How To Format Time In 24-Hours Using Python (Examples)

How do you format time to be in 24-hours using Python?

In Python you can format a datetime object to be displayed in 24-hour time using the format %H:%M . This is not to be confused with the 12-hour time which uses the format %I:%M and may have %p appended to the end to denote AM/PM .

Here’s an example demonstrating the conversion of time from 12-hour format to a 24-hour format:

>>> from datetime import datetime
>>> d = "2022-08-31 1:30PM"
>>> datetime.strptime(d, "%Y-%m-%d %I:%M%p")
datetime.datetime(2022, 8, 31, 13, 30)

As you can see from the above code the original string d contains the year followed by the month and then the day of the month along with the time in 12-hour format. To get Python to interpret this string into a datetime object you instruct Python using the format strings in the second parameter of the datetime.strptime() method.

%Y is the year as a four-digit number, %m is the month as a two-digit number, %d is the day of the month as a two-digit number, %I is the hour in 12-hour time, %M (capital m) is the minute and %p is the AM/PM designation.

As you can see from the result the datetime object outputs the year, month, day, hour in 24-hour time, and minute.

To output this datetime object in 24-hour time you can use an f-string with the format style, like so:

>>> from datetime import datetime
>>> d = "2022-08-31 1:30PM"
>>> t = datetime.strptime(d, "%Y-%m-%d %I:%M%p")
>>> f"{t:%H%M}"

As you can see from the above result the outcome of getting 24-hour time is achieved! The f-string enables the use of styling the string using the format modifier and by using the datetime format tags you can output the hour in 24-hour format with %H and the minute would not change ( %M ).


The above explains how to format time in Python to be in 24-hour time instead of 12-hour time. It goes over how to use the format string %H:%M to obtain the desired result from a datetime object in 24-hour time. Additionally, you have seen how to use the f-string format modifier to display the datetime object in 24-hour time.

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Ryan Sheehy
Ryan has been dabbling in code since the late '90s when he cut his teeth exploring VBA in Excel. Having his eyes opened with the potential of automating repetitive tasks, he expanded to Python and then moved over to scripting languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP.