Adding to the path

This is a simple note on how to add a directory to your PATH. The $PATH environment variable is a list of all directories in which Linux will look for commands, scripts and programs. Linux uses the bash shell. When an account is created using Linux user manager, or linuxconf, a file called .bash_profile is created in the user home directory, similar to the one shown below:

# .bash_profile

# Get the aliases and functions
if [ -f ~/.bashrc ]; then
         . ~/.bashrc

# User specific environment and startup programs



The line we are interested is: PATH=$PATH:$HOME/bin

This line is defining the PATH for your logon in the bash shell as the general PATH variable -- $PATH -- plus your home directory -- $HOME -- subdirectory bin.

To add a directory to the PATH just edit this line including a colon : and the new directory. For example to add:   /usr/programs/bin   to the PATH you would change the line to:


You will need to logout and login again for this change to take effect, of course.

(You can see the value of $PATH or $HOME by typing echo $PATH, or echo $HOME. Please note that the root user will have a different path than common users.)

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Last Update: Thursday, June 24, 2003 | © 2002-2003 Kay Nix  ·  K-SeCuRiTy Timisoara, Romania