Creating Files

Learn how to create files using the touch command.

In Creating and Reading Files, we learned how to use the echo command and redirection to create files. This is one of many ways to create files on the command line. Let’s look at a few alternatives.

The touch command

If we only need to create an empty file, we can use the touch command. This command is designed to update the timestamp of a file. It’s common for programs to watch a file for changes and then react to them by executing a process. For example, we might have a process that runs tests whenever a file changes, but we don’t actually want to open the file and make a change. We can use touch to modify the file without actually changing the contents. This would then trigger the program or process monitoring the file.

However, if the specified file doesn’t exist, the touch command creates the file. This makes touch a very popular tool for creating files quickly.

$ touch file.txt

We verify that it exists by using the ls -lh command:

$ ls -lh file.txt

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