I have logs with the following pattern:


I need to extract date and time... for the first line I Do the following:

set starttime [string range $procline 2 20]

But how can I extract it if the identifier (the code before the time) is longer? I'm using expect (tcl). I tried matching the string, but maybe I'm doing something wrong. The line is already loaded as $procline.

I tried many different ways from other answers I've found here in the forums, but nothing really worked out for me.

  • is it separated by comma all through log file and date and time is always after 1st and 2nd comma ??
    – Hackaholic
    Nov 3, 2014 at 15:31
  • %EVENT_CODE,%DATE,%TIME,$parameter1,$parameter2...; all the way
    – Shiunbird
    Nov 3, 2014 at 15:33

3 Answers 3



set fields [split $procline ,]
set timestamp [join [lrange $fields 1 2]]
set time [clock scan $timestamp -format "%d.%m.%Y %T"]

Or, in one shot:

set time [clock scan [join [lrange [split $procline ,] 1 2]] -format "%d.%m.%Y %T"]
  • No go, something lame is happening.
    – Shiunbird
    Nov 4, 2014 at 10:19
  • expected integer but got "30.10.2014 07:51:07" while executing "ParseFormatArgs {*}$args" (procedure "::tcl::clock::format" line 6) invoked from within "::tcl::clock::format {30.10.2014 07:51:07} -format {%d.%m.%Y %T}"
    – Shiunbird
    Nov 4, 2014 at 10:20
  • Oops, my mistake. Should be clock scan, not clock format Nov 4, 2014 at 11:20
  • Beautiful!!!! Thanks so much! (I'm a bit new here, please let me know how I can flag your answer as correct).
    – Shiunbird
    Nov 4, 2014 at 13:49

using awk

awk -F ',' '{print $2,$3}' log_file.txt

if date and time is in 2nd and 3rd position separated by comma

you can do like this if you to store variable

while read x;do a=`echo $x | awk -F ',' '{print $2,$3}'`;
#now do whatever you want to do with your variable 
done < log_file.txt
  • This won't help me much I think. If I try to spawn awk, I can't use the variable I have. My whole line is already in a variable. Unless I perhaps process the text file first, generate a cleaner file, and then use expect to do my magic.
    – Shiunbird
    Nov 3, 2014 at 15:42
  • may be edited code will help you
    – Hackaholic
    Nov 3, 2014 at 16:04

If you don't want awk you are able to use just bash bultins

 IFS=, read a MY_DATE MY_TIME b <<< $procline ; echo $MY_DATE $MY_TIME

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