Timer::Simple - Small, simple timer (stopwatch) object


version 1.006


  use Timer::Simple ();
  my $t = Timer::Simple->new();
  print "something took: $t\n";

  # or take more control

  my $timer = Timer::Simple->new(start => 0, string => 'human');
  print "time so far: ", $t->elapsed, " seconds\n";
  print "time so far: ", $t->elapsed, " seconds\n";
  printf "whole process lasted %d hours %d minutes %f seconds\n", $t->hms;
    # or simply "whole process lasted $t\n" with 'string' => 'human'

  $timer->restart; # use the same object to time something else

  # you can use package functions to work with mutliple timers

  $timer1 = Timer::Simple->new;
  $timer2 = Timer::Simple->new;

  print "first process took $timer1, second process took: $timer2\n";
  print "in total took: " . Timer::Simple::format_hms($timer1 + $timer2);


This is a simple object to make timing an operation as easy as possible.

It uses Time::HiRes if available (unless you tell it not to).

It stringifies to the elapsed time (see "string").

This module aims to be small and efficient and do what is useful in most cases while also being sufficiently customizable.



Constructor; Takes a hash or hashref of arguments:

  • hires - Boolean; Defaults to true;

    Set this to false to not attempt to use Time::HiRes and just use time instead.

  • hms - Alternate sprintf string used by "hms"

  • start - Boolean; Defaults to true;

    Set this to false to skip the initial setting of the clock. You must call "start" explicitly if you disable this.

  • string - The default format for "string". Defaults to 'short';


Returns the number of seconds elapsed since the clock was started.

This method is used as the object's value when used in numeric context:

  $total_elapsed = $timer1 + $timer2;


  # list
  my @units = $timer->hms;

  sprintf("%d hours %minutes %f seconds", $timer->hms);

  # scalar
  print "took: " . $timer->hms . "\n"; # same as print "took :$timer\n";

  # alternate format
  $string = $timer->hms('%04d h %04d m %020.10f s');

Separates the elapsed time (seconds) into hours, minutes, and seconds.

In list context returns a three-element list (hours, minutes, seconds).

In scalar context returns a string resulting from sprintf (essentially sprintf($format, $h, $m, $s)). The default format is 00:00:00.000000 (%02d:%02d:%9.6f) with Time::HiRes or 00:00:00 (%02d:%02d:%02d) without. An alternate format can be specified in "new" or can be passed as an argument to the method.


Initializes the timer to the current system time.

Aliased as restart.


Stop the timer. This records the current system time in case you'd like to do more processing (that you don't want timed) before reporting the elapsed time.


  print $timer->string($format);

  print "took: $timer";  # stringification equivalent to $timer->string()

Returns a string representation of the elapsed time.

The format can be passed as an argument. If no format is provided the value of string (passed to "new") will be used.

The format can be the name of another method (which will be called), a subroutine (coderef) which will be called like an object method, or one of the following strings:

  • short - Total elapsed seconds followed by hms: '123s (00:02:03)'

  • rps - Total elapsed seconds followed by requests per second: '4.743616s (0.211/s)'

  • human - Separate units spelled out: '6 hours 4 minutes 12 seconds'

  • full - Total elapsed seconds plus human: '2 seconds (0 hours 0 minutes 2 seconds)'

This is the method called when the object is stringified (using overload).


Returns the current system time using "gettimeofday" in Time::HiRes or time.


The following functions should not be necessary in most circumstances but are provided for convenience to facilitate additional functionality.

They are not available for export (to avoid Exporter overhead). See Sub::Import if you really want to import these methods.


Indicates whether Time::HiRes is available.


  $spec            = default_format_spec();  # consults HIRES()
  $spec_whole      = default_format_spec(0); # false forces integer
  $spec_fractional = default_format_spec(1); # true  forces fraction

Returns an appropriate sprintf format spec according to the provided boolean. If true, the spec forces fractional seconds (like '00:00:00.000000'). If false, the spec forces seconds to an integer (like '00:00:00'). If not specified the value of "HIRES" will be used.


  my $string = format_hms($hours, $minutes, $seconds);
  my $string = format_hms($seconds);

Format the provided hours, minutes, and seconds into a string by guessing the best format.

If only seconds are provided the value will be passed through "separate_hms" first.


  my ($hours, $minutes, $seconds) = separate_hms($seconds);

Separate seconds into hours, minutes, and seconds. Returns a list.


These are some other timers I found on CPAN and how they differ from this module:



You can find documentation for this module with the perldoc command.

  perldoc Timer::Simple


The following websites have more information about this module, and may be of help to you. As always, in addition to those websites please use your favorite search engine to discover more resources.

Bugs / Feature Requests

Please report any bugs or feature requests by email to bug-timer-simple at, or through the web interface at You will be automatically notified of any progress on the request by the system.

Source Code

  git clone


Randy Stauner <>


  • Tomohiro Hosaka <>

  • perlancar (@pc-office) <>


This software is copyright (c) 2011 by Randy Stauner.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.