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This Oracle tutorial explains how to use the Oracle/PLSQL TO_TIMESTAMP function with syntax and examples.


The Oracle/PLSQL TO_TIMESTAMP function converts a string to a timestamp.


The syntax for the Oracle/PLSQL TO_TIMESTAMP function is:

TO_TIMESTAMP( string1, [ format_mask ] [ 'nlsparam' ] )

Parameters or Arguments

string1 is the string that will be converted to a timestamp.

format_mask is optional. This is the format that will be used to convert string1 to a timestamp.

The following is a list of options for the format_mask parameter. These parameters can be used in many combinations.

Parameter Explanation
YYYY 4-digit year
MM Month (01-12; JAN = 01).
MON Abbreviated name of month.
MONTH Name of month, padded with blanks to length of 9 characters.
DD Day of month (1-31).
HH Hour of day (1-12).
HH12 Hour of day (1-12).
HH24 Hour of day (0-23).
MI Minute (0-59).
SS Second (0-59).

Applies To

The TO_TIMESTAMP function can be used in the following versions of Oracle/PLSQL:

  • Oracle 12c, Oracle 11g, Oracle 10g, Oracle 9i


Let's look at some Oracle TO_TIMESTAMP function examples and explore how to use the TO_TIMESTAMP function in Oracle/PLSQL.

For example:

TO_TIMESTAMP('2003/12/13 10:13:18', 'YYYY/MM/DD HH:MI:SS')

would return '13-DEC-03 AM' as a timestamp value.

TO_TIMESTAMP('2003/DEC/13 10:13:18', 'YYYY/MON/DD HH:MI:SS')

would also return '13-DEC-03 AM' as a timestamp value.