date − print or set the system date and time


date [OPTION]... [+FORMAT]
[OPTION] [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

−I, −−iso−8601[=TIMESPEC] output an ISO-8601 compliant date/time string.

TIMESPEC=‘date’ (or missing) for date only, ‘hours’, ‘minutes’, or ‘seconds’ for date and time to the indicated precision.

−r, −−reference=FILE

display the last modification time of FILE

−R, −−rfc−822

output RFC-822 compliant date string

−s, −−set=STRING

set time described by STRING

−u, −−utc, −−universal

print or set Coordinated Universal Time


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 (Sun..Sat)


locale’s full weekday name, variable length (Sunday..Saturday)


locale’s abbreviated month name (Jan..Dec)


locale’s full month name, variable length (January..December)


locale’s date and time (Sat Nov 04 12:02:33 EST 1989)


day of month (01..31)


date (mm/dd/yy)


day of month, blank padded ( 1..31)


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


locale’s AM or PM


time, 12-hour (hh:mm:ss [AP]M)


seconds since 00:00:00, Jan 1, 1970 (a GNU extension)


second (00..60)


a horizontal tab


time, 24-hour (hh:mm:ss)


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


week number of year with Monday as first day of week (01..52)


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


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


locale’s date representation (mm/dd/yy)


locale’s time representation (%H:%M:%S)


last two digits of year (00..99)


year (1970...)


RFC-822 style numeric timezone (-0500) (a nonstandard extension)


time zone (e.g., EDT), or nothing if no time zone is determinable

By default, date pads numeric fields with zeroes. GNU date recognizes the following modifiers between ‘%’ and a numeric directive.

‘-’ (hyphen) do not pad the field ‘_’ (underscore) pad the field with spaces


Report bugs to <>.


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.


Copyright © 1999 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.