Environment Variables

Various pages in this documentation refer to setting Zephyr-specific environment variables. This page describes how.

Setting Variables

Option 1: Just Once

To set the environment variable MY_VARIABLE to foo for the lifetime of your current terminal window:

# Linux and macOS
export MY_VARIABLE=foo

# Windows
set MY_VARIABLE=foo

Warning

This is best for experimentation. If you close your terminal window, use another terminal window or tab, restart your computer, etc., this setting will be lost forever.

Using options 2 or 3 is recommended if you want to keep using the setting.

Option 2: In all Terminals

macOS and Linux:

Add the export MY_VARIABLE=foo line to your shell’s startup script in your home directory. For Bash, this is usually ~/.bashrc on Linux or ~/.bash_profile on macOS. Changes in these startup scripts don’t affect shell instances already started; try opening a new terminal window to get the new settings.

Windows:

You can use the setx program in cmd.exe or the third-party RapidEE program.

To use setx, type this command, then close the terminal window. Any new cmd.exe windows will have MY_VARIABLE set to foo.

setx MY_VARIABLE foo

To install RapidEE, a freeware graphical environment variable editor, using Chocolatey in an Administrator command prompt:

choco install rapidee

You can then run rapidee from your terminal to launch the program and set environment variables. Make sure to use the “User” environment variables area – otherwise, you have to run RapidEE as administrator. Also make sure to save your changes by clicking the Save button at top left before exiting.Settings you make in RapidEE will be available whenever you open a new terminal window.

Option 3: Using zephyrrc files

Choose this option if you don’t want to make the variable’s setting available to all of your terminals, but still want to save the value for loading into your environment when you are using Zephyr.

macOS and Linux:

Create a file named ~/.zephyrrc if it doesn’t exist, then add this line to it:

export MY_VARIABLE=foo

To get this value back into your current terminal environment, you must run source zephyr-env.sh from the main zephyr repository. Among other things, this script sources ~/.zephyrrc.

The value will be lost if you close the window, etc.; run source zephyr-env.sh again to get it back.

Windows:

Add the line set MY_VARIABLE=foo to the file %userprofile%\zephyrrc.cmd using a text editor such as Notepad to save the value.

To get this value back into your current terminal environment, you must run zephyr-env.cmd in a cmd.exe window after changing directory to the main zephyr repository. Among other things, this script runs %userprofile%\zephyrrc.cmd.

The value will be lost if you close the window, etc.; run zephyr-env.cmd again to get it back.

Zephyr Environment Scripts

You can use the zephyr repository scripts zephyr-env.sh (for macOS and Linux) and zephyr-env.cmd (for Windows) to load Zephyr-specific settings into your current terminal’s environment. To do so, run this command from the zephyr repository:

# macOS and Linux
source zephyr-env.sh

# Windows
zephyr-env.cmd

These scripts:

  • set ZEPHYR_BASE (see below) to the location of the zephyr repository
  • adds some Zephyr-specific locations (such as zephyr’s scripts directory) to your PATH environment variable
  • loads any settings from the zephyrrc files described above in env_vars_zephyrrc.

You can thus use them any time you need any of these settings.

Important Environment Variables

Here are some important environment variables and what they contain. This is not a comprehensive index to the environment variables which affect Zephyr’s behavior.

  • BOARD: allows set the board when building an application; see Important Build System Variables.
  • CONF_FILE: allows adding Kconfig fragments to an application build; see Important Build System Variables.
  • DTC_OVERLAY_FILE: allows adding device tree overlays to an application build; see Important Build System Variables.
  • ZEPHYR_BASE: the absolute path to the main zephyr repository. This is set whenever you run the zephyr-env.sh or zephyr-env.cmd scripts mentioned above.
  • ZEPHYR_TOOLCHAIN_VARIANT: the current toolchain used to build Zephyr applications.