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UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition

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UNIX Commands
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In the first form, print the current date and time, specifying an optional display format . In the second form, a privileged user can set the current date by supplying a numeric string . format can consist of literal text strings (blanks must be quoted) as well as field descriptors, whose values will appear as described below (the listing shows some logical groupings).



Insert a newline.


Insert a tab.


Month of year (01-12).


Day of month (01-31).


Last two digits of year (00-99).


Date in %m/%d/%y format.


Abbreviated month name.


Day of month (1-31); pad single digits with a space.


Four-digit year (e.g., 1996).


Same as %b .


Full month name.


Hour in 24-hour format (00-23).


Minute (00-59).


Second (00-61); 61 permits leap seconds.


Time in %H:%M format.


Time in %H:%M:%S format.


Hour in 12-hour format (01-12).


String to indicate a.m. or p.m. (default is AM or PM).


Time in %I:%M:%S %p format.


Abbreviated weekday.


Full weekday.


Day of week (Sunday = 0).


Week number in year (00-53); start week on Sunday.


Week number in year (00-53); start week on Monday.


Julian day of year (001-366).


Time zone name.


Country-specific date format.


Country-specific time format.


Country-specific date and time format (default is %a %b %e %T %Z %Y ; e.g., Mon Feb 1 14:30:59 EST 1993).

The preceding country-specific formats, as well as language names (e.g., for month and weekday) are defined in a file given by strftime (4).


-a s . f

(Privileged user only.) Gradually adjust the system clock until it drifts s seconds away from what it thinks is the "current" time. (This allows continuous micro-adjustment of the clock while the system is running.) f is the fraction of seconds by which time drifts. By default, the clock speeds up; precede s by a - to slow down.


Display or set the time using Greenwich Mean Time.

Strings for setting date

A privileged user can set the date by supplying a numeric string . string consists of time, day, and year concatenated in one of three ways: time or [ day ] time or [ day ] time [ year ]. Note: You don't type the brackets.


A two-digit hour and two-digit minute ( HHMM ); HH uses 24-hour format.


A two-digit month and two-digit day of month ( mmdd ); default is current day and month.


The year specified as either the full four digits or just the last two digits; default is current year.


Set the date to July 1 ( 0701 ), 4 a.m. ( 0400 ), 1995 ( 95 ):

date 0701040095

The command:

date +"Hello%t Date is %D %n%t Time is %T"

produces a formatted date as follows:

Hello	Date is 05/09/93
	Time is 17:53:39

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