Data Formatter

For formatting of outputs Yii provides a formatter class to make data more readable for users. [[yii\i18n\Formatter]] is a helper class that is registered as an application component named formatter by default.

It provides a set of methods for data formatting purpose such as date/time values, numbers and other commonly used formats in a localized way. The formatter can be used in two different ways.

  1. Using the formatting methods (all formatter methods prefixed with as) directly:

php echo Yii::$app->formatter->asDate('2014-01-01', 'long'); // output: January 1, 2014 echo Yii::$app->formatter->asPercent(0.125, 2); // output: 12.50% echo Yii::$app->formatter->asEmail(''); // output: <a href=""></a> echo Yii::$app->formatter->asBoolean(true); // output: Yes // it also handles display of null values: echo Yii::$app->formatter->asDate(null); // output: (Not set)

  1. Using the [[yii\i18n\Formatter::format()|format()]] method and the format name. This method is also used by widgets like [[yii\grid\GridView]] and [[yii\widgets\DetailView]] where you can specify the data format of a column in the widget configuration.

php echo Yii::$app->formatter->format('2014-01-01', 'date'); // output: January 1, 2014 // you can also use an array to specify parameters for the format method: // `2` is the value for the $decimals parameter of the asPercent()-method. echo Yii::$app->formatter->format(0.125, ['percent', 2]); // output: 12.50%

All output of the formatter is localized when the PHP intl extension is installed. You can configure the [[yii\i18n\Formatter::locale|locale]] property of the formatter for this. If not configured, the application [[yii\base\Application::language|language]] is used as the locale. See the section on internationalization for more details. The Formatter will then choose the correct format for dates and numbers according to the locale including names of month and weekdays translated to the current language. Date formats are also affected by the [[yii\i18n\Formatter::timeZone|timeZone]] which will also be taken from the application [[yii\base\Application::timeZone|timeZone]] if not configured explicitly.

For example the date format call will output different results for different locales:

Yii::$app->formatter->locale = 'en-US';
echo Yii::$app->formatter->asDate('2014-01-01'); // output: January 1, 2014
Yii::$app->formatter->locale = 'de-DE';
echo Yii::$app->formatter->asDate('2014-01-01'); // output: 1. Januar 2014
Yii::$app->formatter->locale = 'ru-RU';
echo Yii::$app->formatter->asDate('2014-01-01'); // output: 1 января 2014 г.

Note that formatting may differ between different versions of the ICU library compiled with PHP and also based on the fact whether the PHP intl extension is installed or not. So to ensure your website works with the same output in all environments it is recommended to install the PHP intl extension in all environments and verify that the version of the ICU library is the same. See also: Setting up your PHP environment for internationalization.

Note also that even if the intl extension is installed, formatting date and time values for years >=2038 or <=1901 on 32bit systems will fall back to the PHP implementation, which does not provide localized month and day names, because intl uses a 32bit UNIX timestamp internally. On a 64bit system the intl formatter is used in all cases if installed.

Configuring the formatter

The default formats used by the formatter methods can be adjusted using the properties of the [[yii\i18n\Formatter|formatter class]]. You can adjust these values application wide by configuring the formatter component in your application config. An example configuration is shown in the following. For more details about the available properties check out the [[yii\i18n\Formatter|API documentation of the Formatter class]] and the following subsections.

'components' => [
    'formatter' => [
        'dateFormat' => 'dd.MM.yyyy',
        'decimalSeparator' => ',',
        'thousandSeparator' => ' ',
        'currencyCode' => 'EUR',

Formatting Date and Time values

The formatter class provides different methods for formatting date and time values. These are:

- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asDate() date]] - the value is formatted as a date e.g. January 01, 2014
- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asDatetime() datetime]] - the value is formatted as date and time e.g. January 01, 2014 14:23
- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asTimestamp() timestamp]] - the value is formatted as a unix timestamp e.g. 1412609982
- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asRelativeTime() relativeTime]] - the value is formatted as the time interval between a date
and now in human readable form e.g. 1 hour ago

The date and time format for the [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asDate()|date]], [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asTime()|time]], and [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asDatetime()|datetime]] methods can be specified globally by configuring the formatters properties [[yii\i18n\Formatter::$dateFormat|$dateFormat]], [[yii\i18n\Formatter::$timeFormat|$timeFormat]], and [[yii\i18n\Formatter::$datetimeFormat|$datetimeFormat]].

By default the formatter uses a shortcut format that is interpreted differently according to the currently active locale so that dates and times are formatted in a way that is common for the users country and language. There are four different shortcut formats available:

  • short in en_GB locale will print for example 06/10/2014 for date and 15:58 for time, while
  • medium will print 6 Oct 2014 and 15:58:42,
  • long will print 6 October 2014 and 15:58:42 GMT,
  • and full will print Monday, 6 October 2014 and 15:58:42 GMT.

Additionally you can specify custom formats using the syntax defined by the ICU Project which is described in the ICU manual under the following URL: Alternatively you can use the syntax that can be recognized by the PHP date() function using a string that is prefixed with php:.

// ICU format
echo Yii::$app->formatter->asDate('now', 'yyyy-MM-dd'); // 2014-10-06
// PHP date()-format
echo Yii::$app->formatter->asDate('now', 'php:Y-m-d'); // 2014-10-06

Time zones

When formatting date and time values, Yii will convert them to the [[yii\i18n\Formatter::timeZone|configured time zone]]. Therefore the input value is assumed to be in UTC unless a time zone is explicitly given. For this reason it is recommended to store all date and time values in UTC, preferably as a UNIX timestamp, which is always UTC by definition. If the input value is in a time zone different from UTC, the time zone has to be stated explicitly like in the following example:

// assuming Yii::$app->timeZone = 'Europe/Berlin';
echo Yii::$app->formatter->asTime(1412599260); // 14:41:00
echo Yii::$app->formatter->asTime('2014-10-06 12:41:00'); // 14:41:00
echo Yii::$app->formatter->asTime('2014-10-06 14:41:00 CEST'); // 14:41:00

Since version 2.0.1 it is also possible to configure the time zone that is assumed for timestamps that do not include a time zone identifier like the second example in the code above. You can set [[yii\i18n\Formatter::defaultTimeZone]] to the time zone you use for data storage.

Note: As time zones are subject to rules made by the governments around the world and may change frequently, it is likely that you do not have the latest information in the time zone database installed on your system. You may refer to the ICU manual for details on updating the time zone database. See also: Setting up your PHP environment for internationalization.

Formatting Numbers

For formatting numeric values the formatter class provides the following methods:

- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asInteger() integer]] - the value is formatted as an integer e.g. 42
separators e.g. 2,542.123or 2.542,123
- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asPercent() percent]] - the value is formatted as a percent number e.g. 42%
- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asScientific() scientific]] - the value is formatted as a number in scientific format e.g. 4.2E4
- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asCurrency() currency]] - the value is formatted as a currency value e.g. £420.00
- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asSize() size]] - the value that is a number of bytes is formatted as a human readable size e.g. 410 kibibytes
- [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asShortSize() shortSize]] - is the short version of [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asSize()

The format for number formatting can be adjusted using the [[yii\i18n\Formatter::decimalSeparator|decimalSeparator]] and [[yii\i18n\Formatter::thousandSeparator|thousandSeparator]] which are set by default according to the locale.

For more advanced configuration, [[yii\i18n\Formatter::numberFormatterOptions]] and [[yii\i18n\Formatter::numberFormatterTextOptions]] can be used to configure the internally used NumberFormatter class

For example, to adjust the maximum and minimum value of fraction digits, you can configure [[yii\i18n\Formatter::numberFormatterOptions]] property like the following:

'numberFormatterOptions' => [
    NumberFormatter::MIN_FRACTION_DIGITS => 0,
    NumberFormatter::MAX_FRACTION_DIGITS => 2,

Other formatters

In addition to date, time and number formatting, Yii provides a set of other useful formatters for different situations:

  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asRaw()|raw]] - the value is outputted as is, this is a pseudo-formatter that has no effect except that null values will be formatted using [[nullDisplay]].
  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asText()|text]] - the value is HTML-encoded. This is the default format used by the GridView DataColumn.
  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asNtext()|ntext]] - the value is formatted as an HTML-encoded plain text with newlines converted into line breaks.
  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asParagraphs()|paragraphs]] - the value is formatted as HTML-encoded text paragraphs wrapped into <p> tags.
  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asHtml()|html]] - the value is purified using [[HtmlPurifier]] to avoid XSS attacks. You can pass additional options such as ['html', ['Attr.AllowedFrameTargets' => ['_blank']]].
  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asEmail()|email]] - the value is formatted as a mailto-link.
  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asImage()|image]] - the value is formatted as an image tag.
  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asUrl()|url]] - the value is formatted as a hyperlink.
  • [[yii\i18n\Formatter::asBoolean()|boolean]] - the value is formatted as a boolean. By default true is rendered as Yes and false as No, translated to the current application language. You can adjust this by configuring the [[yii\i18n\Formatter::booleanFormat]] property.


For values that are null in PHP, the formatter class will print a placeholder instead of an empty string which defaults to (not set) translated to the current application language. You can configure the [[yii\i18n\Formatter::nullDisplay|nullDisplay]] property to set a custom placeholder. If you do not want special handling for null values, you can set [[yii\i18n\Formatter::nullDisplay|nullDisplay]] to null.