When you run a command for a program in command line, it looks for the corresponding executable files using the directories listed in your computer or server’s PATH variable. The PATH variable is one of many Environment Variables your system uses.
Given this, when you add a new command line program to your computer, you have to add its directory to your PATH variable.
In the following instructions, I will demonstrate this process by adding the PHP executable that comes with XAMPP to my PATH, but the steps would be the same for whatever executable you’re trying to configure.
When working in command line I will use Git Bash. The commands I use will vary if you’re using a non-Unix based command line program.
To begin, use this command to see what your PATH variable is currently set to:
/c/Users/Susan/bin:/mingw64/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/mingw64/bin:/usr/bin:/c/Users/Susan/bin:/c/Program Files (x86)/Parallels/Parallels Tools/Applications:/c/WINDOWS/system32:/c/WINDOWS:/c/WINDOWS/System32/Wbem:/c/WINDOWS/System32/WindowsPowerShell/v1.0:/cmd:/c/WINDOWS/System32/OpenSSH:/c/Users/Susan/AppData/Local/Programs/Microsoft VS Code/bin:/c/Users/Susan/AppData/Local/Microsoft/WindowsApps:/usr/bin/vendor_perl:/usr/bin/core_perl
Note that each path is separated by a colon. For a more legible view, the following command will output the same results with each path shown on its own line:
tr ':' '\n' <<< $PATH
/c/Users/Susan/bin /mingw64/bin /usr/local/bin /usr/bin /bin /mingw64/bin /usr/bin /c/Users/Susan/bin /c/Program Files (x86)/Parallels/Parallels Tools/Applications /c/WINDOWS/system32 /c/WINDOWS /c/WINDOWS/System32/Wbem /c/WINDOWS/System32/WindowsPowerShell/v1.0 /cmd /c/WINDOWS/System32/OpenSSH /c/Users/Susan/AppData/Local/Programs/Microsoft VS Code/bin /c/Users/Susan/AppData/Local/Microsoft/WindowsApps /usr/bin/vendor_perl /usr/bin/core_perl
To edit PATH variables in Windows first run
sysdm.cpl in your search bar to open your computer’s Control Panel:
Then, from the Advanced tab choose Environment Variables:
Under User variables find
Path, select it, and click Edit:
At the end, including the path to whatever executable you’re adding (in this example that’s XAMPP’s PHP located at
c:\xampp\php\). Make sure your path ends with a trailing
\. Ok/Save your changes when done.
Make the changes take effect
Close and restart your command line program. This step is important - If you don’t do this, your changes won’t take effect.
To test that it worked you can use the
which command to ensure it’s resolving your new command to the correct path:
> which php /c/xampp/php/php
You can also invoke your command, for example:
> php --version PHP 8.1.1 (cli) (built: Dec 21 2021 08:45:29) (NTS) Copyright (c) The PHP Group Zend Engine v4.1.1, Copyright (c) Zend Technologies