Date parsing error in java

[Solved] Date Format Error: java.text.parseexception: unparseable date

Why you are getting java.text.parseexception unparseable date?

You may have come across “java.text.parseexception: unparseable date” error message, when you try to parse the date string into another desired format. Don’t worry it’s a very common error message that users generally faced while parsing a date in java using SimpleDateFormat class.

There are mainly three reasons for this error message either your date format is wrong or you are using the wrong localization or the time zone is not correct. In this article, we are going to see all these three aspects of date parsing which may result in the “java.text.parseexception: unparseable error” message.

What is mean by java.text.parseexception unparseable date?

Let’s first try to understand the error message thoroughly. If you read the error message carefully it’s saying that SimpleDateFormat class is not able to parse the input date string in the desired format.

java.text.parseexception is a runtime exception that occurs when there is a mismatch in the Input Date String value and the Format specified for parsing.

Three Important elements you must consider while parsing a date

Before going further let’s first understand the following three important elements of parsing a date into the required format.

Date Format is very important while parsing the date string into another format. All elements of the date format are case-sensitive. A slight change in the format may result in errors or unexpected results. Refer following table to understand characters used to represent different elements of the date.

Day dd
Month MM
Year yyyy
Hour HH
Minute mm
Second ss

Use the following syntax to specify the date format.

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Localization is very important when using SimpleDateFormat class to parse the date format. If you don’t specify the locale then the constructor of the SimpleDateFormat class uses the default systems locale.

If your input date string is in English locale and if you tried to parse it without specifying localization on the system which is Non-English then it will result in the java.text.parseexception unparseable date error.

You can specify locale explicitly while defining the date format as shown below.

The correct time zone is also very critical while formatting a date in the desired format. The constructor of SimpleDateFormat class implicitly uses JVM default current time zone. JVM’s default current time zone can change based on the location of the user. If a thread of any other application changes the default time zone of JVM then it will result in an unexpected error or wrong output. So it’s advisable to specify Time Zone explicitly while formatting the date.

You can specify the required timezone while formatting a date as shown below.

Now we will see three different examples where you may get java.text.ParseException: Unparseable date error message.

Example 1: Invalid Input String Format



As you see in the above example, the Month of the Input date string is 3 characters (Feb) but in the input date format, a month is specified by 2 characters only (MM). That’s why we got an error message. If you use three characters (MMM) in the input date format then the code will execute without any error message.

Modify code an the line number 18 as shown below:

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Example 2: Invalid Locale


As you see in the above example at line number 18 instead of ENGLISH, ITALY localization is used which caused the error message. In Italian Aug is written as Agosto. If your input contains Italian characters like Agosto then only use ITALY as a locale. Here Aug is an English word hence you must use ENGLISH as a locale.

Modify code an the line number 18 as shown below:

Example 3: Invalid Time Zone



Add trailing Z represented as Time zone in the single quotes (‘Z’)

Modify line number 17 to as shown below:

Note: It may change the time based on the current time zone. To avoid this set required time zone, as explained above in the Time Zone section.


Parsing and Formatting

The temporal-based classes in the Date-Time API provide parse methods for parsing a string that contains date and time information. These classes also provide format methods for formatting temporal-based objects for display. In both cases, the process is similar: you provide a pattern to the DateTimeFormatter to create a formatter object. This formatter is then passed to the parse or format method.

The DateTimeFormatter class provides numerous predefined formatters, or you can define your own.

The parse and the format methods throw an exception if a problem occurs during the conversion process. Therefore, your parse code should catch the DateTimeParseException error and your format code should catch the DateTimeException error. For more information on exception handing, see Catching and Handling Exceptions.

The DateTimeFormatter class is both immutable and thread-safe; it can (and should) be assigned to a static constant where appropriate.

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The one-argument parse(CharSequence) method in the LocalDate class uses the ISO_LOCAL_DATE formatter. To specify a different formatter, you can use the two-argument parse(CharSequence, DateTimeFormatter) method. The following example uses the predefined BASIC_ISO_DATE formatter, which uses the format 19590709 for July 9, 1959.

You can also define a formatter using your own pattern. The following code, from the Parse example, creates a formatter that applies a format of «MMM d yyyy». This format specifies three characters to represent the month, one digit to represent day of the month, and four digits to represent the year. A formatter created using this pattern would recognize strings such as «Jan 3 2003» or «Mar 23 1994». However, to specify the format as «MMM dd yyyy», with two characters for day of the month, then you would have to always use two characters, padding with a zero for a one-digit date: «Jun 03 2003».

The documentation for the DateTimeFormatter class specifies the full list of symbols that you can use to specify a pattern for formatting or parsing.

The StringConverter example on the Non-ISO Date Conversion page provides another example of a date formatter.


The format(DateTimeFormatter) method converts a temporal-based object to a string representation using the specified format. The following code, from the Flight example, converts an instance of ZonedDateTime using the format «MMM d yyy hh:mm a». The date is defined in the same manner as was used for the previous parsing example, but this pattern also includes the hour, minutes, and a.m. and p.m. components.

The output for this example, which prints both the arrival and departure time, is as follows:


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