|CRONTAB(5)||File Formats Manual||CRONTAB(5)|
crontabfile contains instructions to the cron(8) daemon of the general form: “at these times on these dates run this command”. There may be a system
crontaband each user may have their own
crontab. Commands in any given
crontabwill be executed either as the user who owns the
crontabor, in the case of the system
crontab, as the user specified on the command line.
crontab is a text file, it is not
intended to be directly edited. Creation, modification, and removal of a
crontab should be done using
Blank lines, leading spaces, and tabs are ignored. Lines whose
first non-space character is a pound sign
#’) are comments, and are ignored.
Note that comments are not allowed on the same line as
cron(8) commands, since they will be taken
to be part of the command. Similarly, comments are not allowed on the same
line as environment variable settings.
An active line in a
crontab is either an
environment variable setting or a cron(8)
Environment variable settings create the environment any command
crontab is run in. An environment variable
setting is of the form:
name = value
The spaces around the equal sign
=’) are optional, and any subsequent
non-leading spaces in value will be part of the value
assigned to name. The value
string may be placed in quotes (single or double, but matching) to preserve
leading or trailing blanks.
Lines in the system
crontab have six fixed
fields plus a command, in the form:
While lines in a user
crontab have five
fixed fields plus a command, in the form:
Fields are separated by blanks or tabs. The command may be one or more fields long. The allowed values for the fields are:
|minute||* or 0–59|
|hour||* or 0–23|
|day-of-month||* or 1–31|
|month||* or 1–12 or a name (see below)|
|day-of-week||* or 0–7 or a name (0 or 7 is Sunday)|
|user||a valid username|
Lists are allowed. A list is a set of numbers (or ranges) separated by commas. For example, “1,2,5,9” or “0–4,8–12”.
Ranges of numbers are allowed. Ranges are two numbers separated with a hyphen. The specified range is inclusive. For example, 8–11 for an hour entry specifies execution at hours 8, 9, 10 and 11.
Step values can be used in conjunction with ranges. Following a range with /number specifies skips of number through the range. For example, “0–23/2” can be used in the hour field to specify command execution every other hour. Steps are also permitted after an asterisk, so to say “every two hours”, just use “*/2”.
An asterisk (‘
*’) is short
form for a range of all allowed values.
Names can be used in the month and day-of-week fields. Use the first three letters of the particular day or month (case doesn't matter). Ranges or lists of names are not allowed.
The command field (the rest of the line) is
the command to be run. The entire command portion of the line, up to a
newline or % character, will be executed by /bin/sh
or by the shell specified in the
SHELL variable of
crontab. Percent signs
%’) in the command, unless escaped
with a backslash (‘
\’), will be
changed into newline characters, and all data after the first
%’ will be sent to the command as
Commands may be modified as follows:
-noption is an attempt to cure potentially copious volumes of mail coming from cron(8).
Commands are executed by cron(8) when the minute, hour, and month fields match the current time, and when at least one of the two day fields (day-of-month or day-of-week), match the current time.
Note: The day of a command's execution can be specified by two fields — day-of-month and day-of-week. If both fields are restricted (i.e. aren't *), the command will be run when either field matches the current time. For example,
30 4 1,15 * 5
would cause a command to be run at 4:30 am on the 1st and 15th of each month, plus every Friday.
Instead of the first five fields, one of eight special strings may appear:
|@reboot||Run once, at startup.|
|@yearly||Run every January 1 (0 0 1 1 *).|
|@annually||The same as @yearly.|
|@monthly||Run the first day of every month (0 0 1 * *).|
|@weekly||Run every Sunday (0 0 * * 0).|
|@daily||Run every midnight (0 0 * * *).|
|@midnight||The same as @daily.|
|@hourly||Run every hour, on the hour (0 * * * *).|
MAILTOis defined and non-empty, mail is sent to the user so named. If
MAILTOis defined but empty (
MAILTO =“”), no mail will be sent. Otherwise mail is sent to the owner of the
crontab. This is useful for pseudo-users that lack an alias that would otherwise redirect the mail to a real person.
# use /bin/sh to run commands, no matter what /etc/passwd says SHELL=/bin/sh # mail any output to `paul', no matter whose crontab this is MAILTO=paul # # run five minutes after midnight, every day 5 0 * * * $HOME/bin/daily.job >> $HOME/tmp/out 2>&1 # run at 2:15pm on the first of every month -- output mailed to paul 15 14 1 * * $HOME/bin/monthly # run at 10 pm on weekdays, annoy Joe 0 22 * * 1-5 mail -s "It's 10pm" joe%Joe,%%Where are your kids?% 23 0-23/2 * * * echo "run 23 minutes after midn, 2am, 4am ..., everyday" 5 4 * * sun echo "run at 5 after 4 every sunday"
crontabfile format is compliant with the IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”) specification. The behaviours described below are all extensions to that standard:
@’ commands that can appear in place of the first five fields.
crontabwas written by Paul Vixie <email@example.com>.
|June 13, 2018||OpenBSD-current|