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International higly customizable relative date/time formatter (both for past and future dates).

Formats a date/timestamp to:

  • now
  • 5m
  • 15 min
  • 25 minutes
  • an hour ago
  • 1 mo.
  • 5 years ago
  • … or whatever else

For React users there's also a React component.


npm install javascript-time-ago --save
import TimeAgo from 'javascript-time-ago'
// Load locale-specific relative date/time formatting rules.
import en from 'javascript-time-ago/locale/en'
// Add locale-specific relative date/time formatting rules.
// Create relative date/time formatter.
const timeAgo = new TimeAgo('en-US')
timeAgo.format(new Date())
// "now"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 60 * 1000)
// "a minute ago"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 2 * 60 * 60 * 1000)
// "2 hours ago"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000)
// "a day ago"


import TimeAgo from 'javascript-time-ago'
// Load locale-specific relative date/time formatting rules.
import en from 'javascript-time-ago/locale/en'
import ru from 'javascript-time-ago/locale/ru'
// Add locale-specific relative date/time formatting rules.
// cyka blyat
const timeAgo = new TimeAgo('ru-RU')
timeAgo.format(new Date())
// "только что"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 60 * 1000)
// "1 минуту назад"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 2 * 60 * 60 * 1000)
// "2 часа назад"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000)
// "1 день назад"

Twitter style

Mimics Twitter style of time ago ("1m", "2h", "Mar 3", "Apr 4, 2012")

timeAgo.format(new Date(), 'twitter')
// ""
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 60 * 1000, 'twitter')
// "1m"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 2 * 60 * 60 * 1000, 'twitter')
// "2h"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 2 * 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000, 'twitter')
// "Mar 3"
timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 365 * 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000, 'twitter')
// "Mar 5, 2017"

Twitter style uses Intl for formatting day/month/year labels. If Intl is not available then it falls back to the default style.

"Just time" style

timeAgo.format(Date.now() - 60 * 1000, 'time')
// "1 minute"

Similar to the default style but with "ago" omitted:

  • now
  • 1 minute
  • 2 minutes
  • 5 minutes
  • 10 minutes
  • 15 minutes
  • 20 minutes
  • 1 hour
  • 2 hours
  • 20 hours
  • 1 day
  • 2 days
  • 3 days
  • 4 days
  • 5 days
  • 1 week
  • 2 weeks
  • 3 weeks
  • 1 month
  • 2 months
  • 3 months
  • 4 months
  • 1 year
  • 2 years
  • 3 years

Loading locales

No locale data is loaded by default: a developer must manually choose which locales must be loaded. This is to reduce the resulting javascript bundle size.

If the resulting bundle size is of no concern (e.g. a big enterprise application), or if the code is being run on server side (e.g. Server-Side Rendering), then use this helper to load all available locales:



There's a spec proposal called Intl.RelativeTimeFormat suggesting web browsers implement "time ago" formatting natively like they already do for dates and numbers. It's still a draft, and not officially accepted yet, but I guess at some point in time it will be accepted, in which case this library could serve as a polyfill for older browsers (iOS, Android).

import JavascriptTimeAgo, { RelativeTimeFormat } from 'javascript-time-ago'
import en from 'javascript-time-ago/locale/en'
// Returns "2 days ago"
new RelativeTimeFormat('en').format(-2, 'day')


The above sections explained all the basics required for using this library in a project.

This part of the documentation contains some advanced topics for those willing to have a better understanding of how this library works internally.


This library comes with three "styles" built-in: the default one, "twitter" style and "time" style. Each of these styles is an object defining its own flavour and gradation. If none of them suits a project then a custom "style" object may be passed as a second parameter to .format(date, style) having the following shape:

  • flavour – Preferred labels variant. Is "long" by default. Can be either a string (e.g. "short") or an array of preferred flavours in which case each one of them is tried until a match is found. E.g. ["tiny", "short"] searches for tiny first and falls back to short. short, long and narrow are always present for each locale.

  • gradation – Time interval measurement units scale. Is convenient by default. Another one available is canonical. A developer may supply a custom gradation which must be an array of steps each of them having either a unit : string or a format(value, locale) : string function. See Twitter style for such an advanced example.

  • units – A list of time interval measurement units which can be used in the output. E.g. ["second", "minute", "hour", ...]. By default all available units are used. This is only used to filter out some of the non-conventional time units like "quarter" which is present in CLDR data.


Relative date/time labels come in various "flavours": long, short, narrow are the standard CLDR ones (always present) possibly accompanied by other ones like tiny which is defined for en, ru and ko. Refer to locale/en for an example.

import english from 'javascript-time-ago/locale/en'
english.tiny  // '1s', '2m', '3h', '4d', …
english.narrow // '1 sec. ago', '2 min. ago', …
english.short // '1 sec. ago', '2 min. ago', …
english.long  // '1 second ago', '2 minutes ago', …
  • tiny is supposed to be the shortest one possible. It's not a CLDR-defined one and has been defined for en, ru and ko so far.
  • narrow is a CLDR-defined one and is supposed to be shorter than short, or at least no longer than it. I find narrow a weird one because for some locales it's the same as short and for other locales it's a really weird one (e.g. for Russian).
  • short is "short".
  • long is "regular".


A gradation is a list of time interval measurement steps.

    unit: 'second',
    unit: 'minute',
    factor: 60,
    threshold: 59.5
    unit: 'hour',
    factor: 60 * 60,
    threshold: 59.5 * 60

Each step is described by:

  • unit — a localized time measurement unit: second, minute, hour, day, month, year are the standardized CLDR ones.
  • factor — a divider for the supplied time interval (in seconds).
  • threshold — a minimum time interval value (in seconds) required for this gradation step. Each step must have a threshold defined except for the first one. Can a number or a function(now) returning a number. Some advanced threshold customization is possible like threshold_for_[prev-unit] (see ./source/gradation/convenient.js).
  • granularity — for example, 5 for minute to allow only 5-minute intervals: 0 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc.

If a gradation step should output not simply a time interval of a certain time unit but something different instead then it may be described by:

  • threshold — same as above.
  • format — a function(value, locale) returning a string. value argument is the date/time being formatted as passed to TimeAgo.format(value): either a number or a Date. locale argument is the selected locale (aka "BCP 47 language tag", e.g. ru-RU). For example, the built-in Twitter gradation has regular minute and hour steps followed by a custom one formatting a date as "day/month/year", e.g. Jan 24, 2018.

For more gradation examples see source/gradation folder.

Built-in gradations:

import {
  canonical, // '1 second ago', '2 minutes ago', …
  convenient // 'now', '5 minutes ago', …
} from 'javascript-time-ago/gradation'

Localization internals

The localization resides in the locale folder. The format of a localization is:

      "one": "{0} day ago",
      "other": "{0} days ago"
      "one": "in {0} day",
      "other": "in {0} days"

This can be reduced to just a string for cases when all variants are the same. E.g. { day: "{0}d" } or { second: { past: "{0} sec. ago", future: "in {0} sec." } }.

The past and future can be defined by any of: zero, one, two, few, many and other. For more info on which is which read the official Unicode CLDR documentation. Unicode CLDR (Common Locale Data Repository) is an industry standard and is basically a collection of formatting rules for all locales (date, time, currency, measurement units, numbers, etc).

To determine whether a certain amount of time (number) is one, few, or something else, javascript-time-ago uses Unicode CLDR rules for formatting plurals. These rules are number quantifying functions (one for each locale) which can tell if a number should be treated as zero, one, two, few, many or other. Knowing how these pluralization rules work is not required but anyway here are some links for curious advanced readers: rules explanation, list of rules for all locales, converting those rules to javascript functions. These quantifying functions can be found as quantify properties of a locale data.


When given future dates .format() produces the corresponding output, e.g. "in 5 minutes", "in a year", etc.


The default locale is en and can be changed: TimeAgo.setDefaultLocale('ru').


There is also a React component built upon this library which autorefreshes itself.


Intl global object is not required for this library, but it may be required if you choose to use the built-in twitter style (though it will fall back to the default style if Intl is not available).

Intl is present in all modern web browsers and is absent from some of the old ones: Internet Explorer 10, Safari 9 and iOS Safari 9.x (which can be solved using Intl polyfill).

Node.js starting from 0.12 has Intl built-in, but only includes English locale data by default. If your app needs to support more locales than English on server side (e.g. Server-Side Rendering) then you'll need to use Intl polyfill.

Applying Intl polyfill:

npm install intl@1.2.4 --save


import IntlPolyfill from 'intl'
const locales = ['en', 'ru', ...]
if (typeof Intl === 'object') {
  if (!Intl.DateTimeFormat || Intl.DateTimeFormat.supportedLocalesOf(locales).length !== locales.length) {
    Intl.DateTimeFormat = IntlPolyfill.DateTimeFormat
else {
  global.Intl = IntlPolyfill

Web browser: only download intl package if the web browser doesn't support it, and only download the required locale.

async function initIntl() {
  if (typeof Intl === 'object') {
  await Promise.all([


After cloning this repo, ensure dependencies are installed by running:

npm install

This module is written in ES6 and uses Babel for ES5 transpilation. Widely consumable JavaScript can be produced by running:

npm run build

Once npm run build has run, you may import or require() directly from node.

After developing, the full test suite can be evaluated by running:

npm test

When you're ready to test your new functionality on a real project, you can run

npm pack

It will build, test and then create a .tgz archive which you can then install in your project folder

npm install [module name with version].tar.gz



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