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Time elapsed between date vectors




While you can represent dates and times as date vectors, it is recommended that you use datetime values to represent points in time, and duration or calendarDuration values to represent elapsed times.

e = etime(t2,t1) returns the number of seconds between two date vectors or matrices of date vectors, t1 and t2.

Note: To measure the time required to run code, use timeit, or tic and toc, instead of etime. For more information, see Tips.


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Compute the time elapsed between a specified time and the current time.

Specify the initial date and time as the start of January 2020. Convert it to date vector form.

t1 = datevec('2020-01-01')
t1 = 1×6

        2020           1           1           0           0           0

Determine the current date and time. The clock function returns the current date and time as a date vector.

t2 = clock
t2 = 1×6
103 ×

    2.0210    0.0020    0.0230    0.0140    0.0480    0.0574

You can compute the number of seconds between t1 and t2 by using etime.

e = etime(t2,t1)
e = 3.6255e+07

However, this method is not recommended for measuring the time it takes to run your code.

Input Arguments

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Date vectors, specified as 1-by-6 vectors or m-by-6 matrices containing m full date vectors in the format:[Year Month Day Hour Minute Second].

Example: [2012 03 27 11 50 01]

Data Types: double


  • To time the duration of an event, use the timeit or tic and toc functions instead of etime and clock. The clock function is based on the system time, which can be adjusted periodically by the operating system, and thus might not be reliable in time comparison operations.


etime does not account for the following:

  • Leap seconds.

  • Daylight saving time adjustments.

  • Differences in time zones.

See Also

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Introduced before R2006a