Architect Ryan

Add to the PATH on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and up

📅 October 02, 20121 min read

In the process of setting up a new Mac, I installed node.js.  After the node.js installer finished, it recommended to add /usr/local/share/npm/bin to my path.  It turns out there is a very neat way to do this in OS X, the /etc/paths file!  The file contains a list (one per line) of paths that are added to the $PATH variable in the shell. Here are some quick directions to add to the path:

  • Open up Terminal.
  • Run the following command:

    sudo nano /etc/paths
  • Enter your password, when prompted.
  • Go to the bottom of the file, and enter the path you wish to add.
  • Hit control-x to quit.
  • Enter “Y” to save the modified buffer.
  • That’s it!  To test it, in new terminal window, type:

    echo $PATH

You should see something similar to this (including the path you’ve added!):

MacMini:~ ryan$ echo $PATH
/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/share/npm/bin

Here is a screenshot of what my file looks like:
Screenshot of nano with /etc/paths open

Related: Add to the PATH on Windows 10


Ryan Hoffman

Written by Ryan Hoffman, an experienced team leader, certified Scrum Master and software architect.
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