Code360 powered by Coding Ninjas X Code360 powered by Coding Ninjas X
Table of contents
Delving into the touch Command
Creating New Files Effortlessly
Advantages and Disadvantages 
Advantages of the touch Command
Disadvantages of the touch Command
Practical Scenarios
Exploring Edge Cases
Future Prospects
Frequently Asked Questions
What can the touch command be used for *?
What is the difference between touch and VI?
What is touch Linux?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Touch Command in Linux

Author Rahul Singh
0 upvote


Embarking on the Linux journey unveils a realm of robust utilities and commands, each serving as a building block for managing the system. Among these, the touch command stands out for its simplicity and versatility in file management. 

Touch command in linux

This article unravels the nuances of the touch command, ensuring a smooth sail as you navigate through file creation and timestamp modifications in Linux.

Learn more, wget command in linux

Delving into the touch Command

At its core, the touch command in Linux is designed for two primary functions: creating new empty files and updating the timestamps of existing files. Its simplicity is encapsulated in its syntax:

touch [OPTION]... FILE...

Creating New Files Effortlessly

Creating a new file is a breeze with the touch command. A single command is all it takes to bring a new file into existence or update the timestamps of an existing one.

touch newfile.txt

This command either births a new file named newfile.txt or refreshes the timestamps of an existing one with the same name.

Timestamp Magic:

Timestamps are crucial metadata associated with files, indicating the last access and modification times. The touch command serves as a magic wand to update these timestamps without opening the file.

touch -a existingfile.txt  # Only access time is updated
touch -m existingfile.txt  # Only modification time is updated

Options Galore:

The touch command comes with a variety of options to tailor its behavior to your needs:

  • -a: Solely updates the access time of the file.
  • -m: Solely updates the modification time.
  • -c: Refrains from creating new files.
  • -t: Sets a specific timestamp.
touch -t 202310101234.55 existingfile.txt  # A journey back in time
Get the tech career you deserve, faster!
Connect with our expert counsellors to understand how to hack your way to success
User rating 4.7/5
1:1 doubt support
95% placement record
Akash Pal
Senior Software Engineer
326% Hike After Job Bootcamp
Himanshu Gusain
Programmer Analyst
32 LPA After Job Bootcamp
After Job

Advantages and Disadvantages 

It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using touch command in linux:

Advantages of the touch Command

  • Swift File Creation: Creating new files is swift and hassle-free, making initialization of projects quicker.
  • Timestamp Management: Updating timestamps is a cakewalk, aiding in efficient file management and scripting.

Disadvantages of the touch Command

Limited Functionality: The touch command is somewhat limited to file creation and timestamp modifications.

Practical Scenarios

Imagine you are kickstarting a project requiring multiple file setups. Instead of manual creation, a single touch command does the job:

touch index.html style.css script.js

These three files spring into existence, ready for your development adventure.

Exploring Edge Cases

In a scenario where you attempt to create a file in a non-existent directory:

touch /nonexistent_dir/file.txt

This command fails as the parent directory doesn't exist, highlighting the necessity of a valid path.

Future Prospects

As Linux continues to flourish, the essence of basic commands like touch remains intact. They serve as the bedrock for more complex operations, scripting, and automation in a Linux environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can the touch command be used for *?

The touch command in Unix-like operating systems is primarily used to create empty files or update the timestamps (last accessed and modified) of existing files without altering their contents

What is the difference between touch and VI?

touch is used to create empty files or update file timestamps, without opening or modifying the file's content. vi, on the other hand, is a text editor used to open, edit, and save file contents interactively.

What is touch Linux?

In Linux, the touch command is used to create new, empty files or to update the timestamps of existing files without modifying their content. It's a standard command-line utility for file manipulation in Unix-like operating systems.


The touch command, with its simplicity and effectiveness, is a quintessential tool in the Linux toolkit. It epitomizes the ease of file management in Linux, making it an indispensable command for both novices and seasoned Linux aficionados. The practical usage of touch transcends file creation, extending to scripting, testing, and beyond, thereby showcasing the robustness of Linux in handling everyday tasks efficiently.

Also read : features of linux operating system

You can refer to our guided paths on the Coding Ninjas. You can check our course to learn more about DSADBMSCompetitive ProgrammingPythonJavaJavaScript, etc. 

Also, check out some of the Guided Paths on topics such as Data Structure and AlgorithmsCompetitive ProgrammingOperating SystemsComputer Networks, DBMSSystem Design, etc., as well as some Contests, Test Series, and Interview Experiences curated by top Industry Experts.

Live masterclass