I already asked a question like this (Set date field in D8).

Ok duplicate entry? NO!

Now i have also to set a time and i'm using a array. My code looks like this.

$field_array = [
##begin of creating node
'uid' => $new_old_uid["new_uid"],
'type' => $content_type,
'langcode' => $lang,
'status' => (!empty($import_node->status)) ? $import_node->status : 0,

#### How to create date with times?
#Every Version causes that error -> Array to string conversion in ....
### Version 1
'field_event_date_start' => [[ "value"=> date('Y-m-d H:i:00',$imported_date) ]],
'field_event_date_end' => [[ "value"=> date('Y-m-d H:i:00',$imported_date) ]],
### Version 2
'field_event_date_start' => [ "value"=> date('Y-m-d H:i:00',$imported_date) ],
'field_event_date_end' => [ "value"=> date('Y-m-d H:i:00',$imported_date) ],

### How to add a url?
'field_event_url' => (!empty($import_node->field_event_url)) ? array('value'=> $imported_url) : null,

UPDATE: Another try for datetime field:

'field_event_date_start' => array(
    "value" => array(
        "date" => date('Y-m-d',$imported_date),
        "time" => date('H:i:00',$imported_date)

Now I'm getting following error: Placeholders must have a trailing [] if they are to be expanded with an array of values.

5 Answers 5


Datetime fields in Drupal 8 are stored as strings. So you need to convert it into string.

You can use the format method, e.g.

$formatted_date = $date->format('Y-m-d H:i:s');

Refer Inserting the value from Datetime field form

You can also use T as separator,


\DateTime::format("Y-m-d\TH:i:s"); //need a escape character in front of T.

Refer Why is my Datetime field not saved?

  • 1
    thx works like charm!
    – themca
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 7:14
  • 1
    @DRUPWAY, do you want to update your answer to use the DateTimeItemInterface constants. Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 22:21

Since Drupal 8.5.x this works a little differently.

Firstly it's good practice to set the timezone explicitly so you know what is going on:

Set the timezone:

$timezone = new \DateTimeZone('UTC');
// Or
$timezone = new \DateTimeZone(date_default_timezone_get());
// Or 
$timezone = new \DateTimeZone(DateTimeItemInterface::STORAGE_TIMEZONE);

Then create the date object using the PHP DateTime class:

$date_time = new \DateTime('now', $timezone);
$drupal_date_time = DrupalDateTime::createFromDateTime($date_time);

Or the DrupalDateTime class:

$drupal_date_time = new DrupalDateTime('yesterday', $timezone);

I like to use DateTime (or DateTimeImmutable) and then pass into the DrupalDateTime wrapper. That way native methods are highlighted in the IDE and also date comparisons (e.g. $now > $somedatetime work reliably.

Prior to saving the date/time you must set the timezone to DateTimeItemInterface::STORAGE_TIMEZONE:

$drupal_date_time->setTimezone(new \DateTimeZone(DateTimeItemInterface::STORAGE_TIMEZONE))

You can then format the date for storage using the the DateTimeItemInterface::DATETIME_STORAGE_FORMAT constant:


Here is an example usage:

$node = $this->entityTypeManager
      'type' => 'article',
      'title' => 'test',
// Get the default timezone
$default_timezone = new \DateTimeZone(date_default_timezone_get());
// Set some date/time objects
$now = new \DateTime('now', $default_timezone);
$yesterday = new \DateTime('yesterday', $default_timezone);

// Compare the dates
if($yesterday < $now){
  // Do some stuff

// Optionally convert to DrupalDateTime if you need the custom methods, etc
$now = DrupalDateTime::createFromDateTime($now);
$yesterday = DrupalDateTime::createFromDateTime($yesterday);

// Get the storage timezone
$storage_timezone = new \DateTimeZone(DateTimeItemInterface::STORAGE_TIMEZONE);

// Save the dates to the fields


A bonus example — find nodes with a date/time field value that matches a 24hr window:

$date = new \DateTimeImmutable('now - 1 month', new \DateTimeZone(date_default_timezone_get()));

$start_time = $date->modify('midnight');
$start_time = DrupalDateTime::createFromDateTime($start_time);
$end_time = $date->modify('+1 day midnight -1 second');
$end_time = DrupalDateTime::createFromDateTime($end_time);

// Find all NODES with date times that match the 24hr window
$query = \Drupal::entityQuery('node')
  //      ->condition('status', 1)
  ->condition('type', 'event')
      ->setTimezone(new \DateTimeZone(DateTimeItemInterface::STORAGE_TIMEZONE))
      ->setTimezone(new \DateTimeZone(DateTimeItemInterface::STORAGE_TIMEZONE))

If your date field is not a DATETIME but a DATE, use a different format. And a better solution would be to use the Datime object constant to get the format.

constant DATETIME_STORAGE_FORMAT :: string(12) "Y-m-d\TH:i:s"
constant DATE_STORAGE_FORMAT :: string(5) "Y-m-d"

Working example.

use Drupal\datetime\Plugin\Field\FieldType\DateTimeItemInterface;

$dtime = DateTime::createFromFormat("m/d/Y - G:i", $row->Date); // not needed
$dtime->setTimezone(new \DateTimezone(DateTimeItemInterface::STORAGE_TIMEZONE));
$dtimeFormat = $dtime->format(DateTimeItemInterface::DATE_STORAGE_FORMAT);
$article->set('field_date', $dtimeFormat);

This is what worked for me:

$timestamp = \Drupal::time()->getRequestTime();
$date = DrupalDateTime::createFromTimestamp($timestamp, 'UTC');
$entity->field_date = $date->format("Y-m-d\TH:i:s");
  • 1
    You are hardcoding the storage format and timezone. This will work for now, but it may break silently in future versions. You want this: $timestamp = \Drupal::time()->getRequestTime(); $date = DrupalDateTime::createFromTimestamp($timestamp, DateTimeItemInterface::STORAGE_TIMEZONE); $storableDate = $date->format(DateTimeItemInterface::DATETIME_STORAGE_FORMAT); $entity->set('field_date, $storableDate);
    – Jonathan
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 19:07

This works great for date fields, as noted. However, if you need to update a timestamp based field use something like:

 $entityref->set('field_timestamp_field', $source_date->getTimestamp());

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