Use the format “[Date] [Month] [Year]” (depending on what information you have) written out with no commas. If the day of the week is relevant, then put it before the date. Do not include “st”, “nd”, “rd” and “th” after the date.

12 March 2014
Monday 3 March 2014

Write out months in full. If space is limited (such as in a table) use the shortened version with no punctuation, but not for June and July. Do not use shortened versions of months in titles.

Retail sales in Great Britain: September 2017

Date spans

Use the format “[date] to [date]” to state the reference period for your data.

2009 to 2010

If using months within the same year, only write the year after the subsequent month.

July to September 2014

If the period spans years, add the relevant year after each month.

July 2013 to September 2014

For a period between two dates, use the format “between [date] and [date]”.

between 1986 and 2014
between July and September 2014
between 2001 to 2003 and 2017 to 2019

Do not use hyphens, dashes or forward slashes to indicate date spans. It is quicker to read “to”, and special characters can cause problems for screen readers.


Decades should only have an apostrophe when they are a possessive, not a contraction.

a 1960s’ child
the 1960s were great


Use ordinal numbers when referring to a particular century.

21st century


Define the quarter, the months covered, and the year. Explain which months are included in the quarter in the first instance of each section, and only include the quarter and year in every subsequent instance. Abbreviate the months to three or four characters. In titles write the months in full and avoid using quarters.

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2019
Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019
Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019
Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2019
The value of goods imported narrowed in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019. Within imports of goods, the largest decreases recorded in Quarter 2 2019 were…

Financial, tax and academic years

For financial years, write “financial year ending” and the abbreviation “FYE” in brackets, followed by the year for the first time you use it in each section. After that, just use the abbreviation and the year. The full phrase should be written out again for the first mention in each section.

financial year ending (FYE) 2011
FYE 2011

If a date span covers this period but you do not want to refer to the financial year, either write “year ending March 2018” or “April 2017 to March 2018” depending on what you think will meet your users’ needs.

If your data source uses another recognised date span such as the academic or tax year, write this in each instance without using hyphens, dashes or slashes.

tax year ending 2019
academic year 2020 to 2021

Include a definition of the months included in a non-calendar date span near its first reference in the text so that all users can understand the dates you are referring to. This will only need to be defined in the first instance of your bulletin or article.

Change in data over time

If you need to show a change in the data between two date spans, include the month and year in brackets after each figure. Use the format “from [amount] (month year) to [amount] (month year)”.

Northern Ireland has seen an increase of 20% in the number of acceptances, from 9,878 (April 2016 to March 2017) to 11,877 (April 2017 to March 2018).

Reference across different time periods and countries

When reporting on different geographic areas that use data from different date spans, state the month and year of the data collection after each area. Use the appropriate format for the date range, and place the information in brackets.

… the largest category of households reported to be applying for help with homelessness across the UK was single people (based on data for October to December 2018 in England; April 2017 to March 2018 in Scotland; January to December 2018 in Wales; and April to September 2018 in Northern Ireland).