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wskinnermctc
Super User
Super User

Adjust DateTime values from Excel to a UTC datetime that displays correctly in SharePoint List local TimeZone

This is a simple example about a problem I had when moving date/times from an Excel table into a SharePoint list.

 

I live in the time zone U.S. Central Standard Time. This means it is -6 hours behind UTC. There is also daylight savings time in this Time Zone.

 

I have datetimes in an Excel table and need to put them into a SharePoint List.

Excel Date TableExcel Date TableSharePoint Column SettingsSharePoint Column Settings

 

I’m going to put the Excel Date into the SharePoint List columns Title and SP_DateTime. The Title column will be a text format, so there should be no time conversion issues. The SP_DateTime is a standard Date Time type column in a SharePoint List.

 

I made a flow that gets the Excel rows from the table and then Create Item in a SharePoint List.

Flow Overview No Time ConversionFlow Overview No Time Conversion

 

When all of the Excel Dates are put into the SharePoint list, the Date column SP_DateTime shows an incorrect time.

 

No Conversion Flow ResultsNo Conversion Flow ResultsNo Conversion SharePoint List ResultsNo Conversion SharePoint List Results

 

The problem in my flow that makes the SharePoint datetime result incorrect.

  1. Power Automate Automatically Applies ‘UTC’ or Z to normal Excel Date/Times
  2. SharePoint List display settings in local ‘Central Standard Time’
  3. Result – Any date/times from Power Automate in UTC or Z format are changed to local settings in SharePoint so the date and time is incorrect.

 

All of the Date/Time values in the SharePoint List column "SP_DateTime" are incorrect because they are offset by the timezone in the display settings.

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wskinnermctc
Super User
Super User

The problem is simple, but the solution requires some slight trickery or formatting to get Power Automate to convert the date times correctly.

 

To address the issue of A. Power Automate Automatically Applies ‘UTC’ or Z to normal Excel Date/Times we can scrub or remove the “Z” that is at the end of the date/time.

When it comes to converting or using expressions, Power Automate reads any datetime that ends with “Z” as a UTC time. If the “Z” is removed, Power Automate doesn’t know what timezone the value is supposed to be.

So the first thing we do is remove the Z that Power Automate Automatically applied

 

This can be done with a step “Convert Time Zone” where the timezone isn’t converted, but we are actually using it just to format the date time into the Sortable [s] type format.

Format Sortable [s] DateTime no "Z"Format Sortable [s] DateTime no "Z"

 

Now that the “Z” or UTC is removed from the date/time, we actually have a value that is what we wanted from the start. So now we can use another “Convert Time Zone” step that will change it from our local time zone to UTC.

 

Unlike the previous “Convert Time Zone” which was only used for format changing. This step will use the previously formatted date/time to Convert Time Zone from local to UTC. This will be an adjustment of the hours.

 

Convert TimeZone from Local to UTCConvert TimeZone from Local to UTC

 

Now the adjusted time which is in UTC hours can be used to put into SharePoint. The display settings of the SharePoint are in local timezone, so it converts any UTC time into our local time to be used.

 

Here is an example of the overall flow and results.

Excel Source DateTimesExcel Source DateTimes

Conversion Flow OverviewConversion Flow Overview

Apply to Each 1 ResultsApply to Each 1 ResultsApply to Each 2 ResultsApply to Each 2 ResultsApply to Each 3 ResultsApply to Each 3 ResultsApply to Each 4 ResultsApply to Each 4 Results

Conversion Flow SharePoint ResultsConversion Flow SharePoint Results

 

The conversion steps to the Excel Date changed it so that it will display correctly in a SharePoint list.

 

The same result can be achieved by using an expression. It could be two separate expressions or a single expression combining both actions.

 

 

convertTimeZone(formatDateTime({ExcelDate},'s'),'Central Standard Time','Utc','G')

 

 

 

Below is an example of the expression in Compose steps:

Flow ExpressionsFlow Expressions

 

The expression above says first formatDateTime({ExcelDate},'s') which will scrub off the "Z" of the datetime that is in UTC. Then the outer expression convertTimezone({FormattedExcelDate},'Central Standard Time','Utc') will use the formatted datetime value and convert it from the local timezone to the corresponding UTC time.

 

View solution in original post

3 REPLIES 3
wskinnermctc
Super User
Super User

The problem is simple, but the solution requires some slight trickery or formatting to get Power Automate to convert the date times correctly.

 

To address the issue of A. Power Automate Automatically Applies ‘UTC’ or Z to normal Excel Date/Times we can scrub or remove the “Z” that is at the end of the date/time.

When it comes to converting or using expressions, Power Automate reads any datetime that ends with “Z” as a UTC time. If the “Z” is removed, Power Automate doesn’t know what timezone the value is supposed to be.

So the first thing we do is remove the Z that Power Automate Automatically applied

 

This can be done with a step “Convert Time Zone” where the timezone isn’t converted, but we are actually using it just to format the date time into the Sortable [s] type format.

Format Sortable [s] DateTime no "Z"Format Sortable [s] DateTime no "Z"

 

Now that the “Z” or UTC is removed from the date/time, we actually have a value that is what we wanted from the start. So now we can use another “Convert Time Zone” step that will change it from our local time zone to UTC.

 

Unlike the previous “Convert Time Zone” which was only used for format changing. This step will use the previously formatted date/time to Convert Time Zone from local to UTC. This will be an adjustment of the hours.

 

Convert TimeZone from Local to UTCConvert TimeZone from Local to UTC

 

Now the adjusted time which is in UTC hours can be used to put into SharePoint. The display settings of the SharePoint are in local timezone, so it converts any UTC time into our local time to be used.

 

Here is an example of the overall flow and results.

Excel Source DateTimesExcel Source DateTimes

Conversion Flow OverviewConversion Flow Overview

Apply to Each 1 ResultsApply to Each 1 ResultsApply to Each 2 ResultsApply to Each 2 ResultsApply to Each 3 ResultsApply to Each 3 ResultsApply to Each 4 ResultsApply to Each 4 Results

Conversion Flow SharePoint ResultsConversion Flow SharePoint Results

 

The conversion steps to the Excel Date changed it so that it will display correctly in a SharePoint list.

 

The same result can be achieved by using an expression. It could be two separate expressions or a single expression combining both actions.

 

 

convertTimeZone(formatDateTime({ExcelDate},'s'),'Central Standard Time','Utc','G')

 

 

 

Below is an example of the expression in Compose steps:

Flow ExpressionsFlow Expressions

 

The expression above says first formatDateTime({ExcelDate},'s') which will scrub off the "Z" of the datetime that is in UTC. Then the outer expression convertTimezone({FormattedExcelDate},'Central Standard Time','Utc') will use the formatted datetime value and convert it from the local timezone to the corresponding UTC time.

 

THANK YOU on behalf of everyone who must process manually entered Excel datetime values using Power Automate! Why Microsoft assume that ANYONE is manually editing UTC datetime values in Excel is beyond comprehension...

@Chris17 Yes it is frustrating and it is not transparent. I would think they could have done a better job making a tool or method to bridge Excel into Power Automate when it comes to datetime values.

Like they finally created the action "Convert Time Zone", but it is not completely understood. I think they should create more thorough materials about datetimes for people to reference and review.

 

What is more of a problem, is that people don't recognize they probably need to be converting timezone as they transfer data or use it. 

Many people use utcNow() and run with it. But many times in the process, I can see that why it is working without timezone conversion is primarily luck. If they were to run the flow at like 8:00pm instead of 8:00am, they would get the incorrect result since the utcNow() day is actually different.

 

Anyways, @Chris17 I'm glad this was able to help you out.

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