Section (1) touch

Linux manual pages Section 1  


touch — change file timestamps


touch [OPTION...] FILE...


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

A FILE argument that does not exist is created empty, unless −c or −h is supplied.

A FILE argument string of − is handled specially and causes touch to change the times of the file associated with standard output.

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



−h, −−no−dereference

affect each symbolic link instead of any referenced file (useful only on systems that can change the timestamps of a symlink)


change only the modification time

−r, −−reference=FILE/

use this file_zsingle_quotesz_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


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

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


The --date=STRING is a mostly free format human readable date string such as Sun, 29 Feb 2004 16:21:42 -0800 or 2004-02-29 16:21:42 or even next Thursday. A date string may contain items indicating calendar date, time of day, time zone, day of week, relative time, relative date, and numbers. An empty string indicates the beginning of the day. The date string format is more complex than is easily documented here but is fully described in the info documentation.


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


GNU coreutils online help: <>

Report any translation bugs to <>


Full documentation <>

or available locally via: info _zsingle_quotesz_(coreutils) touch invocation_zsingle_quotesz_


Copyright © 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.

This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.