UNIX / Linux: Increment The Date

Posted on in Categories , last updated April 26, 2011

I want to increment the date under UNIX or Linux operating system while writing shell scripts. For example Apr/27/2011 should be incremented as Apr/28/2011 and so on. How do I increment a date in UNIX or Linux shell?

You can display time and date described by format (also known as relative date format) under GNU/date utility which is part of Linux and UNIX like operating systems. The default format is to display current date and time. To display tomorrows date, enter:
$ date
$ date --date="-1 days ago"

Sample outputs:

Wed Apr 27 02:29:59 IST 2011
Thu Apr 28 02:29:34 IST 2011

You can use bash for loop as follows:

for i in {1..10}
   date --date="-$i days ago"

Sample outputs:

Thu Apr 28 02:33:02 IST 2011
Fri Apr 29 02:33:02 IST 2011
Sat Apr 30 02:33:02 IST 2011
Sun May  1 02:33:02 IST 2011
Mon May  2 02:33:02 IST 2011
Tue May  3 02:33:02 IST 2011
Wed May  4 02:33:02 IST 2011
Thu May  5 02:33:02 IST 2011
Fri May  6 02:33:02 IST 2011
Sat May  7 02:33:02 IST 2011

Change Date Format To DD/MM/YY

Use the following syntax:
$ date +"%d/%m/%y" --date="-5 days ago"
Here is update code:

# Increment the date in dd/mm/yy format
for i in {1..10}
   date +"%d/%m/%y" --date="-$i days ago"

Sample outputs:


You can use the same technique in backup scripts to adjust date and time.

See also:

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

3 comment

  1. I am trying to use the above command for incrementing the current date by 1 day but its not working..can you please help me in this.
    I am executing this command in Korn shell.

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