Linux: List All Environment Variables Command

How do I display all my environment variables using bash shell on RHEL / Debian / Ubuntu / CentOS / Fedora / Mint Linux operating systems?

You can use any one of the following command to display the environment variables and their values.

a) printenv command – Print all or part of environment.

b) env command – Print all exported environment or run a program in a modified environment.

c) set command – Print the name and value of each shell variable.


I recommend that you use the printenv command:



printenv | less


printenv | more

Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Command to see a list of all currently defined environment variables in a Linux bash terminal

A list of the commonly used variables in Linux

System Variable Meaning To View Variable Value Type
BASH_VERSION Holds the version of this instance of bash. echo $BASH_VERSION
HOSTNAME The name of the your computer. echo $HOSTNAME
CDPATH The search path for the cd command. echo $CDPATH
HISTFILE The name of the file in which command history is saved. echo $HISTFILE
HISTFILESIZE The maximum number of lines contained in the history file. echo $HISTFILESIZE
HISTSIZE The number of commands to remember in the command history. The default value is 500. echo $HISTSIZE
HOME The home directory of the current user. echo $HOME
IFS The Internal Field Separator that is used for word splitting after expansion and to split lines into words with
the read builtin command. The default value is <space><tab><newline>.
echo $IFS
LANG Used to determine the locale category for any category not specifically selected with a variable starting with LC_. echo $LANG
PATH The search path for commands. It is a colon-separated list of directories in which the shell looks for commands. echo $PATH
PS1 Your prompt settings. echo $PS1
TMOUT The default timeout for the read builtin command. Also in an interactive shell, the value is interpreted as
the number of seconds to wait for input after issuing the command. If not input provided it will logout user.
echo $TMOUT
TERM Your login terminal type. echo $TERM
export TERM=vt100
SHELL Set path to login shell. echo $SHELL
DISPLAY Set X display name echo $DISPLAY
export DISPLAY=:0.1
EDITOR Set name of default text editor. export EDITOR=/usr/bin/vim

set and env command

You can use the env / set command too:

env | more
set | more

Sample outputs:

vivek@nas01:~$ env
SSH_CLIENT= 60190 22

A note about env/set command

The env will only display a list of environment variables that have been exported and it will not show all bash variables. The set command allows you to change the values of shell options and set the positional parameters, or to display the names and values of shell variables. If no options or arguments are supplied, set displays the names and values of all shell variables and functions, sorted according to the current locale, in a format that may be reused as input for setting or resetting the currently-set variables. Hence, I recommend that you use printenv command to dump the list of all shell variables on screen. To save the list of all shell environment variables to a file, enter:

printenv > env.txt
cat env.txt

Use the grep command to search for particular variable:

printenv | grep foo
printenv | grep HOME
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Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of SXI LLC and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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