Display date/time in user's locale format and time offset

I want the server to always serve dates in UTC in the HTML, and have JavaScript on the client site convert it to the user's local timezone.

Bonus if I can output in the user's locale date format.

Seems the most foolproof way to start with a UTC date is to create a new Date object and use the setUTC… methods to set it to the date/time you want.

Then the various toLocale…String methods will provide localized output.


// This would come from the server.
// Also, this whole block could probably be made into an mktime function.
// All very bare here for quick grasping.
d = new Date();

console.log(d);                        // -> Sat Feb 28 2004 23:45:26 GMT-0300 (BRT)
console.log(d.toLocaleString());       // -> Sat Feb 28 23:45:26 2004
console.log(d.toLocaleDateString());   // -> 02/28/2004
console.log(d.toLocaleTimeString());   // -> 23:45:26

Some references:

For new projects, just use moment.js

This question is pretty old, so moment.js didn't exist at that time, but for new projects, it simplifies tasks like this a lot.

It's best to parse your date string from UTC as follows (create an ISO-8601 compatible string on the server to get consistent results across all browsers):

var m = moment("2013-02-08T09:30:26Z");

Now just use m in your application, moment.js defaults to the local timezone for display operations. There are many ways to format the date and time values or extract portions of it.

You can even format a moment object in the users locale like this:

m.format('LLL') // Returns "February 8 2013 8:30 AM" on en-us

To transform a moment.js object into a different timezone (i.e. neither the local one nor UTC), you'll need the moment.js timezone extension. That page has also some examples, it's pretty simple to use.

You can use new Date().getTimezoneOffset()/60 for the timezone. There is also a toLocaleString() method for displaying a date using the user's locale.

Here's the whole list: Working with Dates

Once you have your date object constructed, here's a snippet for the conversion:

The function takes a UTC formatted Date object and format string.
You will need a Date.strftime prototype.

function UTCToLocalTimeString(d, format) {
    if (timeOffsetInHours == null) {
        timeOffsetInHours = (new Date().getTimezoneOffset()/60) * (-1);
    d.setHours(d.getHours() + timeOffsetInHours);

    return d.strftime(format);

In JS there are no simple and cross platform ways to format local date time, outside of converting each property as mentioned above.

Here is a quick hack I use to get the local YYYY-MM-DD. Note that this is a hack, as the final date will not have the correct timezone anymore (so you have to ignore timezone). If I need anything else more, I use moment.js.

var d = new Date();    
d = new Date(d.getTime() - d.getTimezoneOffset() * 60000)
var yyyymmdd = t.toISOString().slice(0,0); 
// 2017-05-09T08:24:26.581Z (but this is not UTC)

The d.getTimezoneOffset() returns the time zone offset in minutes, and the d.getTime() is in ms, hence the x 60,000.

Here's what I've used in past projects:

var myDate = new Date();
var tzo = (myDate.getTimezoneOffset()/60)*(-1);
//get server date value here, the parseInvariant is from MS Ajax, you would need to do something similar on your own
myDate = new Date.parseInvariant('<%=DataCurrentDate%>', 'yyyyMMdd hh:mm:ss');
myDate.setHours(myDate.getHours() + tzo);
//here you would have to get a handle to your span / div to set.  again, I'm using MS Ajax's $get
var dateSpn = $get('dataDate');
dateSpn.innerHTML = myDate.localeFormat('F');

The .getTimezoneOffset() method reports the time-zone offset in minutes, counting "westwards" from the GMT/UTC timezone, resulting in an offset value that is negative to what one is commonly accustomed to. (Example, New York time would be reported to be +240 minutes or +4 hours)

To the get a normal time-zone offset in hours, you need to use:

var timeOffsetInHours = -(new Date()).getTimezoneOffset()/60

Important detail:
Note that daylight savings time is factored into the result - so what this method gives you is really the time offset - not the actual geographic time-zone offset.

With date from PHP code I used something like this..

function getLocalDate(php_date) {
  var dt = new Date(php_date);
  var minutes = dt.getTimezoneOffset();
  dt = new Date(dt.getTime() + minutes*60000);
  return dt;

We can call it like this

var localdateObj = getLocalDate('2015-09-25T02:57:46');

I mix the answers so far and add to it, because I had to read all of them and investigate additionally for a while to display a date time string from db in a user's local timezone format.

The datetime string comes from a python/django db in the format: 2016-12-05T15:12:24.215Z

Reliable detection of the browser language in JavaScript doesn't seem to work in all browsers (see JavaScript for detecting browser language preference), so I get the browser language from the server.

Python/Django: send request browser language as context parameter:

language = request.META.get('HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE')
return render(request, 'cssexy/index.html', { "language": language })

HTML: write it in a hidden input:

<input type="hidden" id="browserlanguage" value={{ language }}/>

JavaScript: get value of hidden input e.g. en-GB,en-US;q=0.8,en;q=0.6/ and then take the first language in the list only via replace and regular expression

const browserlanguage = document.getElementById("browserlanguage").value;
var defaultlang = browserlanguage.replace(/(\w{2}\-\w{2}),.*/, "$1");

JavaScript: convert to datetime and format it:

var options = { hour: "2-digit", minute: "2-digit" };
var dt = (new Date(str)).toLocaleDateString(defaultlang, options);

See: https://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Web/JavaScript/Reference/Global_Objects/Date/toLocaleDateString

The result is (browser language is en-gb): 05/12/2016, 14:58

// new Date(year, monthIndex [, day [, hours [, minutes [, seconds [, milliseconds]]]]])
var serverDate = new Date(2018, 5, 30, 19, 13, 15); // just any date that comes from server
var serverDateStr = serverDate.toLocaleString("en-US", {
  year: 'numeric',
  month: 'numeric',
  day: 'numeric',
  hour: 'numeric',
  minute: 'numeric',
  second: 'numeric'
var userDate = new Date(serverDateStr + " UTC");
var locale = window.navigator.userLanguage || window.navigator.language;

var clientDateStr = userDate.toLocaleString(locale, {
  year: 'numeric',
  month: 'numeric',
  day: 'numeric'

var clientDateTimeStr = userDate.toLocaleString(locale, {
  year: 'numeric',
  month: 'numeric',
  day: 'numeric',
  hour: 'numeric',
  minute: 'numeric',
  second: 'numeric'

console.log("Server UTC date: " + serverDateStr);
console.log("User's local date: " + clientDateStr);
console.log("User's local date&time: " + clientDateTimeStr);

The best solution I've come across is to create [time display="llll" datetime="UTC TIME" /] Tags, and use javascript (jquery) to parse and display it relative to the user's time.

http://momentjs.com/ Moment.js

will display the time nicely.

You could use the following, which reports the timezone offset from GMT in minutes:

new Date().getTimezoneOffset();

Note : - this function return a negative number.

getTimeZoneOffset() and toLocaleString are good for basic date work, but if you need real timezone support, look at mde's TimeZone.js.

There's a few more options discussed in the answer to this question

To convert date to local date use toLocaleDateString() method.

var date = (new Date(str)).toLocaleDateString(defaultlang, options);

To convert time to local time use toLocaleTimeString() method.

var time = (new Date(str)).toLocaleTimeString(defaultlang, options);

Don't know how to do locale, but javascript is a client side technology.

usersLocalTime = new Date();

will have the client's time and date in it (as reported by their browser, and by extension the computer they are sitting at). It should be trivial to include the server's time in the response and do some simple math to guess-timate offset.