In ansible, I would like to manipulate files/directories/archive that are composed or to composed like this:

How would I do that. It seem Ansible is not able to handler that. (I doubt). So, what I do wrong ?


- name: create file with a date in name
  file: path=/path/somefile.`date +%y_%m_%d`

- name: unzip a file
  unarchive: path=/path/zomezip.`date +%y_%m_%d`.tar.gz bla bla....

3 Answers 3


Set a variable, then use it with Ansible's Jinja2 templating system (it looks like you're trying to do PHP with the dot operator and the backticks)

    date: "{{ lookup('pipe', 'date +%Y%m%d-%H%M') }}"
  - name: create file with a date in name
    file: path="/path/somefile{{ date }}"

Or use the lookup itself in the templates:

  - name: create file with a date in name
    file: path="/path/somefile{{ lookup('pipe', 'date +%Y%m%d-%H%M') }}"
  • Yeah ! This is exactly what I was looking for ! Thank`s a lot !
    – yield
    Oct 13, 2015 at 16:26
  • 1
    one problem I had with this approach: the var seems to be more like a macro than a thing that executes once and caches. using it multiple times during one run and I got different answers. (this was from a var in a playbook)
    – tenpn
    Feb 21, 2017 at 11:39
  • 1
    @tenpn for that you would have to set fact (store into variable) like: - set_fact: my_time: "{{ lookup('pipe', 'date +%Y%m%d-%H%M') }}"
    – jhutar
    Jun 29, 2017 at 8:45

Starting with 2.4, you can also use the strftime filter (doc):

# Display year-month-day
{{ '%Y-%m-%d' | strftime }}

# Display hour:min:sec
{{ '%H:%M:%S' | strftime }}

# Use ansible_date_time.epoch fact
{{ '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S' | strftime(ansible_date_time.epoch) }}

# Use arbitrary epoch value
{{ '%Y-%m-%d' | strftime(0) }}          # => 1970-01-01

You could try..

  - a_timestamp: "{{ timestamp.stdout }}"

  - name: Get a timestamp
    command: date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S
    register: timestamp

then add the variable where needed.

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