{date_created} Merge Tag

The {date_created} Merge Tag allows you to display the date an entry was created.

By default, the {date_created} Merge Tag will format the entry using the WordPress "Date Format" setting from the General Options screen.

Example usage:

  • {date_created} will output February 21, 2016

Note: All examples will use February 21, 2016 at 03:09:24 pm GMT. There is no special meaning to this date (unless there is—let us know!).

Add the time to the output

  • :time Adds "at [time] " to the output, where [time] is formatted using the Time Format setting from the General Options screen.

Format the output using PHP date format

The :format Merge Tag modifier can only be used with the {date_created} Merge Tag. If you want a modifier for other Date fields, please try this plugin instead.

Gravity Forms supports using merge tag modifiers on any date field: https://docs.gravityforms.com/date/#h-modifiers

Use :format to define a custom format for the date output. The format must be defined after :format , then a colon, like this :format:m/d/Y .

If you want to use a colon in your output, you must escape the colon with a backslash, like this \: .


  • {date_created} will output February 21, 2016
  • {date_created:time} will output February 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm
  • {date_created:format:m/d/Y} will output 02/21/2016
  • {date_created:format:m/d/Y\ \a\t\ H\:i\:s}  will output 02/21/2016 at 15:09 - note the additional escape character \ before the colons.


Let Gravity Forms decide how to output the date for you.

If the entry is less than a day old, it will output a relative date using the [time] ago format. This cannot be overridden. If you want to customize the format, use the :diff modifier and define a custom :format instead. See ":diff Modifier" below.

If the entry is more than a day old, it will output the date using the blog's Date Format setting. If the :time modifier is also defined, it will output "[date] at [time]" using the website's Date Format and Time Format settings.


  • {date_created:human}
    • Older than 24 hours: February 21, 2016 . Format based on blog Date Format setting.
    • If the entry is less than 24 hours old: 14 hours ago

      Outputs using Human Time Difference format, but when using :human , the output template cannot be changed from %s ago like it can with :diff .

  • {date_created:human:time}
    • If the entry is less than 24 hours old: 14 hours ago
    • Older than 24 hours will output using blog date and time format: February 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm


Show how long ago an entry was created, not the date itself

:diff outputs the time difference from the entry creation date.

{date_created:diff} will output different values based on how long ago the entry was created. The standard format is %s ago , where %s is replaced by the time difference.

  • 3 minutes ago
  • 14 hours ago
  • 28 days ago
  • 2 years ago

When using :diff , :time and :human modifiers will not work.


Override the format

You can use the :format parameter to change the output template. If we want to output "I submitted the form [time difference] in the past", we would use this Merge Tag: {date_created:diff:format:I submitted the form %s in the past} :

  • I submitted the form 3 minutes in the past
  • I submitted the form 14 hours in the past
  • I submitted the form 28 days in the past
  • I submitted the form 2 years in the past

Make sure to keep the %s intact; the %s represents where the time difference will be inserted.

Additional stand-alone modifiers

You cannot combine these modifiers with other modifiers. If they exist in the Merge Tag, they will be used in the order defined, and the other modifiers will be ignored.

  • :raw Return the date_created value, as stored by Gravity Forms in the database (in YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS format).
    • Example: {date_created:raw} outputs 2016-02-21 15:09:24
  • :timestamp Return a Unix Timestamp of the entry creation. This is useful when comparing date values using greater_than and less_than in combination with the [gvlogic] shortcode.
    • Example: {date_created:timestamp} generates 1456067364 (see here)
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