HomeUNIX shellBourne shellSet environment variables in Bourne shell (sh)

Set environment variables in Bourne shell (sh)


An environment variable must be set and exported with separate commands in the Bourne shell. To set the EDITOR variable to vi, use:

EDITOR=vi
export EDITOR

These commands can be placed in ~/.profile to be executed automatically at login, placed in a shell script, or executed manually. Exporting a variable makes it available to other shells spawned from the current shell as when running another command or shell script.

To add to an existing variable, such as path, use this format:

PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin
export PATH EDITOR

Multiple variables can be exported with one export command.

Quinn McHenry
Quinn McHenry
Quinn was one of the original co-founders of Tech-Recipes. He is currently crafting iOS applications as a senior developer at Small Planet Digital in Brooklyn, New York.
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