How to Insert Date in SQL: Essential Tips for Database Management

By Cristian G. Guasch • Updated: 06/02/23 • 18 min read

Working with dates is a common requirement in database management, specifically when using SQL. One might often have to insert date values into their database, either for record keeping or for manipulating data based on date-related information. In this article, we will explore different techniques for inserting dates into SQL databases, offering solutions for various needs.

Various database management systems implement SQL with their own specialized syntax and functions for dealing with dates. Regardless, there are some standard practices that can be followed to ensure success when inserting dates in SQL. We’ll dive into common methods and help you choose the one that suits your situation best.

It’s important to understand the way SQL handles date values and the correct formatting needed to avoid any unexpected results. Properly handling SQL insert date operations saves time, prevents errors, and streamlines the overall process. Stay tuned for an in-depth explanation along with examples that will assist you in becoming proficient at inserting dates into your SQL databases.

Understanding SQL Date and Time Data Types

When working with SQL, it’s essential to have a grasp of the different data types, especially when dealing with date and time. In this section, we’ll explore various date and time data types used in SQL and how to effectively insert them into your database.

There are several common date and time data types utilized in SQL databases. These include:

  • DATE: This type stores the date only in the format ‘YYYY-MM-DD’.
  • TIME: Stores time values in the format ‘HH:MM:SS’.
  • DATETIME: A combination of both DATE and TIME, using the format ‘YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS’.
  • TIMESTAMP: Functions similarly to DATETIME but is affected by timezone settings.
  • YEAR: Stores the year as an integer, either as a 2-digit or 4-digit format.

Each database system may have additional, specific date and time data types or slight variations. However, these mentioned types are frequently utilized in SQL databases.

When inserting date and time values in SQL, appropriate formatting is crucial. Here’s a brief overview of the formatting requirements for each data type:

Data TypeFormat Example
DATETIME‘2021-12-01 14:30:15’
TIMESTAMP‘2021-12-01 14:30:15’
YEAR2021 (4-digit) or 21 (2-digit)

To sql insert date or time values in a database, the typical SQL command comprises the INSERT INTO statement, specifying both the table name and column where the value will be added. Alongside the VALUES keyword, the required date and/or time data is inserted. Here’s a basic example with a DATETIME value:

INSERT INTO sample_table (date_time_column) VALUES ('2021-12-01 14:30:15');

It’s worth noting that some database systems offer functions to insert the current date or time. For instance, MySQL provides the CURDATE() function for inserting the current date, CURTIME() for the current time, and NOW() for the current date and time. An example:

INSERT INTO sample_table (date_time_column) VALUES (NOW());

Understanding these SQL date and time data types, along with their respective formatting requirements, is crucial for effectively managing and organizing information within your database. Keeping this knowledge in mind will ensure smooth execution when using the INSERT INTO statement to add date and time values.

Methods for Inserting Dates in SQL

In SQL databases, dates are commonly stored in the form of standardized formats. This section will explore a few appropriate methods to insert dates in SQL queries. By focusing on these practices, developers can ensure that their applications run smoothly, and data remains neatly organized.

A significant aspect of inserting dates in SQL includes understanding the data types used for dates. The most frequently used data types are:

  • DATE: Just stores the date (no time)
  • TIME: Just stores the time (no date)
  • DATETIME: Stores both date and time
  • TIMESTAMP: Similar to DATETIME, but has timezone support

When working with SQL INSERT DATE, here are common methods developers employ:

  1. Inserting Dates Directly:

To insert a date value directly into the table, use the date format prescribed by the database management system:

INSERT INTO TableName (DateColumn) VALUES ('YYYY-MM-DD');

For example,

INSERT INTO Orders (OrderDate) VALUES ('2021-06-15');
  1. Using the CURRENT_DATE or CURRENT_TIMESTAMP Functions:

These functions automatically insert the current date or timestamp into the table:

  1. Utilizing Database-Specific Functions:

Databases like SQL Server and Oracle have specific functions that can be used to insert dates. A few examples are:

-- SQL Server Example:
INSERT INTO TableName (DatetimeColumn) VALUES (SYSDATETIME());

-- Oracle Example:
  1. Converting Strings to Dates:

Sometimes, developers need to convert date strings into appropriate date formats before inserting them into the database. Database systems typically provide functions, such as CONVERT() or TO_DATE(), that can be used:

-- SQL Server Example:
INSERT INTO TableName (DateColumn) VALUES (CONVERT(date, 'DD/MM/YYYY', '2021/06/15'));

-- Oracle Example:
INSERT INTO TableName (DateColumn) VALUES (TO_DATE('15-JUN-2021',

Incorporating these methods will aid developers in handling SQL INSERT DATE in a manner reliable for database management and application performance.

Using the NOW() Function

Incorporating a date into SQL queries might seem challenging at first, but the NOW() function simplifies the process significantly. This function helps users insert the current date and time in SQL databases. By using NOW(), they can effortlessly add dates to their database records.

As an SQL function, NOW() returns the current date and time, typically formatted as YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS. A common use for this function is when sql insert date commands are needed to record a timestamp for specific events or actions. The syntax to utilize NOW() for inserting the current date and time in a database is straightforward:

INSERT INTO table_name (column1, column2, date_column)
VALUES ('value1', 'value2', NOW());

In this example, the date and time are being inserted into the date_column. Consequently, the current date and time will be recorded utilizing the NOW() function, and the other values will be allocated to their respective columns.

To control the return of either the current date or time, the following functions may be used:

  • CURDATE(): returns the current date in YYYY-MM-DD format.
  • CURTIME(): returns the current time in HH:MM:SS format.

These additional functions operate similarly to NOW() and can be implemented with the same INSERT INTO statement:

INSERT INTO table_name (column1, column2, date_column, time_column)
VALUES ('value1', 'value2', CURDATE(), CURTIME());

In summary, the NOW() function is an essential tool for handling date and time values in SQL databases, making it easy to sql insert date. By using NOW(), CURDATE(), or CURTIME(), users can tailor their database to accurately record important event timestamps and keep their records up-to-date.

Leveraging the CURDATE() and CURTIME() Functions

One of the most essential skills in handling databases is knowing how to insert date values. In SQL, two useful functions for working with date and time values are CURDATE() and CURTIME(). This section will focus on how to leverage these functions when inserting date values into your database.

Utilizing the CURDATE() function lets you insert the current date into a table. This function returns the current date in the format ‘YYYY-MM-DD’, which is compatible with DATE data types. Here’s an example of using CURDATE() to insert the current date into a table named sales:

INSERT INTO sales (sale_date, product_id, quantity)
VALUES (CURDATE(), 1234, 10);

Notice how the CURDATE() function allows you to skip manually entering the date while ensuring it’s up-to-date. This can significantly save time and reduce the risk of human error.

On the other hand, the CURTIME() function is used to insert the current time in the format ‘HH:MM:SS’. Like CURDATE(), it’s valuable for automatically recording the current time, which is suitable for TIME or DATETIME data types. Take a look at this example that demonstrates how to insert the current time into a table called logins:

INSERT INTO logins (login_time, user_id)

Both CURDATE() and CURTIME() have variations that cater to different situations. Here is a quick overview:

  • CURRENT_DATE(): An alternative to CURDATE() that also returns the current date.
  • CURRENT_TIME(): Equivalent to CURTIME() and delivers the current time.
  • NOW() or CURRENT_TIMESTAMP(): Returns both date and time in the format ‘YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS’, ideal for DATETIME data types.

The following example shows how to use the NOW() function to insert the current date and time into a table called orders:

INSERT INTO orders (order_datetime, customer_id, total_amount)
VALUES (NOW(), 9876, 150.00);

In conclusion, mastering the use of CURDATE(), CURTIME(), and their variations empowers you to efficiently insert date and time values in SQL. These functions simplify the process, reduce errors, and ensure consistency across your database, ultimately improving your overall data management.

Inserting Custom Date Formats with STR_TO_DATE()

Dealing with date formats in SQL can be a bit tricky, but STR_TO_DATE() comes to the rescue when you need to insert a custom date format. This powerful function allows you to interpret a date in a given format and store it in the proper SQL date format.

SQL databases like MySQL default to the standard ‘YYYY-MM-DD’ format, but what if you have data like ’25 December 2021′? With STR_TO_DATE(), you can convert dates with a custom format to the SQL-friendly format.

Here’s how it works:

  1. First, specify the date in a string format. For example, '25 December 2021'.
  2. Next, define the format of your original date using date format specifiers. In this case, %d %M %Y.

Put it all together in a SQL INSERT statement, and you’ve got:

INSERT INTO sample_table (date_column) VALUES (STR_TO_DATE('25 December 2021', '%d %M %Y'));

Some important format specifiers include:

  • %d: Day of the month (00-31)
  • %m: Month, numerical (00-12)
  • %M: Month, abbreviated name (Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.)
  • %Y: Year, with century (e.g., 2021)
  • %y: Year, without century (2-digit format, e.g., 21)
  • %H: Hour, 24-hour format (00-23)
  • %i: Minutes (00-59)

Here are a few more examples to provide some clarity:

  • Convert '15-06-2022' (DD-MM-YYYY format) to SQL date format:
INSERT INTO sample_table (date_column) VALUES (STR_TO_DATE('15-06-2022', '%d-%m-%Y'));
  • Convert 'Jan 1st, 2022' (MMM Day, YYYY format) to SQL date format:
INSERT INTO sample_table (date_column) VALUES (STR_TO_DATE('Jan 1st, 2022', '%M %D, %Y'));

The STR_TO_DATE() function is incredibly useful for dealing with custom date formats in SQL. No matter the format you’re working with, simply provide the input string and the correct format specifier, and you’ll have an easy way to insert date values into your database.

In summary, the STR_TO_DATE() function allows you to transform and insert date values in your desired format, making it a powerful tool when working with various date formats in SQL databases.

Adding Date and Time Using the TIMESTAMP() Function

Dealing with date and time values in SQL can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately, there’s a function that makes it easy to insert date and time values into your database – the TIMESTAMP() function.

The TIMESTAMP() function allows you to create a timestamp with the desired date and time, which can then be inserted into your SQL table. To use this function, you’ll need to input the date and time values in a specific format: YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS. However, if you want to insert only the date, you can simply input YYYY-MM-DD.

Here’s an example of how to use the TIMESTAMP() function to insert a date and time value into a table:

INSERT INTO your_table (column_name)
VALUES (TIMESTAMP('2022-05-08 14:30:45'));

If you’d like to use the current date and time, you can utilize the NOW() or CURRENT_TIMESTAMP functions within the TIMESTAMP() function. For instance:

INSERT INTO your_table (column_name)


INSERT INTO your_table (column_name)

It’s important to be aware of the data types your table column accepts:

  • DATE: This data type will store only the date, without the time portion. When using the TIMESTAMP() function to insert values into a DATE column, ensure you only input the date value (YYYY-MM-DD).
  • TIME: This data type accepts only the time portion. To insert time using the TIMESTAMP() function, supply the time value as ‘HH:MM:SS’.
  • DATETIME and TIMESTAMP: These data types accommodate both date and time values. Remember to input the complete timestamp value of ‘YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS’.

Knowing the data types makes SQL insert date and time tasks more manageable, helping avoid errors when using the TIMESTAMP() function.

In summary, the TIMESTAMP() function is a useful tool for adding date and time values to your SQL database. It’s versatile and compatible with various date and time formats, allowing you to efficiently store and manage your data. Just keep in mind the specific data types for your table columns, and you’ll be able to utilize the TIMESTAMP() function effectively.

Date and Time Arithmetic with DATE_ADD() and DATE_SUB()

Manipulating dates and times is an essential skill when working with SQL databases. DATE_ADD() and DATE_SUB() are two important functions for performing arithmetic operations involving dates. Through these functions, developers can successfully insert date and time data, making it even more convenient for those looking to achieve accuracy and precision in managing information stored within databases.

Utilizing the DATE_ADD() function, one can easily add or subtract a specific interval to the given date and time data. It’s important to note that the function can manage various time intervals, such as days, weeks, months, or years. Likewise, the DATE_SUB() function mirrors the way DATE_ADD() works but is designed to subtract the specified intervals instead. Here’s the syntax for both functions:

DATE_ADD(date, INTERVAL value unit)
DATE_SUB(date, INTERVAL value unit)

As an example, let’s consider three scenarios – adding days, weeks, and months to a specific date:

  • Adding 10 days: DATE_ADD('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 10 DAY)
  • Adding 3 weeks: DATE_ADD('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 3 WEEK)
  • Adding 6 months: DATE_ADD('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 6 MONTH)

Now, let’s examine some uses of DATE_SUB():

  • Subtracting 5 days: DATE_SUB('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 5 DAY)
  • Subtracting 2 weeks: DATE_SUB('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 2 WEEK)
  • Subtracting 8 months: DATE_SUB('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 8 MONTH)

Another practical application when working with SQL is the ability to calculate the difference between two dates. This can be achieved using the DATEDIFF() function. The syntax for this function is as follows:

DATEDIFF(unit, start_date, end_date)

For instance, if one needs to identify the difference in days between two dates, the following query can be applied:

SELECT DATEDIFF(DAY, '2022-01-01', '2022-01-15') as 'Days Difference';

In conclusion, the use of DATE_ADD(), DATE_SUB(), and DATEDIFF() offer flexibility and ease when performing arithmetic operations on dates and times. Through applying these functions, developers can manage and insert date and time data in SQL databases efficiently.

Managing Time Zones with CONVERT_TZ()

One crucial aspect in handling date and time data in SQL is managing time zones. The CONVERT_TZ() function in MySQL is a powerful tool to address this issue. It plays a significant role when inserting dates or dealing with data from multiple time zones. By using this function, one can easily convert a datetime or timestamp value from one time zone to another.

The CONVERT_TZ() function uses three arguments:

  1. The datetime or timestamp value to be converted.
  2. The original time zone identifier.
  3. The target time zone identifier.

Here’s an example of how the CONVERT_TZ() function can be employed in an sql insert date operation:

INSERT INTO events (event_name, event_time)
VALUES ("Sample Event", CONVERT_TZ("2022-06-01 12:00:00", "UTC", "America/New_York"));

The example above demonstrates how to insert a date and time value into the events table, converting the input from the UTC time zone to the America/New_York time zone. In this way, data is properly adjusted according to the target time zone, allowing for accurate date and time comparisons across different areas.

To check if the MySQL server has time zone support enabled, one can use the SELECT statement with the @@global.time_zone variable:

SELECT @@global.time_zone;

It’s important to note that time zone names are case-sensitive, requiring precise input to ensure accuracy. Some common time zone identifiers include:

  • “UTC”
  • “Asia/Tokyo”
  • “America/Los_Angeles”

For a comprehensive list of time zone identifiers, refer to the IANA Time Zone Database.

Updating an existing record with a new date and time value can also be achieved using the CONVERT_TZ() function in conjunction with the UPDATE statement:

UPDATE events
SET event_time = CONVERT_TZ("2022-07-01 14:30:00", "UTC", "America/Chicago")
WHERE event_id = 1;

The example demonstrates how to update an existing event’s date and time value, converting it from the UTC time zone to the America/Chicago time zone.

In summary, the CONVERT_TZ() function in MySQL is an invaluable tool for managing time zones when working with date and time data, including sql insert date operations. By utilizing this function, developers can accurately store and update both local and global datetime values, ensuring data consistency across varying time zones.

Ensuring Data Integrity with DEFAULTS and CONSTRAINTS

When working with SQL insert date operations, it’s crucial to ensure data integrity by using DEFAULTS and CONSTRAINTS. These tools help maintain consistent and accurate data in a database, preventing unwanted data entry errors and providing a reliable foundation for applications.

Setting DEFAULT values for date fields can save time and reduce user input errors. A DEFAULT can be set in the schema, and if no value is provided during an INSERT operation, it will automatically populate the date field. For instance, when creating a table, DEFAULT can be set as follows:

  order_id INT,
  customer_id INT,

In this example, if a date is not provided for the order_date field, it will automatically be populated with the current date.

Apart from DEFAULT, CONSTRAINTS play a vital role in ensuring data integrity by enforcing specific conditions:

  • NOT NULL: Requires the field to contain a value, preventing null values from being inserted.
  order_id INT NOT NULL,
  customer_id INT NOT NULL,
  • CHECK: Ensures the value entered meets a particular condition.
  order_id INT NOT NULL,
  customer_id INT NOT NULL,
  order_date DATE CHECK (order_date > '2000-01-01')
  • UNIQUE: Guarantees the field contains unique values, avoiding duplicates.
  customer_id INT NOT NULL,
  • FOREIGN KEY: Enforces a relationship between tables, enhancing data integrity by ensuring each value in the FOREIGN KEY table has a corresponding value in the referenced PRIMARY KEY table.
  order_id INT PRIMARY KEY,
  customer_id INT FOREIGN KEY REFERENCES customers(customer_id),

To sum up, using DEFAULTS and CONSTRAINTS ensures data integrity and reasonable data entry when inserting dates in SQL operations. Implementing these database practices is pivotal to maintain consistency and guarantee high-quality data suitable for application development and reporting needs.

Wrapping Up: Best Practices for Inserting Dates in SQL

When it comes to inserting dates in SQL, there are several best practices to follow. Doing so will ensure that you effectively store and manage date information, using it seamlessly in your queries and applications. Here’s a look at some key aspects to remember:

  • Date Data Types: When creating table columns, make sure to select an appropriate data type for the date information. SQL offers a range of date and time data types, such as DATE, TIME, and TIMESTAMP. Choosing the right one helps prevent errors and improves query performance.
  • Consistent Format: SQL requires consistency in date format across all your date values. Ensure that all the date values you enter in SQL adhere to a single format. Some common formats include YYYY-MM-DD, MM/DD/YYYY, and DD/MM/YYYY. This consistency facilitates better reporting and analysis.
  • Use Built-in Functions: SQL provides numerous built-in functions to work with date values, such as GETDATE(), CURDATE(), and CURRENT_TIMESTAMP. These functions save time when inserting or updating date-related information and keep your SQL code compact and efficient.
  • Account for Time Zones: Handling time zones can be tricky while working with date values. Consider using the AT TIME ZONE function in SQL to convert date and time values between time zones, actively addressing potential discrepancies.
  • Parameters or Variables: When inserting date values through applications or web frontends, use parameterized queries or variables instead of hardcoding values. The use of parameters or variables not only helps avoid potential SQL injection attacks, but it also increases code reusability and readability.

By adhering to these best practices for inserting dates in SQL, you’ll increase the integrity and usability of your date information, eventually enhancing reporting and analysis capabilities as a result. Stick to consistent formats, choose the right data types, and make use of built-in functions and time zone features to optimize your SQL code and achieve accurate results.

Related articles