I need to redirect the output of a command that I am running to a log file with timestamp (hence a function instead of the log file itself) but the error and the output, both should not be showing in the console. The following -

command | my_func 2> /dev/null 

is not working.

Something like

command 2> logfile

works, but I can't record the timestamp in the second case. What should I do?


You do not even need a function for that!

To redirect errors to /dev/null and output to a file with time and date, you could use sed like so:

command 2> /dev/null | sed -e "s/^/$(date) /" >> logfile 

sed -e "s/^/$(date) /" will append the current date in this format Thu 09 Apr 2020 07:06:14 AM +03 to the beginning of each line and add a space between the date and the output for readability purposes.


  • To redirect both error and output to a file with time and date, use this:
command 2>&1 | sed -e "s/^/$(date) /" >> logfile
  • To use timestamp in seconds since the Unix epoch like this 1586406740. change $(date) to $(date +%s)

Best of luck

| improve this answer | |
  • Note that here the timestamp will be the time the command is invoked, not the time the output is generated, which could be a huge difference for long-running processes. – user000001 Apr 9 at 14:17
  • This almost worked for me, except that it overwrites the contents of the log file every time I run the script. The time difference you mentioned is not significant in my use case. – user4002112 Apr 9 at 15:43
  • 1
    @user4002112 ` > logfile` will overwrite the log file, but >> logfile will append to the log file. Please make sure to use >> and not > – Raffa Apr 9 at 15:59
  • no I am using >> – user4002112 Apr 9 at 16:57
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    @Raffa, thanks, it worked for me, I was overwriting in an earlier command. – user4002112 Apr 9 at 21:53

It seems you want:

command 2> /dev/null | my_func 

which redirects the stderr of command to /dev/null, but pipes stdout to my_func. (Side note: You might want to check out the ts command).

| improve this answer | |
  • Assuming your my_func is doing the task of writing to the file, command 2>&1 | my_func or (bash-specific) command |& my_func, which redirects stderr to stdout, and stdout is already piped to my_func. – muru Apr 9 at 5:15
  • If your my_func isn't writing to the file, then command 2>&1 | my_func > some/file – muru Apr 9 at 5:15

If a timestamp is all that is needed see ts from the moreutils package.

command | ts

$ sudo apt install moreutils
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  • 1
    something like this command 2>&1 | ts >> command.log – bac0n Apr 9 at 5:27

Another option is to use GNU awk:

myprogram | gawk '{print strftime(), $0}' >> logfile

If you also want to log standard error (assumes bash shell):

myprogram |& gawk '{print strftime(), $0}' >> logfile
| improve this answer | |

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