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Redshift TO_CHAR for Dates

SQL Date Formatting Examples in Redshift

Mastering date formatting in Redshift not only improves the presentation of data but also significantly enhances the analytical capabilities of data professionals. These functions are pivotal in transforming raw time-based data into insightful, actionable information.

Weekday and Week Number Formatting:
SELECT TO_CHAR(current_date, 'Day, W') AS formatted_date FROM table;

This query returns the full name of the weekday and the week number of the year, enhancing the granularity of time-related data analysis.

Quarter and Year Formatting:
SELECT TO_CHAR(current_date, 'Q YYYY') AS formatted_date FROM table;

Useful for financial and business reporting where data is often segmented quarterly.

Time Formatting with AM/PM:
SELECT TO_CHAR(current_timestamp, 'HH12:MI:SS AM') AS formatted_time FROM table;

This is particularly helpful for datasets that require a 12-hour time format for easier readability.

Functions Complementing Date Formatting in Redshift


Truncates a date to the specified part. For instance, truncating to month gives the first day of the month.

SELECT DATE_TRUNC('month', current_date) FROM table;

Calculates the age based on the current date or between two specified dates.

SELECT AGE(timestamp '2001-04-10', timestamp '1957-06-13') AS age;

Extracts a specific part of a date (like year, month, day, etc.).

SELECT EXTRACT(year FROM current_date) AS year;

Practical Scenarios for Using Advanced Date Functions

  1. Business Reporting: Generate quarterly or monthly reports by formatting dates to show only the relevant parts (like the quarter or month).
  2. Age Analysis in Data: Understanding customer demographics by calculating ages from birthdates stored in the database.
  3. Event Timing Analysis: For datasets tracking events, using TO_CHAR to format timestamps helps in understanding the distribution of events throughout the day.

CoginitiScript for Enhanced Date Formatting

CoginitiScript transforms SQL workflows in Redshift by enabling more dynamic, efficient, and scalable data operations. Let’s explore how CoginitiScript can elevate your date formatting tasks in Redshift.

Modularizing Date Formatting with CoginitiScript

With CoginitiScript, you can create reusable modules for frequently used date formatting patterns. This promotes code reuse and maintainability across your data team. Here’s an example macro block:

#+src sql DateFormat(pattern)
  TO_CHAR(current_date, '{{pattern}}')

You can now call this block in your SQL queries to format dates as needed:

SELECT * FROM table WHERE date = {{ DateFormat('Day, W') }};

This modular approach ensures that your date formatting logic is centralized, making it easier to manage and update.

Adapting CoginitiScript for Complex Formatting Scenarios

CoginitiScript also excels in more complex scenarios. Suppose you need to format dates in different styles based on certain conditions. You can define a macro in CoginitiScript to handle this:

#+macro ConditionalDateFormat(dateColumn, formatType)
    WHEN {{ formatType }} = 'Q' THEN TO_CHAR({{ dateColumn }}, 'Q YYYY')
    WHEN {{ formatType }} = 'W' THEN TO_CHAR({{ dateColumn }}, 'Day, W')
    ELSE TO_CHAR({{ dateColumn }}, 'YYYY-MM-DD')

Using this macro in your queries allows for dynamic date formatting:

SELECT {{ ConditionalDateFormat('current_date', 'Q') }} AS formatted_date FROM table;


Mastering SQL date formatting in Redshift is crucial for data professionals to transform time-based data into meaningful insights. By incorporating CoginitiScript into your workflow, you can achieve greater efficiency and consistency in your SQL operations. Try integrating CoginitiScript in your data analytics to experience its transformative impact. For more information and to explore the full capabilities of Coginiti, consider starting a free trial today.