The scheduling format for the Linux scheduling daemon cron are not easy to remember, especially if you don’t work with cron that frequently. The first reaction for most Linux sys admins when they can’t remember the ordering of fields is to type ‘man crontab’, and unfortunately this man page section does not contain the schedule format information. If you are like me, you will immediately start Googling it.

What is the best way to locate the man page for crontab scheduling format then? For one thing, you can search the man page for the key work ‘crontab’ using the command below –

daniel@linubuvma:/tmp$ man -k crontab
anacrontab (5)       - configuration file for anacron
crontab (1)          - maintain crontab files for individual users (Vixie Cron)
crontab (5)          - tables for driving cron

You see, there are two sections for crontab – section 1 describes the command usage and section 5 shows the tables we are looking for. If you are familiar with how man page section numbers are assigned, you would have immediately jumped to section 5 of the man page for crontab –


1. General commands
2. System calls
3. C library functions
4. Special files (usually devices, those found in /dev) and drivers
5. File formats and conventions
6. Games and screensavers
7. Miscellanea
8. System administration commands and daemons

Short answer to how do i see the crontab schedule format is – run

 man 5 crontab 

Per the man page, the time and date fields in order are –

field allowed values
----- --------------
minute 0-59
hour 0-23
day of month 1-31
month 1-12 (or names, see below)
day of week 0-7 (0 or 7 is Sun, or use names)

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