How to Set environment variables permanently in Linux Mint

In this short tutorial, I’ll show you how to set environment variables permanently in Linux Mint.

Environment variables help programs to find important information and work properly. For example Java programs use JAVA_HOME.

Step 1: Set environment variables for current session

For tests you can create session variables. The session environment variable is created by writing in terminal:

export RSTUDIO_PANDOC=/usr/lib/rstudio/bin/pandoc

Variable RSTUDIO_PANDOC is used for RMarkdown.

To use RMarkdown generation outside Rstudio you need to have it set. For example PyCharm you can open the console and run the command above.

If the RMarkdown works properly you can move to the next step and set it permanently.

Step 2: Set environment variables permanently

To set permanent environment variables in Linux Mint follow next steps:

Set ~/.profile variables

  • Open a terminal - CTRL+Alt+T.
  • Edit file ~/.profile by
nano ~/.profile
  • Add the variable to the bottom of the file:
    • export RSTUDIO_PANDOC=/usr/lib/rstudio/bin/pandoc
  • Save and close nano
    • CTRL+x and then y
  • Apply changes by:
source ~/.profile

Set ~/.bashsrc variables

  • Open a terminal - CTRL+Alt+T.
  • Edit file ~/.bashsrc by
nano ~/.bashsrc
  • Add the variable to the bottom of the file:
    • export RSTUDIO_PANDOC=/usr/lib/rstudio/bin/pandoc
  • Save and close nano.
  • Apply changes by:
source ~/.bashsrc

~/.bashsrc vs ~/.profile

It depends on your case which one you should use. You can find more information on the link below:

.profile is for things that are not specifically related to Bash

.bashrc is for the configuring the interactive Bash usage

What are the functional differences between .profile .bash_profile and .bashrc

Note you can find more Linux Mint commands and their Windows equivalents here:

Step 3: List all environment variables in terminal

To list all environment variables in Linux Mint you can use the next command:

printenv

The outpus is:

NVM_DIR=/home/user/.nvm
RSTUDIO_PANDOC=/usr/lib/rstudio/bin/pandoc
LANG=en_US.UTF-8
GDM_LANG=en_US
DISPLAY=:0
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