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Creates a file or directory element


ProductCommand type
ClearCasecleartool subcommand
ClearCase LTcleartool subcommand



mkelem [ –elt·ype element-type-name ] [ –nco | –ci [ –pti·me ] ]
[ –mkp·ath ] –master ] [ –nwa·rn ]
[ –c·omment comment | –cfi·le comment-file-pname
| –cq·uery | –cqe·ach | –nc·omment ] element-pname ...


The mkelem command creates one or more new elements. By default, a new element can be created in a directory only if that directory element is checked out. mkelem appends an appropriate line to the directory's checkout comment.

mkelem processes each element as follows:

  1. Determines an element type from the specified –eltype option or by performing file-typing.
  2. Creates an element object with that element type in the appropriate VOB database.
  3. On UNIX systems, if you are using the –ci option to convert a view-private file to an element, uses the permissions of that file including setuid and/or setgid bits; otherwise, sets the mode of the new element to 444 (for a file element) or 777 (for a directory element), as modified by your current umask(1) setting
  4. Initializes the element's version tree by creating a single branch (named main), and a single, empty version (version 0) on that branch
  5. Does one of the following:
    • By default, checks out the element to your view.

      Note: At this point, other views see an empty file when they look at the element.

    • With the –nco option, does nothing.
    • With the –ci option, creates version 1 by copying a view-private file or an uploaded view-private file.
  6. Assigns the element to the same source storage pool, cleartext storage pool, and (for new directory elements) derived object storage pool as its parent directory element.
  7. In a snapshot view, updates the newly created element.

Note: Error messages appear if your config spec lacks a /main/LATEST rule. The mkelem command succeeds in creating version /main/0. However, because your view does not have a rule to select this version, you cannot see or check out the element.



You must be a member of the VOB's group list.


An error occurs if one or more of these objects are locked: VOB, element type, pool (nondirectory elements).


(Replicated VOBs) No mastership restrictions.


Specifying the Element Type

mkelem performs file-typing to select an element type. If file-typing fails, an error occurs. See the cc.magic reference page for details on file-typing.

–elt·ype element-type-name
Specifies the type of element to be created. The element type must be a predefined type, or a user-defined type created with the mkeltype command. The element type must exist in each VOB in which you are creating a new element or (if element-type-selector is a global type) in the administrative VOB hierarchy associated with each VOB. Specifying –eltype directory is equivalent to using the mkdir command.

Checkout of the New Element

mkelem checks out the new element. If a view-private file already exists at that pathname, it becomes the checked-out version of the element. Otherwise, an empty view-private file is created and becomes the checked-out version.

Suppresses checkout; mkelem creates the new element, along with the main branch and version \main\0, but does not check it out. If element-pname exists, it is moved aside to a .keep file, as explained earlier.

–ci [ –pti·me ]
Creates the new element and version /main/0, performs a checkout, and checks in a new version containing the data in view-private file or DO element-pname, which must exist. You cannot use this option when creating a directory element.

With –ptime, mkelem preserves the modification time of the file being checked in. If you omit this option, the modification time of the new version is set to the checkin time.

On some UNIX platforms, it is important that the modification time be preserved for archive files (libraries) created by ar(1) (and perhaps updated with ranlib(1)). The link editor, ld(1), complains if the modification time does not match a time recorded in the archive itself. Be sure to use this option, or (more reliably) store archive files as elements of a user-defined type, created with the mkeltype –ptime command. This causes –ptime to be invoked when the element is checked in.

Parent Directories of the New Element

The parent directories of the view-private file or directory that is being created must be elements that are checked out.

For an element that is being created from a view-private file or directory, this option creates elements from its view-private parent directories. By default, the element's parent directories—including those that are already elements—are checked out, as well as the element itself.

Mastership of the Main Branch

Assigns mastership of the element's main branch to the VOB replica that masters the main branch type.

Assigns mastership of the main branch of the element to the VOB replica in which you execute the mkelem command. If your config spec includes –mkbranch lines or mkbranch rules that apply to the element, and you do not use the –nco option, mkelem creates these branches and assigns their mastership to the current VOB replica. mkelem also prints a note that these branches are explicitly mastered by the current replica; the output also displays the master replica of each associated branch type.

Display of Warning Messages

Warning messages are displayed.

Suppresses warning messages.

Event Records and Comments

Creates one or more event records, with commenting controlled by your .clearcase_profile file (default: –cqe). See the comments reference page. Comments can be edited with chevent.

–c·omment comment | –cfi·le comment-file-pname |–cq·uery | –cqe·ach | –nc·omment
Overrides the default with the option you specify. See the comments reference page.

Specifying the Elements


element-pname ...
The pathnames of one or more elements to be created. If you also specify the –ci option, each element-pname must name an existing view-private object. You cannot create a directory element with the same name as an existing view-private file or directory unless you specify –mkpath.


The UNIX examples in this section are written for use in csh. If you use another shell, you may need to use different quoting and escaping conventions.

The Windows examples that include wildcards or quoting are written for use in cleartool interactive mode. If you use cleartool single-command mode, you may need to change the wildcards and quoting to make your command interpreter process the command appropriately.

In cleartool single-command mode, cmd-context represents the UNIX shell or Windows command interpreter prompt, followed by the cleartool command. In cleartool interactive mode, cmd-context represents the interactive cleartool prompt.

  • Create a file element named rotate.c of type compressed_text_file, and check out the initial version (version 0).

    cmd-context  mkelem –nc –eltype compressed_text_file rotate.c 
    Created element "rotate.c" (type "compressed_text_file").
    Checked out "rotate.c" from version "/main/0". 

  • Create three file elements, cm_add.c, cm_fill.c, and msg.c, allowing the file-typing mechanism to determine the element types. Do not check out the initial versions.

    cmd-context  mkelem –nc –nco cm_add.c cm_fill.c msg.c 
    Created element "cm_add.c" (type "text_file").
    Created element "cm_fill.c" (type "text_file").
    Created element "msg.c" (type "text_file"). 

  • Convert a view-private file named test_cmd.c to an element, and check in the initial version.

    cmd-context  mkelem –nc –ci test_cmd.c 
    Created element "test_cmd.c" (type "text_file").
    Checked in "test_cmd.c" version "\main\1". 

  • Create two directory elements and check out the initial version of each.

    cmd-context  mkelem –nc –eltype directory libs include 
    Created element "libs" (type "directory").
    Checked out "libs" from version "/main/0".
    Created element "include" (type "directory").
    Checked out "include" from version "/main/0". 

  • Create an element type named lib for library files, with the predefined binary_delta_file as its supertype. Then, change to the libs directory, check it out, and create two elements of type lib without checking them out.

    cmd-context  mkeltype –nc –supertype binary_delta_file lib 
    Created element type "lib". 
    cmd-context  cd libs 
    cmd-context  co –nc . 
    Checked out "." from version "\main\1". 
    cmd-context  mkelem –nc –nco –eltype lib libntx.lib libpvt.lib 
    Created element "libntx.lib" (type "lib").
    Created element "libpvt.lib" (type "lib"). 



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