Linux touch

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

About touch

touch changes file timestamps.


The touch command updates the access and modification times of each FILE to the current system time.

If you specify a FILE that does not already exist, touch creates an empty file with that name (unless the -c or -h options are specified; see below).

If the FILE argument is a dash ("-") is handled specially and causes touch to change the times of the file associated with standard output.

touch syntax

touch [OPTION]... FILE...


In the options below, arguments to long options are mandatory for short options as well:

-a Change only the access time.
-c, --no-create Do not create any files.
-d, --date=STRING Parse the string STRING and use it instead of current time.
-f Ignored, but included for compatibility reasons.
-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.
--time=WORD Change the specified time: WORD is access, atime, or use; or modify (equivalent to -a WORD), or mtime (equivalent to -m).
--help Display a help message, and exit.
--version Display version information, and exit.

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

touch examples

touch file.txt

If file.txt exists, touch updates its access and modification times to the current time. If file.txt doesn't exist, it is created as a new, empty file.

date — Output the current date and time.