Creating a date dimension or calendar table in SQL Server
By: Aaron Bertrand | Updated: 2018-07-24 | Comments (53) | Related: 1 | 2 | 3 | More > Dates
A calendar table can be immensely useful, particularly for reporting purposes, and for determining things like business days between two dates. I often see people struggling with manually populating a calendar or date dimension table; usually there are lots of loops and iterative code constructs being used. In this tip I will show you how to build and use a calendar table.
I build calendar tables all the time, for a variety of business applications, and have come up with a few ways to handle things. Sharing them here will hopefully prevent you from re-inventing any wheels when populating your own tables.
One of the biggest objections I hear to calendar tables is that people don't want to create a table. I can't stress enough how cheap a table can be in terms of size and memory usage, especially as storage continues to be larger and faster, compared to using all kinds of functions to determine date-related information on every single query. The table I create below probably has a lot more materialized columns than you would ever need, but it takes a whopping 1.29 MB on disk and in memory (that covers 20 years; 30 years would be 1.86 MB, and 50 years would be 3.08 MB). That will go up as you implement additional indexes, but still represents an extremely negligible impact in most systems.
I also always explicitly set things like DATEFORMAT, DATEFIRST, and LANGUAGE to avoid ambiguity, default to English for month and day names, and assume that quarters for the fiscal year align with the calendar year. You may need to change some of these things depending on your display language, your fiscal year, and other factors.
This is a one-time population, so I'm not worried about the costs of using intermediate storage like temp tables. I like to materialize all of the columns to disk, rather than rely on computed columns, since the table becomes read-only after initial population. So I'm going to do a lot of those calculations during the initial population of the #temp table:
DECLARE @StartDate DATE = '20000101', @NumberOfYears INT = 30; -- prevent set or regional settings from interfering with -- interpretation of dates / literals SET DATEFIRST 7; SET DATEFORMAT mdy; SET LANGUAGE US_ENGLISH; DECLARE @CutoffDate DATE = DATEADD(YEAR, @NumberOfYears, @StartDate); -- this is just a holding table for intermediate calculations: CREATE TABLE #dim ( [date] DATE PRIMARY KEY, [day] AS DATEPART(DAY, [date]), [month] AS DATEPART(MONTH, [date]), FirstOfMonth AS CONVERT(DATE, DATEADD(MONTH, DATEDIFF(MONTH, 0, [date]), 0)), [MonthName] AS DATENAME(MONTH, [date]), [week] AS DATEPART(WEEK, [date]), [ISOweek] AS DATEPART(ISO_WEEK, [date]), [DayOfWeek] AS DATEPART(WEEKDAY, [date]), [quarter] AS DATEPART(QUARTER, [date]), [year] AS DATEPART(YEAR, [date]), FirstOfYear AS CONVERT(DATE, DATEADD(YEAR, DATEDIFF(YEAR, 0, [date]), 0)), Style112 AS CONVERT(CHAR(8), [date], 112), Style101 AS CONVERT(CHAR(10), [date], 101) ); -- use the catalog views to generate as many rows as we need INSERT #dim([date]) SELECT d FROM ( SELECT d = DATEADD(DAY, rn - 1, @StartDate) FROM ( SELECT TOP (DATEDIFF(DAY, @StartDate, @CutoffDate)) rn = ROW_NUMBER() OVER (ORDER BY s1.[object_id]) FROM sys.all_objects AS s1 CROSS JOIN sys.all_objects AS s2 -- on my system this would support > 5 million days ORDER BY s1.[object_id] ) AS x ) AS y;
At this point, #dim looks like this, just showing the first 5 and last 5 dates:
Now these pre-calculated values can help to derive all of the other materialized columns you might want in your calendar table. The following is just a sampling of the things I see most commonly; I am sure that you do not need all of these columns, and that there might be other columns you need. You should just use this as a starting point:
CREATE TABLE dbo.DateDimension ( --DateKey INT NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY, [Date] DATE NOT NULL, [Day] TINYINT NOT NULL, DaySuffix CHAR(2) NOT NULL, [Weekday] TINYINT NOT NULL, WeekDayName VARCHAR(10) NOT NULL, IsWeekend BIT NOT NULL, IsHoliday BIT NOT NULL, HolidayText VARCHAR(64) SPARSE, DOWInMonth TINYINT NOT NULL, [DayOfYear] SMALLINT NOT NULL, WeekOfMonth TINYINT NOT NULL, WeekOfYear TINYINT NOT NULL, ISOWeekOfYear TINYINT NOT NULL, [Month] TINYINT NOT NULL, [MonthName] VARCHAR(10) NOT NULL, [Quarter] TINYINT NOT NULL, QuarterName VARCHAR(6) NOT NULL, [Year] INT NOT NULL, MMYYYY CHAR(6) NOT NULL, MonthYear CHAR(7) NOT NULL, FirstDayOfMonth DATE NOT NULL, LastDayOfMonth DATE NOT NULL, FirstDayOfQuarter DATE NOT NULL, LastDayOfQuarter DATE NOT NULL, FirstDayOfYear DATE NOT NULL, LastDayOfYear DATE NOT NULL, FirstDayOfNextMonth DATE NOT NULL, FirstDayOfNextYear DATE NOT NULL ); GO -- create other useful index(es) here
A couple of notes:
DateKeyis commented out. It is defined as an INT not because that is my preference (I would always store this as a DATE), but because that seems to be the preference of most data warehousing professionals. If you want your date key to be an int, please note the places in the code below where I comment out anything to do with DateKey.
DOWInMonthis the occurrence of that weekday within the current month - 1st Sunday, 3rd Monday, etc.
Now to populate this table from our #dim object, it is a relatively straightforward INSERT/SELECT; still, you'll see why I pre-calculated some of the values, since many of the expressions are used multiple times:
INSERT dbo.DateDimension WITH (TABLOCKX) SELECT --DateKey = CONVERT(INT, Style112), [Date] = [date], [Day] = CONVERT(TINYINT, [day]), DaySuffix = CONVERT(CHAR(2), CASE WHEN [day] / 10 = 1 THEN 'th' ELSE CASE RIGHT([day], 1) WHEN '1' THEN 'st' WHEN '2' THEN 'nd' WHEN '3' THEN 'rd' ELSE 'th' END END), [Weekday] = CONVERT(TINYINT, [DayOfWeek]), [WeekDayName] = CONVERT(VARCHAR(10), DATENAME(WEEKDAY, [date])), [IsWeekend] = CONVERT(BIT, CASE WHEN [DayOfWeek] IN (1,7) THEN 1 ELSE 0 END), [IsHoliday] = CONVERT(BIT, 0), HolidayText = CONVERT(VARCHAR(64), NULL), [DOWInMonth] = CONVERT(TINYINT, ROW_NUMBER() OVER (PARTITION BY FirstOfMonth, [DayOfWeek] ORDER BY [date])), [DayOfYear] = CONVERT(SMALLINT, DATEPART(DAYOFYEAR, [date])), WeekOfMonth = CONVERT(TINYINT, DENSE_RANK() OVER (PARTITION BY [year], [month] ORDER BY [week])), WeekOfYear = CONVERT(TINYINT, [week]), ISOWeekOfYear = CONVERT(TINYINT, ISOWeek), [Month] = CONVERT(TINYINT, [month]), [MonthName] = CONVERT(VARCHAR(10), [MonthName]), [Quarter] = CONVERT(TINYINT, [quarter]), QuarterName = CONVERT(VARCHAR(6), CASE [quarter] WHEN 1 THEN 'First' WHEN 2 THEN 'Second' WHEN 3 THEN 'Third' WHEN 4 THEN 'Fourth' END), [Year] = [year], MMYYYY = CONVERT(CHAR(6), LEFT(Style101, 2) + LEFT(Style112, 4)), MonthYear = CONVERT(CHAR(7), LEFT([MonthName], 3) + LEFT(Style112, 4)), FirstDayOfMonth = FirstOfMonth, LastDayOfMonth = MAX([date]) OVER (PARTITION BY [year], [month]), FirstDayOfQuarter = MIN([date]) OVER (PARTITION BY [year], [quarter]), LastDayOfQuarter = MAX([date]) OVER (PARTITION BY [year], [quarter]), FirstDayOfYear = FirstOfYear, LastDayOfYear = MAX([date]) OVER (PARTITION BY [year]), FirstDayOfNextMonth = DATEADD(MONTH, 1, FirstOfMonth), FirstDayOfNextYear = DATEADD(YEAR, 1, FirstOfYear) FROM #dim OPTION (MAXDOP 1);
We're not done yet; all of the
IsHoliday values are still set to
0. Since I am in the United States, I'm going to deal with statutory holidays here;
of course, if you live in another country, you'll need to use different logic here.
You'll also need to add your own company's holidays manually, but hopefully if you
have things that are deterministic, like bank holidays, Boxing Day, or the third
Monday of July is your annual off-site arm-wrestling tournament, you should be able
to do most of that without much work by following the same sort of pattern I use
below. We can update most of the stat holidays with a single pass and rather simple
;WITH x AS ( SELECT /* DateKey, */ [Date], IsHoliday, HolidayText, FirstDayOfYear, DOWInMonth, [MonthName], [WeekDayName], [Day], LastDOWInMonth = ROW_NUMBER() OVER ( PARTITION BY FirstDayOfMonth, [Weekday] ORDER BY [Date] DESC ) FROM dbo.DateDimension ) UPDATE x SET IsHoliday = 1, HolidayText = CASE WHEN ([Date] = FirstDayOfYear) THEN 'New Year''s Day' WHEN ([DOWInMonth] = 3 AND [MonthName] = 'January' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') THEN 'Martin Luther King Day' -- (3rd Monday in January) WHEN ([DOWInMonth] = 3 AND [MonthName] = 'February' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') THEN 'President''s Day' -- (3rd Monday in February) WHEN ([LastDOWInMonth] = 1 AND [MonthName] = 'May' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') THEN 'Memorial Day' -- (last Monday in May) WHEN ([MonthName] = 'July' AND [Day] = 4) THEN 'Independence Day' -- (July 4th) WHEN ([DOWInMonth] = 1 AND [MonthName] = 'September' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') THEN 'Labour Day' -- (first Monday in September) WHEN ([DOWInMonth] = 2 AND [MonthName] = 'October' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') THEN 'Columbus Day' -- Columbus Day (second Monday in October) WHEN ([MonthName] = 'November' AND [Day] = 11) THEN 'Veterans'' Day' -- Veterans' Day (November 11th) WHEN ([DOWInMonth] = 4 AND [MonthName] = 'November' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Thursday') THEN 'Thanksgiving Day' -- Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November) WHEN ([MonthName] = 'December' AND [Day] = 25) THEN 'Christmas Day' END WHERE ([Date] = FirstDayOfYear) OR ([DOWInMonth] = 3 AND [MonthName] = 'January' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') OR ([DOWInMonth] = 3 AND [MonthName] = 'February' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') OR ([LastDOWInMonth] = 1 AND [MonthName] = 'May' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') OR ([MonthName] = 'July' AND [Day] = 4) OR ([DOWInMonth] = 1 AND [MonthName] = 'September' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') OR ([DOWInMonth] = 2 AND [MonthName] = 'October' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Monday') OR ([MonthName] = 'November' AND [Day] = 11) OR ([DOWInMonth] = 4 AND [MonthName] = 'November' AND [WeekDayName] = 'Thursday') OR ([MonthName] = 'December' AND [Day] = 25);
(You may have to perform some manual modifications to some of those, in the case where they fall on a weekend - usually the following Monday is marked as the holiday instead.)
Black Friday is a little trickier, because it's the Friday after the fourth Thursday in November, and so it might be the fourth Friday, but several times a century it is actually the fifth Friday:
UPDATE d SET IsHoliday = 1, HolidayText = 'Black Friday' FROM dbo.DateDimension AS d INNER JOIN ( SELECT /* DateKey, */ [Date], [Year], [DayOfYear] FROM dbo.DateDimension WHERE HolidayText = 'Thanksgiving Day' ) AS src ON d.[Year] = src.[Year] AND d.[DayOfYear] = src.[DayOfYear] + 1;
And then there's Easter. This has always been a complicated problem; the rules for calculating the exact date are so convoluted, I suspect most people can only mark those dates where they have physical calendars they can look at to confirm. If your company doesn't recognize Easter, you can skip ahead; if it does, you can use the following function, which will return the Easter holiday dates for any given year:
CREATE FUNCTION dbo.GetEasterHolidays(@year INT) RETURNS TABLE WITH SCHEMABINDING AS RETURN ( WITH x AS ( SELECT [Date] = CONVERT(DATE, RTRIM(@year) + '0' + RTRIM([Month]) + RIGHT('0' + RTRIM([Day]),2)) FROM (SELECT [Month], [Day] = DaysToSunday + 28 - (31 * ([Month] / 4)) FROM (SELECT [Month] = 3 + (DaysToSunday + 40) / 44, DaysToSunday FROM (SELECT DaysToSunday = paschal - ((@year + @year / 4 + paschal - 13) % 7) FROM (SELECT paschal = epact - (epact / 28) FROM (SELECT epact = (24 + 19 * (@year % 19)) % 30) AS epact) AS paschal) AS dts) AS m) AS d ) SELECT [Date], HolidayName = 'Easter Sunday' FROM x UNION ALL SELECT DATEADD(DAY,-2,[Date]), 'Good Friday' FROM x UNION ALL SELECT DATEADD(DAY, 1,[Date]), 'Easter Monday' FROM x );
(You can adjust the function easily, depending on whether they recognize just Easter Sunday or also Good Friday and/or Easter Monday. There is also another tip here that will show you how to determine the date for Mardi Gras, given the date for Easter.)
Now, to use that function to mark the Easter holidays in the calendar table:
;WITH x AS ( SELECT d.[Date], d.IsHoliday, d.HolidayText, h.HolidayName FROM dbo.DateDimension AS d CROSS APPLY dbo.GetEasterHolidays(d.[Year]) AS h WHERE d.[Date] = h.[Date] ) UPDATE x SET IsHoliday = 1, HolidayText = HolidayName;
And now you have a functional calendar table you can use for all of your reporting or business needs.
Creating a dimension or calendar table for business dates and fiscal periods might seem intimidating at first, but once you have a solid methodology in line, it can be very worthwhile. There are many ways to do this; some will subscribe to the idea that many of these date-related facts can be derived at query time, or at least be non-persisted computed columns. You will have to decide if the values are calculated often enough to justify the additional space on disk and in the buffer pool.
If you are using Enterprise Edition on SQL Server 2014 or above, you could consider using In-Memory OLTP, and possibly even a non-durable table that you rebuild using a startup procedure. Or on any version or edition, you could put the calendar table into its own filegroup (or database), and mark it as read-only after initial population (this won't force the table to stay in memory all the time, but it will reduce other types of contention).
- Build a persisted calendar table to help with reporting queries, business logic, and gathering additional facts about given dates.
- See these related tips and other resources:
Last Updated: 2018-07-24
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