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Check if a Program Exists From Your Bash Script

Published: 2019-04-12 • Last updated: 2021-05-03

Lately I’ve had the Bash bug… and I’m continually impressed at what can be accomplished with this tool. Just the other day, I needed to check for the existence of some programs before doing the rest of my scripting work.

Originally I was doing this with which, but after reading this detailed stackoverflow answer, I’m now using the more portable command -v.



if ! command -v ${PROGRAM} >/dev/null; then
  echo "This script requires ${PROGRAM} to be installed and on your PATH ..."
  exit 1


$ ./
This script requires foo to be installed and on your PATH ...

$ echo ${?}