS YesterdayDate;

In this example, we’ve used DAY as the first argument to indicate that we want to subtract days from our given date (which is today’s date). Next -1 indicates that one day should be subtracted.

But be careful! While working with these functions might seem straightforward at first glance, there are common pitfalls that developers often fall into. One such mistake is forgetting about timezone differences when dealing with servers located in different geographical locations.

For instance:

SELECT DATEADD(hour,-5,GETDATE()) AS AdjustedDate;

In this example I’m adjusting for a server situated five hours ahead of my local time zone. It illustrates how important understanding your server settings can be!

Remember also that T-SQL handles rounding differently than other languages like C# or Java. When dealing with fractional values in your computations involving days or hours for example, always remember to round off your numbers correctly.

To sum up: Dates in SQL Server aren’t simply strings or integers but rich, versatile data types. With a little bit of practice and attention to detail, you can master the art of date manipulation in T-SQL!

Methods to Retrieve Dates in T-SQL

There’s a multitude of ways to retrieve dates in T-SQL, and I’ll be diving into some of the most commonly used methods. Whether you’re a seasoned SQL developer or just starting out, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these techniques.

Let’s start with one of the simplest methods: using the GETDATE() function. This function returns the current date and time, which is a common requirement in many applications. Here’s how you use it:

SELECT GETDATE() AS CurrentDateTime;

Now, suppose we want yesterday’s date. The DATEADD() function can come in handy here. It adds or subtracts a specified time interval from a given date. To get yesterday’s date, we subtract one day from today’s date like this:

SELECT DATEADD(day,-1,GETDATE()) AS YesterdayDate;

Moving on, there are scenarios where you might need to work only with the date part and ignore the time component altogether – think log analysis or daily transactions reports for instance. In such cases, CONVERT() function proves useful as it converts an expression of one data type to another.


I’d also like to warn about a common pitfall when working with dates – forgetting about timezone differences! Always remember that functions like GETDATE(), SYSDATETIME(), etc., return system-specific datetime values which could lead to inconsistencies if your database is distributed across different geographical locations.

So there you have it – some popular methods for handling dates in T-SQL. Remember: practice makes perfect! Try them out next time you’re crunching data and see how they can streamline your operations.

Detailed Guide: Getting Yesterday’s Date in T-SQL

Diving straight into the subject, let’s discuss how you can fetch yesterday’s date in T-SQL. It’s simpler than you might think! The SQL Server provides a built-in function called GETDATE() that retrieves the current system timestamp. But we’re after yesterday’s date, aren’t we? So, what we’ll do is subtract one day from the current date.

Here is a quick code snippet to illustrate this:

SELECT DATEADD(dd, DATEDIFF(dd, 0, GETDATE()) - 1, 0) as YesterdayDate

What’s happening here? We’re utilizing two functions: DATEDIFF and DATEADD. Firstly, DATEDIFF calculates the number of specified time intervals between two dates. In our case, it computes the difference (in days) between today (GETDATE()) and an arbitrary zero-date (0). Then we subtract ‘1’ from this value to get ‘yesterday’. Finally using the DATEADD function we add these computed days back to our zero-date.

While working with T-SQL for retrieving yesterday’s date may seem straightforward enough; there are some pitfalls you’d want to avoid. One common mistake is neglecting timezone differences when your application is used globally or across different time zones.

For example:

SELECT GETUTCDATE() - 1 as YesterdayDate

This will give us yesterday’s UTC date which could be different from your local yesterday if you’re not in Greenwich Mean Time zone!

Moreover, remember that these methods return datetime values including both date and time components by default. If you only need the date part without any time details use CAST function like so:

SELECT CAST(GETDATE()-1 AS DATE) as YesterdayDate 

This way it strips off any time details and you’re left with just the date.

In wrapping up this section, it’s worth noting that T-SQL is a powerful tool for handling dates and times. With a little practice, you’ll be manipulating these data types like a pro in no time!

Conclusion: Enhancing Your T-SQL Skills

With that, we’ve reached the end of our journey in understanding how to get yesterday’s date in T-SQL. I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful and informative. By now, you should have a solid grasp on manipulating dates within SQL Server.

Let’s look at some examples:

SELECT DATEADD(day, -1, GETDATE()) AS Yesterday;

In this example, GETDATE() gets the current date and time. We’re subtracting one day (day, -1) from the current date to get yesterday’s date.

But be careful! Common mistakes include forgetting the - sign before the 1, which would actually add a day instead of subtracting it. Also, remember that T-SQL is case-insensitive; however, best practice encourages uppercase for SQL keywords like SELECT, DATEADD, and AS.

Remember these key points:

  • The function GETDATE() returns the current date and time.
  • The function DATEADD() allows you to add or subtract time intervals from a given date.
  • Minus - is used to signify subtraction of days.

Refreshing your knowledge on these basics regularly can help prevent common mistakes and enhance your overall T-SQL skills.

It’s worth mentioning that while working with dates might seem tricky initially due to different formats and functions available in various databases, consistent practice will certainly make things easier over time.

Finally, don’t stop here! There are countless other functionalities in T-SQL waiting for you to explore. From string manipulation to complex query design – each new skill will only make you more proficient as an SQL developer. Keep learning!

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