A Quick Introduction to Unix/Creating Files
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
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?
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.