By Josh Bellendir

This tutorial will help the novice Unix/Linux user to be able to set the Path Variable. This can be useful to speed up access to software in the linux environment. Once you have a path added to your path variable, you can then simply type the executive to run the program or filename to open the file. You won’t need to specify the full path any longer.

To view what your current PATH variable is type the following at the command prompt:

# echo $PATH

This will output the PATH stored in the $PATH variable. If you simply wish to add an additional directory, simply do something like this:

# export PATH=$PATH:/the/directory/you/want/to/add

Then type echo $PATH to view the results and to make sure everything worked out. However, you should know that this is only temporarily set for the current terminal/instance you are logged into. If you want this path to always be set then you will want to edit the.bash_profile file which should be located in your home directory. Edit the.bash_profile with your favorite editor. For example:

#vi /home/myusername/.bash_profile

Find the line that states PATH=$PATH:$HOME/bin or something similar. And then just add whatever directory you want to have included in the path. For example:


Save the file and you’re done. The next time you boot up your Linux box or create a new terminal connection, you will have your path set.

Written by Josh R Bellendir, 12/31/2010
For more articles, stories, tutorials, and reviews like these, please check out