Date formatting in the U.S.A. is usually shown as Month / Day / Year, while international users expect dates to be shown as Day / Month / Year.

What is the best way to avoid confusion for a date like 04/05/2016 being interpreted as April 5th or May 4th?

This is being used on a form collecting dates along with a calendar picker UI to help avoid confusion, but wasn't sure that was enough.

I have suggested using three letter abbreviations for the month:

Apr 5, 2016 or May 4, 2016


2 Answers 2


We have faced the similar issue recently. We deal with client from multiple timezones & everyone wants date to be displayed in their own formats in reports. So we ask for default date display format on creation step & display date accordingly on every report.

For a date which is meant to be consumed by a user only, I think it's best to spell out the date as much as is feasible. Like

Monday, April 4, 2016

Otherwise I would recommend to go with standard ISO date formats. i.e. YYYY-MM-DD

whichever suits your application.


I'm a proponent of using ISO dates (YYYY-MM-DD) because this ambiguity is so annoying. This is generally understood, though it is not hugely common outside technical applications. Even if it is not the most widely used way of displaying dates, I think it is worth pushing because it is a clearly superior solution. It also has the virtue of resulting in dates that sort properly when alphabetized, which may not matter in your context, but it useful in many contexts.

Alternatively, you can use the three letter abbreviations, as you suggest. However, if you need to support multiple languages, this creates the additional complexity of needing to internationalize your date disply.

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