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Reporting Services date parameter formats
How do you get dates to look sensibly formatted in SSRS parameters? This blog considers the issues, and appeals for help!

Posted by Andy Brown on 24 February 2012

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Date Formats for Reporting Services Parameters

Sometimes I write blogs for my own sake, just to stop myself having to reinvent the wheel time and time again.  This is one of those times!

This is also an appeal for help, and raises more questions than it answers.  Can anyone add a comment to throw any light on this?  All help gratefully received!

The Question - How do Dates Appear in Parameters?

For the fairly simple SSRS report shown below, the user has to enter a date as a parameter:

Report with date parameter

You can type in a date, and the report will show all actors in the underlying database born on or after that date.


The question is: how can you influence the date format?  First I'll give an answer, and then explain that it doesn't seem to work, and in any case answers the wrong question.

Changing the Date Format for Report Parameters

The best way to do this - says everyone - is to change the report's language, and to do that you need to change the report's properties:

Selecting report

Click completely off the report (on the slightly shaded area above, below or to the left or right of your design) to select the report.


You should now see the properties of the report in the Properties window, and can change the language setting:

Language property of report

You can set the property of the report to a specific language by choosing it from the list.


A better option is probably to set an expression for the language:

Setting an expression for a language

You can click in the Language property and choose to set an expression.


You can then choose to change the language to that set on the report author's computer:

Built-in user language

Click on Built-in Fields as a category, then double-click on Language to get the expression shown.


All of this is very interesting, but there are two problems with it: it doesn't seem to work, and it won't have any effect on the date format when you deploy your report. 

 Does the Language Setting Work?

After making the change above, nothing seems to alter:

Report parameter date format

The format of the report parameter is still not correct!


Can anyone help?  Why can't there just be a single setting saying: "show my dates in this format"?

What Happens when you Deploy a Report

When you deploy your report, it's the date settings of the client browser (in this case, IE9) which take effect:

Date parameter in deployed report

The date is now perfect (for the UK format I want to use).


So perhaps the moral is: don't fuss too much about the date format when you're authoring reports, and just make sure it looks OK when you deploy them.


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