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How to use the touch command: 2-Minute Linux Tips

Network World | Aug 30, 2019

In this Linux tip, learn how to use the touch command. It allows you to create an empty file or update a file’s last updated date/time settings.

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Hi, this is Sandra Henry-Stocker, author of the “Unix as a Second Language” blog on NetworkWorld.
In this Linux tip, we’re going to look at the touch command that allows you to create an empty file or update a file’s last updated date/time settings. Let’s try it out and see how it works.
First, to create a new empty file, you would simply use a touch command like this:
Notice that the file listing will indicate that the file is new (current date/time) and that the file is empty. Why would you want to do this? You might need to make sure that a particular file exists before some script or process that requires it runs.
If you touch an existing file, the date/time settings will be updated to the current date/time:
If you want to set the date/time of a file to match those of another file, use the -r (reference) option:
The stat command will the reflect the new dates and times:
That’s your Linux tip for the touch command.
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