Locating Executables with PATH

Learn how to locate executables with the PATH variable.

An overview of PATH

When we type commands like cd or ls, we’re executing a program. The PATH environment variable contains a colon-delimited list of directories the OS uses to look up executable programs.

We print out the value of the PATH variable with echo:

$ echo $PATH

The which command tells us where an executable is located on the filesystem by looking through all the directories in the PATH and displaying the first instance it finds. Let’s try it out with the ls command:

$ which ls

Use the terminal below to practice these commands.

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