How to search for files by date

Today I would like to tell you how to search for files by date, which is very useful skill when you spend most of your time on the command-line.

Use the find utility to search for files modified or created since particular date, but remember that provided datetime will be compared using greater-than sign.

The following example will illustrate basic command usage as it will not match file created/modified at 2015-01-27 00:00:00, but at least 2015-01-27 00:00:01.

$ find ~/Documents/ -type f -newermt "2015-01-27"

You can be more precise in this matter and narrow down time interval.

$ find ~/Photos/ -type f -newermt "2015-01-27 12:00" -not -newermt "2015-01-27 13:15"

You are not limited to the strict dates as you can use date command to ease things a bit.

$ find ~/Projects/ -newermt $(date +'%Y-%m-%d %H:%M' -d 'last Tue 13:00')

The same rules apply if want to search by metadata modification time, which will allow you find files with modified contents or metadata like owner, permissions.

$ find ~/Backups/ -newerct $(date +'%Y-%m-%d' -d 'yesterday')

Everything is described in the find manual page, so please read it for yourself to get more detail.

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About Milosz Galazka

Milosz is a system administrator working for a successful Polish company and a long time supporter of Free Software Foundation and Debian operating system.

Gdansk, Poland