Ubuntu – How to add a directory to the PATH


How do I add a directory to the $PATH in Ubuntu and make the changes permanent?

Best Answer

  • Using ~/.profile to set $PATH

    A path set in .bash_profile will only be set in a bash login shell (bash -l). If you put your path in .profile it will be available to your complete desktop session. That means even metacity will use it.

    For example ~/.profile:

    if [ -d "$HOME/bin" ] ; then

    Btw, you can check the PATH variable of a process by looking at its environment in /proc/[pid]/environ (replace [pid] with the number from ps axf). E.g. use grep -z "^PATH" /proc/[pid]/environ


    bash as a login shell doesn't parse .profile if either .bash_profile or .bash_login exists. From man bash :

    it looks for ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bash_login, and ~/.profile, in that order, and reads and executes commands from the first one that exists and is readable.

    See the answers below for information about .pam_environment, or .bashrc for interactive non-login shells, or set the value globally for all users by putting a script into /etc/profile.d/ or use /etc/X11/Xsession.d/ to affect the display managers session.