function::cputime_to_string - Linux


cputime_to_string is a utility that converts a CPU time value, expressed as a fractional number of seconds, to a string representing the duration. It’s primarily used to create human-readable representations of CPU times for reporting or analysis purposes.


cputime_to_string [OPTIONS] <CPUTIME>


  • -f, --format: Specifies the output format for the CPU time. Supported formats are short (, long (, and verbose (days hours:minutes:seconds.hundreds). Default: short
  • -u, --units: Specifies the units used in the output format. Supported units are ns, us, ms, and s. Default: s
  • -v, --version: Prints the version information and exits


# Convert 123.456 seconds to a short-format string
cputime_to_string 123.456

# Convert 123.456 seconds to a verbose-format string with nanosecond units
cputime_to_string -f verbose -u ns 123.456

Common Issues

  • Incorrect input: Ensure the provided CPU time is a valid fractional number of seconds.
  • Unsupported format: Check that the specified output format is one of the supported options: short, long, or verbose.
  • Unsupported units: The specified units must be one of the supported options: ns, us, ms, or s.


cputime_to_string can be used in combination with other Linux commands to generate reports or analyze system performance. For example:

# Generate a table of CPU times for running processes
ps -eo pid,user,pcpu,cputime | sort -nrk3 | cputime_to_string -f verbose -u ms

Related Commands

  • time: Runs a command and reports the elapsed real and CPU time.
  • ps: Reports the status of running processes.
  • top: Provides a dynamic real-time view of running processes, including CPU usage statistics.