I'm trying to get a DateTime to format into a value to be used in a dynamic query. For some reason, the documentation snippet on how to format a DateTime for a query is giving me an exception.

Im trying to run this anonymous apex snippet:


The format string I'm using is specified on Date Formats and Date Literals.

The exception I'm getting back is:

Line: 1, Column: 1 System.StringException: Unrecognized format: YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssZ

If I remove the T, the string is accepted, but isn't in the right format to query on.

System.debug(DateTime.now().format('YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ssZ'));


2016-03-75 04:01:33-0400

Additionally, if I take the date literals provided on the page, and use them in a query, the query accepts the string, but still won't let me try to format a DateTime into the same Date Format as the accepted Date Literal.


[SELECT Id FROM Account WHERE Some_Date__c > 1999-01-01T23:01:01Z]
  • 1
    Why are you formatting DateTime values instead of just binding directly to the variable?
    – sfdcfox
    Mar 15, 2016 at 21:12
  • The formatted date string is being used later on in a partner api query operation, so I can't use a bind variable inside the query string. Mar 16, 2016 at 14:42

2 Answers 2





The esteemed Mr Ballinger also recommends the following, but it is wrapped in double quotes and slower, so I would probably not use it, myself.


You are linking into formats used in SOQL engine. Please refer to Apex reference and Java SimpleDateFormat for more advanced formats.

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