ncal – A Command-Line Calendar

ncal1Need a quick calendar? Try ncal – a command-line program that displays a calendar in your terminal.




In Linux Mint 17.3, ncal should already be installed by default, but if not, you can install it from Synaptic by installing the bsdmainutils package, which contains a collection of command-line utilities.

sudo apt-get install bsdmainutils

Running ncal is a s easy as typing its name at the command prompt:


ncal default layout lists days vertically, not horizontally.

Entering ncal by itself shows the current day of the current month and year.

If you wish to see a horizontal layout, use the -C option.

ncal -C

ncal -C makes ncal look like cal.

What is the difference from cal?

Linux also includes the cal program, which also displays a calendar, so what is the difference?

They are mostly the same. ncal will do everything cal can do. The most apparent difference is the default vertical layout of ncal so an entire year can be shown in an 80-column terminal in fewer rows than cal.


ncal (left) and cal (right). Both show the same information, but in a different format. ncal can display days horizontally with the -C or -b option.

With the vertical format, ncal displays four months in a row while cal shows three months in a row.



ncal -y 2016 will show the entire calendar at once for the specified year (2016 in this case).

Many Options

Entering man ncal will show many, many options for calendar customization. Options may be combined.

ncal -y 2015 -C


ncal -y 2015 -C shows a calendar for the entire year 2015. The -C option uses the cal format where days are listed horizontally instead of the default vertical layout.

ncal -A 3

ncal -A 3 shows the current month followed by the next three months.

ncal -y 1900 | lolcat

Want color? Pipe ncal to lolcat with ncal -y 1900 | lolcat.

ncal -m 10 | cowsay

However, piping to cowsay does not preserve the calendar formatting. The -m 10 means “show the tenth month of the year.” October, in this case.

There are a number of options possible with ncal, including country codes, so have fun and experiment!


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