How to Add to Path Mac

Charlotte Daniels

Mac, Tutorials

Adding a directory to the PATH on a Mac is essential for running command-line programs and scripts smoothly. The PATH is an environment variable that consists of a list of directories.

When you type a command in the terminal, the system checks each directory listed in the PATH to find the corresponding executable file. If the file is found, the command is executed; otherwise, you’ll encounter an error.

Why Add to the PATH?

By adding directories to your PATH, you can directly run command-line tools without specifying their full path every time. This saves time and makes working with command-line programs more convenient.

Adding a Directory to your PATH

To add a directory to your PATH on a Mac, follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Open Terminal. You can find it in the Applications/Utilities folder or use Spotlight (Cmd + Space) and search for “Terminal”.
  • Step 2: Type nano ~/.bash_profile and press Enter.

    This will open your bash profile in the Nano text editor.

  • Step 3: Within Nano, locate any existing paths listed under PATH or add a new line using: export PATH="your_directory_path:$PATH". Replace “your_directory_path” with the actual path of the directory you want to add.
  • Step 4: After making changes, press Ctrl + X to exit Nano. It will prompt you to save; type “Y” and press Enter.
  • Step 5: Finally, restart Terminal or run source ~/.bash_profile to apply the changes immediately.

Verifying the Changes

To verify if the directory has been successfully added to your PATH, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Open Terminal.
  • Step 2: Type echo $PATH and press Enter. This will display the current PATH variable.
  • Step 3: Look for the directory you added in the list of directories displayed.

    If it’s present, congratulations! You have successfully added a directory to your PATH on your Mac.


If you want to add multiple directories to your PATH, separate each path with a colon (:). For example: /path/to/dir1:/path/to/dir2:$PATH.

Closing Thoughts

The ability to add directories to your PATH on a Mac is incredibly useful for developers and power users. It allows for easy access and execution of command-line tools without having to constantly remember or type their full paths.

By following the steps outlined above, you can enhance your workflow by adding directories to your PATH and make using command-line programs a breeze!

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