Sometimes there is a need to download some command-line application (like ExifTool) and run it from the Terminal, but without putting it into a main system directory for the bin files - /usr/local/bin/.

Since I’m not going to leave a bin file there for a long time, but instead I’m going to use it a couple of times and then delete it, then I would like to have a personal directory for temporary bin files instead of littering the main directory. This directory is also useful for putting your own script files there.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a personal bin directory at your home directory and run a command-line applications or your own scripts from this directory without specifying their full path.

The following instruction is intended for macOS users.
If you use Linux, you may need to change some lines.
It will not work if you use Windows.

Launch the Terminal app from the Utilities folder of your Applications folder, or use Spotlight to find it.

In the Terminal window, type the following to browse to your home directory:

cd ~/

Check out if the .bash_profile file exist in our user’s home directory.

ls -la
drwx------    2 arthur    staff     64 Feb 28 15:17 .Trash
-rw-------    1 arthur    staff  11793 Feb 12 20:24 .bash_history
drwxr-xr-x    3 arthur    staff     96 Jan 18 10:01 .bash_imb
-rw-------@   1 arthur    staff    517 Feb 28 10:04 .bash_profile
drwx------  643 arthur    staff  20576 Feb 28 10:03 .bash_sessions
drwxr-xr-x    3 arthur    staff     96 Oct  7 18:30 .bundle
drwx------    5 arthur    staff    160 Jul 10  2017 .cache
drwx------    6 arthur    staff    192 Jul 10  2017 .config

If the .bash_profile file doesn’t exist, we will create it with the following command:

touch .bash_profile

Note! The name begins with a dot (.).

Open up our .bash_profile file in the TextEdit application:

open -a TextEdit .bash_profile

Add the following line to the .bash_profile file:


PATH is marked for export by default, so we don’t need to use export like so: export PATH=~/bin:$PATH.

~/ is a shorthand for the user’s home directory, so we don’t need to set full path like so: export PATH=/Users/arthur/bin:$PATH.

To apply the changes immediately to our bash profile without having to log out, we can run the following command:

source .bash_profile

Done. Now we can run a command-line applications or our own scripts from our personal bin directory that located in our user’s directory.


Let’s now try to test our new bin directory. For example, I will use the php-cs-fixer utility.

Download the latest version of the php-cs-fixer and rename file to php-cs-fixer:

For this we can use wget or curl:

wget -O php-cs-fixer
curl -L -o php-cs-fixer

Give the right to execution:

sudo chmod a+x php-cs-fixer

This command will prompt us to enter our computer password.

Move file to our personal bin directory:

mv php-cs-fixer ~/bin/

Now we can confirm that we have the php-cs-fixer tool available for use by using the which:

which php-cs-fixer

That’s it, we’re done. So simple isn’t it?

If this article has helped you then please leave a comment :smiley:

Thanks for reading!