Explained: DATE_TRUNC() function in Snowflake?

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What is DATE_TRUNC() Function ?

DATE_TRUNC() function helps to truncate the given input data i.e. date, time, or timestamp. For example, If we applied truncate to hour, then from minutes it will set to 0 ( where as year, month, date and hours will remains constant ).

How can we use DATE_TRUNC() Function ?

DATE_TRUNC() function is used to truncate date, time, or a timestamp to the specified precision.

  • The truncation is not same as extraction. For example
    • Truncating a timestamp down to the quarters returns the timestamp corresponding to midnight to the first day of the quarter for the input timestamp.
    • Extracting the quarter date part from a timestamp returns the quarter number of the year in timestamp.

What is the Syntax of the DATE_TRUNC function?

-- Syntax : 

DATE_TRUNC( Date_or_time_part, Expression )

DATE_TRUNC() Argument Details :

Date_or_time_partDate part or Time part
ExpressionDate or Time


The expression may be a date, time, or timestamp.

Date or Time part :

This must be one of the values from the supported date and time parts list. When the date or time part is a week or any other variations, the output is controlled by the WEEK_START session parameter.

Examples of DATE_TRUNC() function in Snowflake:

Firstly, Let’s take sample data to test the DATE_TRUNC function.

What is the difference between TO_DATE and DATE_TRUNC?

select to_date('2017-07-10T23:39:20.123-07:00') as "DATE1",
       date_trunc('YEAR', "DATE1") as "TRUNCATED TO YEAR",
       date_trunc('MONTH', "DATE1") as "TRUNCATED TO MONTH",
       date_trunc('DAY', "DATE1") as "TRUNCATED TO DAY";

| 2017-07-10 | 2017-01-01        | 2017-07-01         | 2017-07-10       |

What is the difference between TO_TIMESTAMP and DATE_TRUNC?

select to_timestamp('2017-07-10T23:39:20.123-07:00') as "TIMESTAMP1",
       date_trunc('HOUR', "TIMESTAMP1") as "TRUNCATED TO HOUR",
       date_trunc('MINUTE', "TIMESTAMP1") as "TRUNCATED TO MINUTE",
       date_trunc('SECOND', "TIMESTAMP1") as "TRUNCATED TO SECOND";

| 2017-07-10 23:39:20.123 | 2017-07-10 23:00:00.000 | 2017-07-10 23:39:00.000 | 2017-07-10 23:39:20.000 |

As we can see in the above example, the value of truncated to year has an only same year but month and date got set to starting (1). The value of truncated to month has only same year and month but the date got set to starting (1) and same for truncated to date i.e. having the same value as input.

When you should use DATE_TRUNC() Function in Snowflake?

There are certain use case scenarios when it is recommended to use the DATE_TRUNC function within the Snowflake cloud data warehouse which are as follows:

  • If you want reset the timestamp attributes and remains constant for few then we can make use of this function.

Real World Use Case Scenarios for DATE_TRUNC Function in Snowflake

  • Lets consider there are 50 people in a queue but, we can able to manage only first 20 people for the day and the rest will not be able to apply for the post.

DATE_TRUNC() Snowflake Official Documentation Link

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have learned about DATE_TRUNC() function and uses with the examples explained clearly. I have also covered different scenarios with a practical example that could be possible. I hope the information that was provided is helped in gaining the knowledge.

Please share your comments and suggestions in the comment section below and I will try to answer all your queries as time permits.