If I have a Sharepoint list item with a date field.

How can I get the field value populated into a c# datetime object?

For example:

DateTime validfrom = Convert.ToDateTime(item["validfrom"]); 

Although this won't produce a design time error. I am sure that this will cause problems depending on which server the code runs on and the locale settings for the server.

Is there a foolproof way to get the c# object populated?

2 Answers 2


You can use one of the SPUtility.ParseDate overloads.

Check the article Converting Date and Time Values for more details.

  • 1
    +1 for link to good article on date time Commented May 17, 2011 at 6:03

Assuming the field type of "validfrom" is DateTime then there should be no need to convert the value, only cast it. You only need to convert/parse if your field type is text, in which case you may consider switching your type to a DateTime or use Marek's advice for conversion.

DateTime validFrom = (DateTime) item["validfrom"];
  • Instead of unnecessarily throwing/catching an exception (which can be considered poor dev practice by some), use the DateTime.TryParse() method instead: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ch92fbc1.aspx - remembering to pass item["validfrom"].ToString()l
    – James Love
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 20:20
  • @James The try catch is more there to check for a null reference exception. Passing a null value from item["validfrom"] to TryParse will still result in an exception. TryParse will only prevent throwing an invalid format exception. Commented May 16, 2011 at 20:27
  • 2
    Perhaps I didn't word my post clearly, but my point is if your field type is a DateTime there is no need to convert or parse the field value, only cast. The OP stated "I have a Sharepoint list item with a date field." I interpreted that to mean the field type was a date, not text. Commented May 16, 2011 at 20:33
  • Gotcha. +1 on your way.
    – James Love
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 21:04
  • 1
    If uninitilized it would be null, so a null check would suffice. Try/catches are relative expensive and likely to introduce bugs if you dont know exactly what you catch. Commented May 17, 2011 at 5:58

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