How to set JAVA_HOME in Mac OS X High Sierra with Fish Shell

This configuration is useful when you decided to change your default shell in OS X, for example in our case we have Fish shell and it will not have the JAVA_HOME set out-of-the-box.

Are you looking for the instructions about how to set the JAVA_HOME for Bash? Visit How to set JAVA_HOME in Mac OS X High Sierra

How can we test if we have configured this environment variable? Easy, just type:


If the output is empty, then we don’t have the variable in place.

Step 1. Find and open your configuration file

If you are using Fish shell, chances are you are also using Oh My Fish which provides infrastructure to allow you to install packages to extend and modify the look and feel of your shell. Let’s open the configuration file then:

nano ~/.config/fish/conf.d/

The “~/” is a shortcut for accessing the home directory of your user.

Step 2. Locate your Java directory where the Java Development Kit was installed

If you don’t know where the Java Development Kit (JDK) was installed, just run:

sudo find / -name javac

The output may be similar to this:

find: /private/var/db/ConfigurationProfiles/Store: Operation not permitted
find: /private/var/folders/y5/abbasdf/0/SafariFamily: Operation not permitted

Notice the second line, that is our JDK installation directory, so the directory we need to use is this one: /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_171.jdk/Contents/Home/

The path may vary depending on the exact version of Java you have installed

Step 3. Add the JAVA_HOME to the Oh My Fish configuration file

Let’s open the file:

nano ~/.config/fish/conf.d/

Add the JAVA_HOME variable at the end of ~/.config/fish/conf.d/

export JAVA_HOME="/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_171.jdk/Contents/Home/"

Save the file ~/.config/fish/conf.d/ (in nano just press Control + O followed by Control + X to close the file). Finally, let’s review or configuration by typing:


This command, should now print the correct JAVA_HOME:


Sweet, isn’t it?

See you next time.

Alex Arriaga


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