I cannot receive the crontab output report by email as an attachment. I tried the following code, but I receive a blank file:

50 * * * * root touch /home/text_created >> 
/home/log_crontab.txt | mail -s "Email Subject" -a "/home/log_contab.txt" 

It is a really simple test just to run crontab along with its email sending feature. What's the matter with the code above?

  • You can't split a crontab command over multiple lines like that.
    – Barmar
    Feb 21, 2018 at 21:54

2 Answers 2


You received a blank file because the /home/log_contab.txt file was empty when the mail was sent.


Processes on the both sides of the anonymous pipe (|) start simultaneously; so, when the command on the left hand side appends STDOUT (assuming any) to the /home/log_contab.txt file, the mail command has finished executing (with a blank /home/log_contab.txt file as attachment as presumably it was empty to start with).

To get what you want, run one after another, conditionally:

50 * * * * command_1 && command_2

Change the commands accordingly.


Piping the output to mail is not right. You're redirecting the output to a file, so nothing will be sent to the pipe. And when you use a pipe, the two commands are run concurrently, so mail doesn't wait for the first command to finish.

Run them sequentially with ;.

And touch doesn't produce any output. If you want a message logging that the cron job succeeded, you need to write that explicitly.

50 * * * * root if touch /home/text_created; then echo "Touch successful"; else echo "Touch failed"; fi >> /home/log_crontab.txt 2>&1; mail -s "Email Subject" -a "/home/log_contab.txt" this_is_my_email
  • Sorry, but it is not working. I just tried this code: */2 0 * * * root touch /home/file_created_at_`date +\%H:\%M`.txt > /home/log.txt ; mail -s "subject" -a "/home/log.txt" my_email. It outputs again a blank file. Feb 21, 2018 at 23:44
  • @R99Photography AFAIK the touch command doesn't write anything to standard output - what exactly are you expecting to see in the attached file? Feb 22, 2018 at 0:00
  • touch is only an example of a task I expect to run. Let's imagine another task like "copy a directory from one location to another one for backyp", I expect to send an email with the log that the crojob was succesfully run. Feb 22, 2018 at 9:17
  • Copying a file doesn't produce any output, either.
    – Barmar
    Feb 22, 2018 at 18:41
  • I've updated the answer to show how you can log a message reporting the success of the operation.
    – Barmar
    Feb 22, 2018 at 18:43

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