A Quick Introduction to Unix/Creating Files

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Creating Files[edit]

Files are essentially containers. You can fill a file with a variety of kinds of data, rather as you might fill a bucket with water or sand. There are occasions when the facility to create an empty bucket is useful.

The command touch[edit]

%touch my_new_file


This creates a file called my_new_file. One other use of touch is to update a file's date and time. This is done with the option -t. For example

%touch -t 201010112230 my_new_file

This would update the time and date stamp for the file causing it to show the date and time 11 October 2010 at 22:30. The data and time format is yyyymmddhhmm.

You can check the effect of touch with ls -l

Why use touch?[edit]

One very good use for touch is to help create directory and file structures. Suppose that in a university departmental office each year you must create various administrative files. You will need a file of the new students; a file of staff; a file of options offered that year and so on. From your home you might first of all create a directory to hold the student files:

% mkdir -p /degreeadmin/2010/students

and then to be sure that you have the correct file structure

% touch /degreeadmin/2010/students/student_list.txt

and similarly for any other files and directories you need.

Contents[edit]