> Linux Man Page: "touch"


Search with Google


The Linux Documentation Project maintains an archive of snaphots of the (English language) core Linux manual pages that are maintained by Michael Kerrisk. Corrections and additions are welcome, but review the "Help Wanted" list, first.

Man pages belonging to programs are usually distributed together with those programs. Therefore, the core Linux man-pages mainly contains the pages for system calls and library routines, special devices, and file formats. However, it also contains documentation for a few programs, in cases where the authors or maintainers of the program do not distribute man pages themselves.

This page is part of release 3.11 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at


man page(1) manual page Table of Contents


touch - change file timestamps


touch [OPTION]... FILE...


Update the access and modification times of each FILE to the current time.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

change only the access time

-c, --no-create
do not create any files

-d, --date=STRING
parse STRING and use it instead of current time


change only the modification time

-r, --reference=FILE
use this file’s times instead of current time

use [[CC]YY]MMDDhhmm[.ss] instead of current time

change the specified time: WORD is access, atime, or use: equivalent to -a WORD is modify or mtime: equivalent to -m

--help display this help and exit

output version information and exit

Note that the -d and -t options accept different time-date formats.

If a FILE is -, touch standard output.


Written by Paul Rubin, Arnold Robbins, Jim Kingdon, David MacKenzie, and Randy Smith.

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 touch is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and touch programs are properly installed at your site, the command

info touch

should give you access to the complete manual.

Table of Contents

use open software!