Manual Reference Pages  - TOUCH (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.
-a 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
-f (ignored)
-h, --no-dereference
  affect each symbolic link instead of any referenced file (useful only on systems that can change the timestamps of a symlink)
-m change only the modification time
-r, --reference=FILE
  use this file’s times instead of current time
-t STAMP 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.


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.


Report touch bugs to
GNU coreutils home page: <>
General help using GNU software: <>
Report touch translation bugs to <>


Copyright © 2011 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.


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 coreutils touch invocation
should give you access to the complete manual.

GNU coreutils 8.12.197-032bb TOUCH (1) September 2011
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