In your websites and applications, you might want to add functionalities like timestamps or checking the time of a user’s activity.

Every programming language has modules or methods for working with time, and Python is not an exception.

With the datetime and time modules of Python, you can get the current date and time, or the date and time in a particular time zone.

In this article, I will show you how to get the current time in Python with the datetime and time modules.

How to Get the Current Time with the Datetime Module

The first thing you can do to quickly get the current date and time is to use the datetime.now() function from the datetime module:

from datetime import datetime
current_date_and_time = datetime.now()

print("The current date and time is", current_date_and_time)

# The current date and time is 2022-07-12 10:22:00.776664

This shows you not just the time but also the date.

To extract the time, you can use the strftime() function and pass in ("%H:%M:%S")

  • %H gets the hour
  • %M gets the minute
  • %S gets the seconds
from datetime import datetime
time_now = datetime.now()
current_time = time_now.strftime("%H:%M:%S")

print("The current date and time is", current_time)

# The current date and time is 10:27:45

You can also re-write the code like this:

from datetime import datetime
time_now = datetime.now().strftime("%H:%M:%S")

print("The current date and time is", time_now)

# The current date and time is 10:30:37
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How to Get the Current Time with the Time Module

Apart from the datetime() module, the time module is another built-in way to get the current time in Python.

As usual, you have to import the time module first, and then you can use the ctime() method to get the current date and time.

import time

current_time = time.ctime()
print(current_time)

# Tue Jul 12 10:37:46 2022

To extract the current time, you also have to use the strftime() function:

import time

current_time = time.strftime("%H:%M:%S")
print("The current time is", current_time)

# The current time is 10:42:32
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Final Thoughts

This article showed you two ways you can get the current time with Python.

If you’re wondering which to use between the time and datetime modules, it depends on what you want:

  • time is more precise than datetime
  • if you don’t want ambiguity with daylight savings time (DST), use time
  • datetime has more built-in objects you can work with but has limited support for time zones.

If you want to work with time zones, you should consider using the pytz module.

To learn how you can get the time in a particular zone, I wrote about the pytz module here.

Keep coding :)