Create a File Name With the Current Date and Time in Python

You can create a file name with the current date and time in Python using the datetime module by following these steps.

Step 1: Get the Current Date and Time

To get the current date time, use the or methods in the datetime package. Those methods return a datetime object that represents the current date and time.

Here is an example:


2023-03-31 20:44:16.703033

You can also extract time and date separately using date() and time() functions as follows



Step 2: Format datetime Output in Step 1

The datetime object can be formatted explicitly using datetime.strftime(<format>) method. This method takes the datetime, date, or time object and returns a string representation of the object based on the <format> provided.

Here are a few examples of formate codes supported by strftime():

Formatting code Description Example
%d Two-digit day of the month. 01, 02, …, 31
%m Two-digit representation of the month 01, 02, …, 12
%y Two-digit representation of the year 00, 01, 99
%Y Four-digit representation of the year 0000, 0001, …., 9999
%H Two-digit 24-hour clock 00, 01, …, 23
%I Two-digit 12-hour clock 01, 02, …, 12
%M Two-digit minute number 00, 01, …, 59
%S Two-digit second number 00, 01, …, 59

You can find more formatting codes from the strftime() documentation.

We can use the formatting codes above as shown in the following examples





Step 3: Create a File/ Folder or Rename an Existing One by Adding Current Datetime

This step discusses creating a file or folder with the current datetime in their name or renaming an existing file/ folder.

Creating a new file/ folder with current datetime

We can now create a file (in this case, a txt file) using with context manager and open() function as shown below.

That creates a txt file with the current date time, for example, file_20230331_212104.txt.

Note: The code above may create a new file at every execution as time passes. You may want to rename files if that is not what you expect.

A new folder can be created using the os module with the os.makedirs(<folder_name>) function.

Rename a file or folder to include current datetime

To rename a file/ folder, we can use the os.rename() function, as shown below.

Rename all files and subfolders in a given directory recursively

You can use os.walk() to traverse all the files and subfolders in a directory tree. Here’s an example implementation that uses os.walk:


This guide discussed using Python’s datetime module to create a filename with the current date and time. By using the or method, we can get the current date and time and then format it using the strftime() to create a string representation of the datetime object.

We can then use this string representation to create a new file or rename an existing file by adding the current datetime to the file’s name. However, caution should be taken when using the current datetime on filenames to avoid overriding existing files or creating unnecessary duplicates.