I find that it can be advantageous to use a Dates table, especially when doing a lot of date calculations. Learn what a Dates table is and how to create one, and then try it out for yourself.
What is a Dates table?
A Dates table stores a range of dates. Dates tables are very common in a DateWarehouse as a dimension table. You can also use Dates tables in OLTP databases for lookups. When programmers use Dates tables, they don’t have to worry about using or designing functions for handling or formatting dates in the database. It is a precompilation of a wide range of date values and their associated month, quarter, year, etc.
Creating a Dates table
It’s simple to create a Dates table — it only takes a little TSQL programming. The script below creates the DateLookup table, which I will use throughout the rest of the example.
CREATE TABLE DateLookup
DateKey INT PRIMARY KEY,
As you can see from the field names, the table contains detailed information regarding parts of a date, such as the name of the month, name of the day of the weekend, the quarter number, etc. It’s very useful to have this information stored in a table for date searches based on certain months, quarters, and similar information.
The script below populates my DateLookup table with date information from the year 1900 through the end of 2100. I enter this large range of dates because I am not sure what type of dates I am going to handle in my tables, so I like to have a wide range available. This range likely won’t cover erroneous dates in my tables, but it should do a pretty good job covering a large percentage of them.
DECLARE @Date DATETIME
SET @Date = '1/1/1900'
WHILE @Date < '1/1/2100'
INSERT INTO DateLookup
DateKey, DateFull, FullYear,
QuarterNumber, WeekNumber, WeekDayName,
MonthDay, MonthName, YearDay,
CONVERT(VARCHAR(8), @Date, 112), @Date, YEAR(@Date),
DATEPART(qq, @Date), DATEPART(ww, @Date), DATENAME(dw, @Date),
DATEPART(dd, @Date), DATENAME(mm, @Date), DATEPART(dy,@Date),
DATENAME(mm, @Date) + ' ' + CAST(DATEPART(dd, @Date) AS CHAR(2)) + ',
' + CAST(DATEPART(yy, @Date) AS CHAR(4)),
CONVERT(VARCHAR(10), @Date, 101),
SET @Date = DATEADD(dd, 1, @Date)
Using the DateLookup table
Once I load data into my DateLookup table, I can run queries against it. For example, the following query lists the number of Wednesdays in the year 2003:
SELECT WeekDayName, DayCount = COUNT(*)
WHERE FullYear = 2003 AND
WeekDayName = 'Wednesday'
GROUP BY WeekDayName
There were 52 Wednesdays in 2003.
The real power of using a Dates table comes when you use the table in conjunction with other tables.