Assume we have a Data Extract Activity in a SFMC Automation workflow. In those activities, you can specify the output filename with date parameters/placeholders:

Enter a file naming pattern so that the activity knows what to name the file it creates. Use when you have set up a workflow to drop a file whose auto-generated filename matches a pattern into the file location. Enter a static name or include placeholders for the date. Use the following personalization strings in your filename: %%Year%% %%Month%% %%Day%% %%Hour%% %%Minute%% %%Second%%

My question is: What timezone is used for those parameters? Is it the BU's timezone? Is it the server timezone of the server running SFMC? Is it some unchangeable default (e.g. always Eastern time)?

Closest question suggests it might be CST (without regard to Daylight savings)? However, it's specifically around an API use case, so I'm not sure if it directly translates.


As an experiment to validate my hunch: I created a Data Extract Activity that included the Hour and Minute wildcards filename_%%Year%%-%%Month%%-%%Day%%--%%Hour%%-%%Minute%%.csv.

I ran the activity at 15:30 CDT (CDT is my local timezone in SFMC) and the output file was filename_2018-06-27--14-30 or 1 hour behind CDT. That means the timezone is either MDT or CST (central time without respecting Daylight savings).

I'm leaning even more towards believing it's CST, but I still don't have a conclusive way of determining that because I don't know if there is a master/BU/other timezone configured in my SFMC instance to MDT or CST. Do those date placeholders obey a specific timezone configured in SFMC or is it always that timezone (MDT/CST) no matter what you do?

1 Answer 1


By Deafult, CST (without regard to Daylight Savings), but it should be changeable according to SFMC.

I received a respond from SFMC support, they said:

After some further digging, I was able to determine that by default, the output file is set to Central Standard Time and does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

In order to change this, it's recommended to check "Use Local TZ in Query" when setting up the output file as you are creating the data extract. It's one of the checkboxes to the right near the bottom on the configuration page.

For this situation, if you need to switch to your local TimeZone, I would recommend creating a new data extract and checking the "Use Local TZ in Query" box to configure this.

For what it is worth, I have not had success with using the "Use Local TZ in Query" when creating the output file (time still appears to be CST for the filename).

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