Get the Current Time in Python

Jinku Hu Jan 08, 2023 Jul 17, 2018 Python Python DateTime
  1. Use the datetime Module to Get the Current Time in Python
  2. Use the time Module to Get the Current Time in Python
Get the Current Time in Python

We could use two modules to get the current time in Python, that are datetime and time.

Use the datetime Module to Get the Current Time in Python

>>> from datetime import datetime
>>> datetime.now()
datetime.datetime(2018, 7, 17, 22, 48, 16, 222169)

It returns the datetime object that includes the date time information including year, month, day and time.

If you prefer a string format, then you could use a strftime method to convert the datetime object instance to a string format as defined in the argument.

>>> datetime.now().strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')
'2018-07-17 22:54:25'

Below is the snippet of directives in the strftime format string.

Directive Meaning
%d Day of the month as a decimal number [01,31].
%H Hour (24-hour clock) as a decimal number [00,23].
%m Month as a decimal number [01,12].
%M Minute as a decimal number [00,59].
%S Second as a decimal number [00,61].
%Y Year with century as a decimal number.

Only Current Time Without Date

>>> from datetime import datetime
>>> datetime.now().time()
datetime.time(23, 4, 0, 13713)

Use the time Module to Get the Current Time in Python

time.strftime to Get the Current Time in Python

import time
time.strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S', time.localtime())
'2018-07-17 21:06:40'
Attention
As its name indicates, time.localtime() returns the local time in your time zone. If UTC time is preferred, then time.gmtime() is the right choice.

time.ctime to Get the Current Time in Python

import time
time.ctime()
'Tue Oct 29 11:21:51 2019'

The result is that ctime is more display-friendly to display in the GUI or print in the console. It could aslo be splitted to get the weekday, month, day, time and year.

>>> import time
>>> A = time.ctime()
>>> A = A.split()
>>> A
['Tue', 'Oct', '29', '12:38:44', '2019']
Attention
Be aware that time.ctime() is operation system dependent, or in other words, it could change if the OS is different. Don’t expect it to be standard among different operation systems.
This method is not good for record-keeping.
Author: Jinku Hu
Jinku Hu avatar Jinku Hu avatar

Founder of DelftStack.com. Jinku has worked in the robotics and automotive industries for over 8 years. He sharpened his coding skills when he needed to do the automatic testing, data collection from remote servers and report creation from the endurance test. He is from an electrical/electronics engineering background but has expanded his interest to embedded electronics, embedded programming and front-/back-end programming.

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