Python showPath Script

Dec 26, 2020

I occasionally have a need to either view the PATH environment variable from the command line, or search the PATH for something. I wrote a small Python script to make this easy to do, adapting it from an old Perl script I wrote years ago. The script, in its entirety, is shown below (you can also download it here; just save it as a Python script). Note that this script currently has a Windows focus, but could easily be adjusted to work in Linux too.

When used by itself, the script will simply pretty-print all of the paths currently in your environment's PATH. You can pass a --sort option to sort the output, or you can supply a needle to search for. Hopefully someone else will find this as useful as I do.

import argparse
import os

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
parser.add_argument('searchterm', default='', nargs='?')
parser.add_argument('--sort', action='store_true', default=False,
                    help='Print PATH in a sorted form')

args = parser.parse_args()

path = os.getenv('PATH').split(';')

if args.sort:
    path = sorted(path)

if args.searchterm:
    needle = args.searchterm.lower()
    print(f"\nSearching PATH for {needle}")

    matches = []
    for p in path:
        if needle in p.lower():

    if matches:
        print(f"Found {len(matches)} result{'' if len(matches) == 1 else 's'}")
        for m in matches:
        print(f"Unable to find {needle} in PATH")
    print("\nShowing PATH:\n")
    for p in path:
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