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Calc TEXT Time Zone Formatting?

asked 2021-02-21 19:16:28 +0100

CompSciSarah gravatar image

I'm interesteed in adding the local machine's timezone to a TEXT function.

How would I do this? (And also, is there a page of formatting options for TEXT)? I searched for a bit but couldn't find it.

Something like TEXT(NOW(),"MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM:SS"), but with a space + time zone at end (EST)

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answered 2021-02-22 14:31:23 +0100

erAck gravatar image

While you can hard format adding a fixed whatever string, all date+time values are timezone agnostic. Specifically there is no (built-in) way to automatically recognize and format any timezone nor a change of timezone or DST. This is due to the fact that all major spreadsheet implementations use a numeric floating-point value to express date+time in days since a given null date, which does not provide means to carry this information.

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There also seems to be no way to get the information in addition. That looks really annoying to me. Think of a guy actually needing time zone information for global cooperation and synchronization. The other guy wants to make a work-time sheet copíng reasonably with the DST nonsense. What should they do?

Lupp gravatar imageLupp ( 2021-02-22 20:02:28 +0100 )edit

Write an extension..

I have no idea if this Java Time Zones extension helps, reading its unformatted flow text description is kind of confusing.

erAck gravatar imageerAck ( 2021-02-25 16:07:53 +0100 )edit

I'm not good in reading (understanding) Java, and if you find something to be confusing, there's no hope concerning myself.
However, I'm considering for what reason it's not a matter of course for any system and time-server, to give easy access to (at least) 3 time values: UTC, zone time (or offset only), administrated locale time (including time-depending silly DST offset where established).
I cannot imagine how somebody needing to be just a bit precise about time can use an ordinary computer under the given conditions as far as I know them.

Lupp gravatar imageLupp ( 2021-02-25 16:25:38 +0100 )edit

The necessary structures are usually available (at least on modern systems) and along with tzdata the offset from UTC for a given time and location/timezone is known (unless in future (and sometimes even the very recent past) because that DST nonsense keeps changing and even timezones can).

erAck gravatar imageerAck ( 2021-02-25 21:33:24 +0100 )edit
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answered 2021-02-21 21:42:28 +0100

Hello, you can tried with =TEXT(NOW(),"MM/DD/YYYY")&" "&TEXT(NOW(),"HH:MM:SS")&" (EST)" and this is the libre office result "02/21/2021 14:40:49 EST"

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You can achieve the same by =TEXT(NOW();"MM/DD/YYYY_ HH:MM:SS (\E\S\T)") which calls NOW() only once. This avoids the (extremely rare) error that may occur at midnight, where the first NOW() is before midnight and the second is after, yielding a timestamp which is 24 hours off.

Having the timezone outside of the number format makes sense.
=TEXT(NOW();"MM/DD/YYYY_ HH:MM:SS")&" (EST)" is perhaps optimal.

Letters in a format string need to be "escaped" (the backslashes in the first formula) to appear verbatim. Otherwise they may accidentally act as a number placeholder. Your formula is easer to read with this variant, and you can keep the timzone info elsewhere and fetch it individually for your time formulas.

keme gravatar imagekeme ( 2021-02-21 22:17:41 +0100 )edit

This dynamically changes timezone? What happens during daylight time -> EDT (or if someone was in pacific time)? It looks like a static string :)

CompSciSarah gravatar imageCompSciSarah ( 2021-02-21 22:37:44 +0100 )edit

It looks like a static string

Correct. It is a manual entry of the particular TZ you mentioned, and does not fetch a setting from your system, which is perhaps your primary requirement.

keme gravatar imagekeme ( 2021-02-22 06:50:37 +0100 )edit
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Asked: 2021-02-21 19:16:28 +0100

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Last updated: Feb 22