At least for the United states, what is the best way to display a date (of just year month and day) to the user? What order? should the month be fully typed out, the acronym, or just a number?

  • 2
    In what context? If you're filing for a divorce it's going to be one format, but showing your birthday off on Facebook is likely to be another. Context is key here.
    – JonW
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 15:17
  • There's a list of stuff that's identified by the date it was made. It's an informal situation, and the user doesn't have to enter it in. Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 15:29

3 Answers 3


YYYY-MM-DD is the standard date format, but almost nobody knows it.

My personal preference for clarity is DD/MMM/YYYY with the month as a three-letter abbreviation.

If I were making an app, though, I'd use whatever format is standard on the user's device, as per locale settings.


It depends so much on context. As JonW stated on a legal document will be different from an informal

You say list and date made. If you want to compare dates then I find YYYY-MM-DD effective as sort by date goes from left to right. A 4 digit year makes it clear that it is year. And do 1 as 01 so 09 is left to right sort before 10. And I even use fixed width font.


In the United States, MM/DD/YY or MM/DD/YYYY are accepted norms. US puts month first, where a lot of the rest of the world puts day first.

  • 2
    I'll never understand why ▄▂█ seemed more sensible than ▂▄█ or █▄▂ :D Apparently it's because dates are read as "December 5th, 2014" but if that's the case then why are prices listed as 12.34$ and not 12$23¢? Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 15:56
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    @NiettheDarkAbsol - because when this format came around the year was "understood." So it goes month then day AND if year is required add the year. This made a lot of sense in the 19th C. It makes little sense now - but languages aren't designed, they evolve.
    – Mayo
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 16:06
  • 2
    @Mayo Ah, that makes sense. Now evolve, you silly Americans! :p I kid, I am aware that British English has some very bizarre oddities as well ^_^ Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 16:09

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