The toString() method returns a string representing the specified Date object.

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Return value

A string representing the given date.


Date instances inherit their toString() method from Date.prototype, not Object.prototype. Date.prototype.toString() returns a string representation of the Date in the format specified in ECMA-262 which can be summarized as:

  • Week day: 3 letter English week day name, e.g. "Sat"
  • space
  • Month name: 3 letter English month name, e.g. "Sep"
  • space
  • Date: 2 digit day in month, e.g. "01"
  • space
  • Year: 4 digit year, e.g. "2018"
  • space
  • Hour: 2 digit hour of day, e.g. "14"
  • colon
  • Minute: 2 digit minute of hour, e.g. "53"
  • colon
  • Second: 2 digit second of minute, e.g. "26"
  • space
  • The string "GMT"
  • Timezone offset sign, either:
    • "+" for positive offsets (0 or greater)
    • "-" for negative offsets (less than zero)
  • Two digit hour offset, e.g. "14"
  • Two digit minute offset, e.g. "00"
  • Optionally, a timezone name consisting of:
    • space
    • Left bracket, i.e. "("
    • An implementation dependent string representation of the timezone, which might be an abbreviation or full name (there is no standard for names or abbreviations of timezones), e.g. "Line Islands Time" or "LINT"
    • Right bracket, i.e. ")"

E.g. "Sat Sep 01 2018 14:53:26 GMT+1400 (LINT)"

Until ECMAScript 2018 (edition 9), the format of the string returned by Date.prototype.toString was implementation dependent. Therefore it should not be relied upon to be in the specified format.

The toString() method is automatically called when a date is to be represented as a text value, e.g. console.log(new Date()), or when a date is used in a string concatenation, such as const today = 'Today is ' + new Date().

Date.prototype.toString() must be called on Date instances. If the this value does not inherit from Date.prototype, a TypeError is thrown.


Using toString()

The following assigns the toString() value of a Date object to myVar:

const x = new Date();
const myVar = x.toString(); // assigns a string value to myVar in the same format as:
                          // Mon Sep 08 1998 14:36:22 GMT-0700 (PDT)


ECMAScript Language Specification
# sec-date.prototype.tostring

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See also