Canada English Date Format

In Canada the official standard date format is day month year, as opposed to the American month day, year. However that is not one of the options listed for formatting dates when I have set the Language to English (Canada) although I am offered the strange “dd. Month yyyy”. Why would anyone want a period after the day of the month? I can get my desired formats by specifying English (UK). Living next to the “elephant” as our current Prime Minister’s father was wont to say, means that colloquially we tend to follow American practices in many things, although we still refer to the last letter of the alphabet as “zed”. Indeed Canada Customs agents have been known to use that as a Shibboleth. The official date format of dd/mm/yyyy was chosen because it is both the British standard and the French standard.

Living next to the “elephant” … we tend to follow American practices in many things.
Don’t do it in this case. The USA are still the only relevant country using the funny “mid-endian” date format.They should proudly remain alone with this famous invention. By the way: Nobody should try to compete with an elephant concerning shit.

“… British standard …”

Thank you!! I have changed my locale from English(Canada) to English(UK) and it works fine. It took some fiddling to correct the existing data for this month but everything looks fine now and with the locale set to English(UK) it should work for the data yet to come from my automatic recording device which uses the DD/MM/YYYY (non)-standard. Too bad that format is not a choice in LO for English(Canada).

I had tried forcing the entry of D/M/Y in the English(Canada) format setting but LO seemed to forget that after I did anything else and I would have to reset it each time. Gave up on that. So English(UK) it is! Thanks again.

P.S. – I agree wholeheartedly about ISO 8601, but completing the conversion to metric does not seem to be a priority for our government.

Concerning the original question “Why would anyone want a period after the day of the month?

I just found the time to have a look into the respective en.wikipedia article. I may have missed some, but found 37 countries, big ones among them, where a frequently used short format has a period behind the d or dd part. 14 of these countries also use the period in this way with long (month-name) formats. Nearest to the Canadian questioner such a country is Greenland.

About 20 of the countries also use the period as the (main) ordinal marker. At least in the range of the German language this is specifically consistent as general usage puts the day number ordinal also in spoken language (like English does). I do not know much about dates in handwriting an spoken languages otherwise.

Concerning the actual issue:
For M/D/Y I found the USA, their colonial territories and “free associates”, and minority use in Canada, Greenland, Israel (in English print), Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines (long formats), Saudi Arabia, Somalia (long formats), South Korea (a bit, not in Korean), Togo (a bit). That’s it. Very impressive?
Nonetheless some administrators of websites and forums and print media editors seem to dream the elepahnt nightmare, too.
YYYY-MM-DD (ISO 8601 extended ) is the only internationally approved format for written dates in everyday use. We all should use it - always with 4 digits for the year.

It is the only format combining these important advantages:
-1- Internationally comprehensible without any additional explanation
-2- Easily human readable
-3- Sortable by software if given as text without complicated workarounds
-4- Recognised locale-independent by spreadsheets if conversion to numeric representation is wanted/needed.

Make the right choice!


(Though, user is not always authoritative to make that choice, unfortunately.)

I once installed a piece of IBM software. We were puzzled that it crashed every month from the 23rd to the end of the month. It had been written assuming (when you assume you make an ass out of u and me) that EVERYBODY used the mmddyy date format, so it crashed because the “month” was used in a calculation assuming it was never greater than 12.

One of the things I find fascinating about the US exceptionalism with respect to dates is that the most important date in the entire American year is always expressed ddmmyy. I am referring to the “Fourth of July”.

Hm. Quite an interesting reading… but strangely placed on Ask site (meant to ask questions), while the only question in the text is “Why would anyone want a period after the day of the month?” - supposedly not the question asker actually intended to get answers for.

Ok. First of all: have you set your locale properly? In LibreOffice, the pre-defined set of formats (including dates) depends on locale that is set in menu Tools-Options-Language Settings-Languages. Actually, you may also set language for selected cells only, in Format Cells dialog.

But as I see, there’s no “dd/mm/yyyy” format when you choose English (Canada) AFAIKT. So, the questions are:

  1. How to get required formatting that you need?
    For that, put DD/MM/YYYY into Format Code. You may do it for a cell or selected range, or for a cell style. You may save a spreadsheet with required format as a template to be used later.
  2. How to make it so that LibreOffice would have required (standard for Canada, as you say) format available without need to type it yourself? For that, you need to file an enhancement request to our Bugzilla with description why you believe this format must be in presets list for given locale.

Actually, the standard date in Canada is ISO 8601 format for all-numeric dates (YYYY - MM - DD ; for example, 2020-03-02). The government also recommends writing the time using the 24-hour clock (08:51) for maximum clarity in both English and French, but also allows the 12-hour clock (8:51 a.m.) in English

However, even government departments use all three major formats on their documents: yyyy-mm-dd, mm/dd/yyyy and dd/mm/yyyy (or just yy), so even they are confused!

Why doesn’t Libre Office allow the user to choose the format they want as a default? It’s a pain in the fingers having to change the format of ranges of dates in spreadsheet to a custom format, especially when opening existing Excel files which use the so called US format of mm/dd/yyyy?