Solved: convert datenum to datetime

In programming, especially when working with Matlab, one often comes across a need to convert datenum to datetime. Matlab, being a high-level language designed specifically for numerical computation, provides several built-in functions to help with this. However, it is always not direct or straightforward, and many times programmers get stuck at this point, hence, this article.

Datenum in Matlab is a number that represents date and time as the number of days from a fixed earlier date (January 0, 0000). While this might seem unusual, this method of time-keeping is common in many computing systems for its simplification in computation. On the other hand, datetime is a more standard and human-readable format of date and time.

The process to convert datenum to datetime isn’t complex if you know the appropriate commands. Let’s break down this process in a step by step guide, making it easier for all to understand how it works.

% Assuming datenum 'DN'
DN = 736696;
% Convert datenum to datetime
DT = datetime(DN, 'ConvertFrom', 'datenum')

You will observe that in the code snippet above, there are two main functions at work.

The datetime function in Matlab

The datetime function is inbuilt in Matlab and is used to create arrays of date and time values. The datetime function has several methods of use but in this case, we are using it to convert a datenum. To do this, the syntax is datetime(DN, ‘ConvertFrom’, ‘datenum’). Interestingly, the datetime function, when used differently, can also be used to convert datetime back to datenum which happens when the syntax is datetime(‘ConvertTo’, ‘datenum’).

The datenum function in Matlab

The datenum function is another inbuilt function in Matlab. In comparison with the datetime function, the datenum function stands out interestingly as it is basically used to convert date strings into serial date numbers. A major advantage of this function is that it simplifies mathematical calculations involvng dates.

  • The ‘DN’ is the datenum that you want to convert.
  • ‘ConvertFrom’ is a Name-value argument. In this code, we set it to ‘datenum’ because we are converting from datenum.

For you to generate datetime values in Matlab, this conversion is frequently required. By following the steps outlined above, this task becomes relatively easy and efficient to accomplish. We hope that this comprehensive guide has been of help. Remember, the functions involved here, that is the datetime function and the datenum function, are very versatile and can perform much more actions than just what have been illustrated here. However, getting a solid grip on this basic function stands you in good stead for future works with Matlab. With practice on how to use these functions, you definitely would become a pro at converting datenums to datetimes and vice-versa.

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