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Make the output of the `time` builtin easier to parse

 $ TIMEFORMAT=%R

— by Janos on Dec. 4, 2012, 10:43 p.m.

Explanation

The time builtin prints a summary of the real time, user CPU time and system CPU time spent executing commands, for example:

$ time sleep 1

real    0m1.002s
user    0m0.000s
sys     0m0.002s

If you need to parse this output, it helps to simplify it using the TIMEFORMAT variable. The value %R means "the elapsed time in seconds", for example:

$ TIMEFORMAT=%R
$ time sleep 1
1.004

The complete documentation of the format definition is in man bash, search for TIMEFORMAT.