How to use Liquid to format dates

In some situations, you may want to change the way Looker formats dates.

For example, if you're building Explores and dashboards for users in Europe, any dates that are in an all-numeric format should appear in the order Day-Month-Year. For example, June 7th, 2019 should be formatted as 07/06/2019 or Jun 07, 2019. Looker's default format renders the date as 2019-06-07. While you can use SQL functions like DATE_FORMAT() to change a date format, you may not want to write everything in plain SQL.

Using Liquid in the html parameter

You can use Liquid formatting in the html parameter of a dimension to change the format of any field that uses a valid date format. Since Liquid expects a valid date, it is best to use the timeframes from an existing dimension group. You can't change the week or month numbers, because those are returned as integers.

For example, you can format ${created_date} to render as Aug 23 22 instead of the Looker default 2022-08-23:

  dimension: date_formatted {
    sql: ${created_date} ;;
    html:{{ rendered_value | date: "%b %d, %y" }};;

The format for the string syntax "%b %d, %y" is the same as strftime.

Because the html parameter uses Liquid formatting, the original value of the timeframe is not changed — only the way that the value is rendered to the user. This ensures that the order in which dates appear in a query will not change.

Following are some other examples you can use. The larger reference of available formats is at the bottom of this page.

Preset Example
%m/%d/%Y 06/05/2013
%A, %B %e, %Y Wednesday, June 5, 2013
%b %e %a Jun 5 Wed


The following example of an Explore query shows Order Items Date and Orders Items Week formatted differently and organized under a Created date group label to simulate a date dimension group in the Explore field picker.

The custom formatting shows users which date and which week number of the year correspond to the largest Count of Items values in descending order.

See the group_label documentation page to learn more about using the group_label parameter.

An Explore query displays custom date formatting results for Order Items Date, Order Items Week, sorted by Order Items Count of Items descending.

The LookML

The Explore example uses the following LookML:

# The original dimension group - hidden so that users can only choose from the formatted dates date and week timeframes
  dimension_group: created {
    hidden: yes
    type: time
    timeframes: [
    sql: ${TABLE}.created_at ;;

# The customized timeframes, organized in the Explore field picker under the group label Created date
  dimension: date_formatted {
    group_label: "Created date"
    label: "Date"
    type: date_raw
    sql: ${created_date} ;;
    html: {{ rendered_value | date: "%b %d, %y" }};;

  dimension: week_formatted {
    group_label: "Created date"
    label: "Week"
    type: date_raw
    sql: ${created_week} ;;
    html: {{ rendered_value | date: "Week %U (%b %d)" }};;

strftime Reference

The following table lists various strftime formats. Please note that not all formats may render as expected in Looker.

specifier Replaced by Example
%a Abbreviated weekday name * Thu
%A Full weekday name * Thursday
%b Abbreviated month name * Aug
%B Full month name * August
%c Date and time representation * Thu Aug 23 14:55:02 2001
%C Year divided by 100 and truncated to integer (00-99) 20
%d Day of the month, zero-padded (01-31) 23
%D Short MM/DD/YY date, equivalent to %m/%d/%y 08/23/01
%e Day of the month, space-padded ( 1-31) 23
%F Short YYYY-MM-DD date, equivalent to %Y-%m-%d 2001-08-23
%g Week-based year, last two digits (00-99) 1
%G Week-based year 2001
%h Abbreviated month name * (same as %b) Aug
%H Hour in 24h format (00-23) 14
%I Hour in 12h format (01-12) 02
%j Day of the year (001-366) 235
%k Hour in 24h format, single digits are proceeded by a blank space (0-23) 14
%l Hour in 12h format, single digits are proceeded by a blank space (0-12) 2
%m Month as a decimal number (01-12) 8
%M Minute (00-59) 55
%n New-line character ('\n')
%P am or pm designation in lowercase pm
%r 12-hour clock time * 2:55:02 PM
%R 24-hour HH:MM time, equivalent to %H:%M 14:55
%s Number of seconds since the Epoch, 1970-01-01 00:00:00 +0000 (UTC) 1566236649
%S Second (00-61) 2
%t Horizontal-tab character ('\t')
%T ISO 8601 time format (HH:MM:SS), equivalent to %H:%M:%S 14:55:02
%u ISO 8601 weekday as number with Monday as 1 (1-7) 4
%U Week number with the first Sunday as the first day of week one (00-53) 33
%V ISO 8601 week number (01-53) 34
%w Weekday as a decimal number with Sunday as 0 (0-6) 4
%W Week number with the first Monday as the first day of week one (00-53) 34
%x Date representation * 08/23/01
%X Time representation * 14:55:02
%y Year, last two digits (00-99) 1
%Y Year 2001
%z ISO 8601 offset from UTC in timezone (1 minute=1, 1 hour=100)If timezone cannot be determined, no characters 100
%Z Timezone name or abbreviation *If timezone cannot be determined, no characters CDT
%% A % sign %