> Linux Man Page: "date"


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man page(1) manual page Table of Contents


date - print or set the system date and time


date [OPTION]... [+FORMAT]
date [-u|--utc|--universal] [MMDDhhmm[[CC]YY][.ss]]


Display the current time in the given FORMAT, or set the system date.

-d, --date=STRING
display time described by STRING, not ‘now’

-f, --file=DATEFILE
like --date once for each line of DATEFILE

-r, --reference=FILE
display the last modification time of FILE

-R, --rfc-2822
output date and time in RFC 2822 format. Example: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 12:34:56 -0600

output date and time in RFC 3339 format. TIMESPEC=‘date’, ‘seconds’, or ‘ns’ for date and time to the indicated precision. Date and time components are separated by a single space: 2006-08-07 12:34:56-06:00

-s, --set=STRING
set time described by STRING

-u, --utc, --universal
print or set Coordinated Universal Time

--help display this help and exit

output version information and exit

FORMAT controls the output. The only valid option for the second form specifies Coordinated Universal Time. Interpreted sequences are:

a literal %

locale’s abbreviated weekday name (e.g., Sun)

locale’s full weekday name (e.g., Sunday)

locale’s abbreviated month name (e.g., Jan)

locale’s full month name (e.g., January)

locale’s date and time (e.g., Thu Mar 3 23:05:25 2005)

century; like %Y, except omit last two digits (e.g., 21)

day of month (e.g, 01)

date; same as %m/%d/%y

day of month, space padded; same as %_d

full date; same as %Y-%m-%d

last two digits of year of ISO week number (see %G)

year of ISO week number (see %V); normally useful only with %V

same as %b

hour (00..23)

hour (01..12)

day of year (001..366)

hour ( 0..23)

hour ( 1..12)

month (01..12)

minute (00..59)

a newline

nanoseconds (000000000..999999999)

locale’s equivalent of either AM or PM; blank if not known

like %p, but lower case

locale’s 12-hour clock time (e.g., 11:11:04 PM)

24-hour hour and minute; same as %H:%M

seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC

second (00..60)

a tab

time; same as %H:%M:%S

day of week (1..7); 1 is Monday

week number of year, with Sunday as first day of week (00..53)

ISO week number, with Monday as first day of week (01..53)

day of week (0..6); 0 is Sunday

week number of year, with Monday as first day of week (00..53)

locale’s date representation (e.g., 12/31/99)

locale’s time representation (e.g., 23:13:48)

last two digits of year (00..99)


+hhmm numeric timezone (e.g., -0400)

+hh:mm numeric timezone (e.g., -04:00)

+hh:mm:ss numeric time zone (e.g., -04:00:00)

%:::z numeric time zone with : to necessary precision (e.g., -04, +05:30)

alphabetic time zone abbreviation (e.g., EDT)

By default, date pads numeric fields with zeroes. The following optional flags may follow ‘%’:

(hyphen) do not pad the field

(underscore) pad with spaces

(zero) pad with zeros

use upper case if possible

use opposite case if possible

After any flags comes an optional field width, as a decimal number; then an optional modifier, which is either E to use the locale’s alternate representations if available, or O to use the locale’s alternate numeric symbols if available.


Specifies the timezone, unless overridden by command line parameters. If neither is specified, the setting from /etc/localtime is used.


Written by David MacKenzie.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to <>.


Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This is free software. You may redistribute copies of it under the terms of the GNU General Public License <>. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

See Also

The full documentation for date is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and date programs are properly installed at your site, the command

info date

should give you access to the complete manual.

Table of Contents

use open software!