How to Format a Date YYYY-MM-DD in JavaScript or Node.js

Formatting dates is a common task in application. Displaying due dates or birthdays is always connected to dates. A typical formatting for readable dates is the YYYY-MM-DD format.

This tutorial shows you how to format a JavaScript date in the YYYY-MM-DD format.

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Formatting JavaScript Dates in YYYY-MM-DD

Formatting dates creates a consistent style. You want to ensure the date has always the same length, the year number is displayed using four digits, month and day have two digits.

JavaScript comes with a global Date object. A date instance provides useful methods to retrieve individual pieces, like the year, month, and day numbers.

Use the getFullYear method to retrieve the full year number.

getMonth returns the number of the month on a zero-based scale. That means, 0 is January, 1 is February, and 11 is December. Also, notice the single digit numbers for January until September. You must ensure a leading zero in case the month is a single digit.

Single digits can also happen when retrieving the day using getDate. You must ensure a leading zero as well in the formatting. In case you’re wondering about the provided getDay method in JavaScript: it returns the day of the week and not the day of the month. That’s why we’re using getDate.

Here’s a sample format(date) function formatting the given date in YYYY-MM-DD:

/**
 * Returns the `date` formatted in YYYY-MM-DD.
 *
 * @param {Date} date
 *
 * @returns {String}
 */
function format (date) {  
  if (!(date instanceof Date)) {
    throw new Error('Invalid "date" argument. You must pass a date instance')
  }

  const year = date.getFullYear()
  const month = String(date.getMonth() + 1).padStart(2, '0')
  const day = String(date.getDate()).padStart(2, '0')

  return `${year}-${month}-${day}`
}

You can go ahead and use the format function like this:

format(new Date())  
// '2022-11-17'

format(new Date('2022-5-4'))  
// '2022-05-04'

format()  
format(1234)  
// 💥 Error "Invalid argument. You must pass a date instance"

Enjoy!

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