DATE(1) General Commands Manual DATE(1)
date - print and set the date
date [-nu] [-d dst] [-t timezone] [yymmddhhmm [.ss] ]
If no arguments are given, the current date and time are printed. Providing an argument will set the desired date; only the superuser can
set the date. The -d and -t flags set the kernel's values for daylight savings time and minutes west of GMT. If dst is non-zero, future
calls to gettimeofday(2) will return a non-zero tz_dsttime. Timezone provides the number of minutes returned by future calls to gettimeof-
day(2) in tz_minuteswest. The -u flag is used to display or set the date in GMT (universal) time. yy represents the last two digits of
the year; the first mm is the month number; dd is the day number; hh is the hour number (24 hour system); the second mm is the minute num-
ber; .ss is optional and represents the seconds. For example:
sets the date to June 13 1985, 4:27 PM. The year, month and day may be omitted; the default values will be the current ones. The system
operates in GMT. Date takes care of the conversion to and from local standard and daylight-saving time.
If timed(8) is running to synchronize the clocks of machines in a local area network, date sets the time globally on all those machines
unless the -n option is given.
/usr/adm/wtmp to record time-setting. In /usr/adm/messages, date records the name of the user setting the time.
gettimeofday(2), utmp(5), timed(8),
TSP: The Time Synchronization Protocol for UNIX 4.3BSD, R. Gusella and S. Zatti
Exit status is 0 on success, 1 on complete failure to set the date, and 2 on successfully setting the local date but failing globally.
Occasionally, when timed synchronizes the time on many hosts, the setting of a new time value may require more than a few seconds. On
these occasions, date prints: `Network time being set'. The message `Communication error with timed' occurs when the communication between
date and timed fails.
The system attempts to keep the date in a format closely compatible with VMS. VMS, however, uses local time (rather than GMT) and does not
understand daylight-saving time. Thus, if you use both UNIX and VMS, VMS will be running on GMT.
4th Berkeley Distribution March 24, 1987 DATE(1)
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DATE(1) BSD General Commands Manual DATE(1)
date -- display or set date and time
date [-ju] [-r seconds] [-v [+|-]val[ymwdHMS]] ... [+output_fmt]
date [-jnu] [[[mm]dd]HH]MM[[cc]yy][.ss]
date [-jnu] -f input_fmt new_date [+output_fmt]
date [-d dst] [-t minutes_west]
When invoked without arguments, the date utility displays the current date and time. Otherwise, depending on the options specified, date
will set the date and time or print it in a user-defined way.
The date utility displays the date and time read from the kernel clock. When used to set the date and time, both the kernel clock and the
hardware clock are updated.
Only the superuser may set the date, and if the system securelevel (see securelevel(8)) is greater than 1, the time may not be changed by
more than 1 second.
The options are as follows:
-d dst Set the kernel's value for daylight saving time. If dst is non-zero, future calls to gettimeofday(2) will return a non-zero for
-f Use input_fmt as the format string to parse the new_date provided rather than using the default [[[mm]dd]HH]MM[[cc]yy][.ss] format.
Parsing is done using strptime(3).
-j Do not try to set the date. This allows you to use the -f flag in addition to the + option to convert one date format to another.
-n By default, if the timed(8) daemon is running, date sets the time on all of the machines in the local group. The -n option sup-
presses this behavior and causes the time to be set only on the current machine.
Print the date and time represented by seconds, where seconds is the number of seconds since the Epoch (00:00:00 UTC, January 1,
1970; see time(3)), and can be specified in decimal, octal, or hex.
Set the system's value for minutes west of GMT. minutes_west specifies the number of minutes returned in tz_minuteswest by future
calls to gettimeofday(2).
-u Display or set the date in UTC (Coordinated Universal) time.
-v Adjust (i.e., take the current date and display the result of the adjustment; not actually set the date) the second, minute, hour,
month day, week day, month or year according to val. If val is preceded with a plus or minus sign, the date is adjusted forwards or
backwards according to the remaining string, otherwise the relevant part of the date is set. The date can be adjusted as many times
as required using these flags. Flags are processed in the order given.
When setting values (rather than adjusting them), seconds are in the range 0-59, minutes are in the range 0-59, hours are in the
range 0-23, month days are in the range 1-31, week days are in the range 0-6 (Sun-Sat), months are in the range 1-12 (Jan-Dec) and
years are in the range 80-38 or 1980-2038.
If val is numeric, one of either y, m, w, d, H, M or S must be used to specify which part of the date is to be adjusted.
The week day or month may be specified using a name rather than a number. If a name is used with the plus (or minus) sign, the date
will be put forwards (or backwards) to the next (previous) date that matches the given week day or month. This will not adjust the
date, if the given week day or month is the same as the current one.
When a date is adjusted to a specific value or in units greater than hours, daylight savings time considerations are ignored.
Adjustments in units of hours or less honor daylight saving time. So, assuming the current date is March 26, 0:30 and that the DST
adjustment means that the clock goes forward at 01:00 to 02:00, using -v +1H will adjust the date to March 26, 2:30. Likewise, if
the date is October 29, 0:30 and the DST adjustment means that the clock goes back at 02:00 to 01:00, using -v +3H will be necessary
to reach October 29, 2:30.
When the date is adjusted to a specific value that does not actually exist (for example March 26, 1:30 BST 2000 in the Europe/London
timezone), the date will be silently adjusted forwards in units of one hour until it reaches a valid time. When the date is adjusted
to a specific value that occurs twice (for example October 29, 1:30 2000), the resulting timezone will be set so that the date
matches the earlier of the two times.
Adjusting the date by months is inherently ambiguous because a month is a unit of variable length depending on the current date.
This kind of date adjustment is applied in the most intuitive way. First of all, date tries to preserve the day of the month. If it
is impossible because the target month is shorter than the present one, the last day of the target month will be the result. For
example, using -v +1m on May 31 will adjust the date to June 30, while using the same option on January 30 will result in the date
adjusted to the last day of February. This approach is also believed to make the most sense for shell scripting. Nevertheless, be
aware that going forth and back by the same number of months may take you to a different date.
Refer to the examples below for further details.
An operand with a leading plus ('+') sign signals a user-defined format string which specifies the format in which to display the date and
time. The format string may contain any of the conversion specifications described in the strftime(3) manual page, as well as any arbitrary
text. A newline ('
') character is always output after the characters specified by the format string. The format string for the default
display is ``+%+''.
If an operand does not have a leading plus sign, it is interpreted as a value for setting the system's notion of the current date and time.
The canonical representation for setting the date and time is:
cc Century (either 19 or 20) prepended to the abbreviated year.
yy Year in abbreviated form (e.g., 89 for 1989, 06 for 2006).
mm Numeric month, a number from 1 to 12.
dd Day, a number from 1 to 31.
HH Hour, a number from 0 to 23.
MM Minutes, a number from 0 to 59.
ss Seconds, a number from 0 to 61 (59 plus a maximum of two leap seconds).
Everything but the minutes is optional.
Time changes for Daylight Saving Time, standard time, leap seconds, and leap years are handled automatically.
The following environment variables affect the execution of date:
TZ The timezone to use when displaying dates. The normal format is a pathname relative to /usr/share/zoneinfo. For example, the com-
mand ``TZ=America/Los_Angeles date'' displays the current time in California. See environ(7) for more information.
/var/log/messages record of the user setting the time
The date utility exits 0 on success, 1 if unable to set the date, and 2 if able to set the local date, but unable to set it globally.
date "+DATE: %Y-%m-%d%nTIME: %H:%M:%S"
In the Europe/London timezone, the command:
date -v1m -v+1y
Sun Jan 4 04:15:24 GMT 1998
where it is currently Mon Aug 4 04:15:24 BST 1997.
date -v1d -v3m -v0y -v-1d
will display the last day of February in the year 2000:
Tue Feb 29 03:18:00 GMT 2000
So will do the command:
date -v30d -v3m -v0y -v-1m
because there is no such date as the 30th of February.
date -v1d -v+1m -v-1d -v-fri
will display the last Friday of the month:
Fri Aug 29 04:31:11 BST 1997
where it is currently Mon Aug 4 04:31:11 BST 1997.
sets the date to ``June 13, 1985, 4:27 PM''.
may be used on one machine to print out the date suitable for setting on another.
sets the time to 2:32 PM, without modifying the date.
Finally the command:
date -j -f "%a %b %d %T %Z %Y" "`date`" "+%s"
can be used to parse the output from date and express it in Epoch time.
Occasionally, when timed(8) synchronizes the time on many hosts, the setting of a new time value may require more than a few seconds. On
these occasions, date prints: 'Network time being set'. The message 'Communication error with timed' occurs when the communication between
date and timed(8) fails.
As above, except for the second line, which is:
date [-jnu] [[[[[cc]yy]mm]dd]HH]MM[.ss]
When invoked in legacy mode, the following exit values are returned:
0 The date was written successfully
1 Unable to set the date
2 Able to set the local date, but unable to set it globally
For more information about legacy mode, see compat(5).
gettimeofday(2), strftime(3), strptime(3), utmpx(5), timed(8)
R. Gusella and S. Zatti, TSP: The Time Synchronization Protocol for UNIX 4.3BSD.
The date utility is expected to be compatible with IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'').
A date command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
August 16, 2007 BSD