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flox activate command


flox-activate - activate environments


flox [<general-options>] activate
     [-d=<path> | -r=<owner>/<name>]
     [ -- <command> [<arguments>]]


Sets environment variables and aliases, runs hooks, and adds bin directories to your $PATH.

flox activate may run in one of three modes:

  • interactive: flox activate when invoked from an interactive shell
    Launches an interactive sub-shell. The shell to be launched is determined by $FLOX_SHELL or $SHELL.
  • command: flox activate -- CMD
    Executes CMD in the same environment as if run inside an interactive shell produced by an interactive flox activate The shell CMD is run by is determined by $FLOX_SHELL or $SHELL.
  • in-place: flox activate when invoked from an non-interactive shell with it’s stdout redirected e.g. eval "$(flox activate)"
    Produces commands to be sourced by the parent shell. Flox will determine the parent shell from $FLOX_SHELL or otherwise automatically determine the parent shell and fall back to $SHELL.

flox activate currently supports bash, fish, tcsh and zsh shells for any of the detection mechanisms described above.

When invoked interactively, the shell prompt will be modified to display the active environments, as shown below:

flox [env1 env2 env3] <normal prompt>

When multiple environments are activated each of their shell hooks (profile and hook scripts) are executed in the context of the environment that they come from. This means that for each shell hook various environment variables such as PATH, MANPATH, PKG_CONFIG_PATH, PYTHONPATH, etc, are set to the appropriate values for the environment in which the shell hook was defined. See manifest.toml(5) for more details on shell hooks.


Activate Options

-- <command> [<arguments>]
Command to run in the environment. Spawns the command in a subshell that does not leak into the calling process.

-t, --trust
Trust a remote environment for this activation. Activating an environment executes a shell hook which may execute arbitrary code. This presents a security risk, so you will be prompted whether to trust the environment. Environments owned by the current user and Flox are always trusted. You may set certain environments to always be trusted using the config key trusted_environments."<owner/name>" = (trust | deny), or via the following command: flox config --set trusted_environments.\"<owner/name>\" trust.

Prints an activation script to stdout that’s suitable for sourcing in a shell rather than activation via creating a subshell. flox automatically knows when to print the activation script to stdout, so this command is just a debugging aid for users.

Environment Options

If no environment is specified for an environment command, the environment in the current directory or the active environment that was last activated is used.

-d, --dir
Path containing a .flox/ directory.

-r, --remote
A remote environment on FloxHub, specified in the form <owner>/<name>.

General Options

-h, --help
Prints help information.

The following options can be passed when running any flox subcommand but must be specified before the subcommand.

-v, --verbose
Increase logging verbosity. Invoke multiple times for increasing detail.

-q, --quiet
Silence logs except for errors.


Variables set by flox activate

Contains a space-delimited list of the active environments, e.g. owner1/foo owner2/bar local_env. This is set to an empty string if the config value for shell_prompt is hide-all or hide-default and only environments named ‘default’ are active.

activate sets this variable to a directory that can be used by an environment’s hook to store transient files. These files will persist for environments used locally, but they will not be pushed, and they will not persist when using a remote environment with -r.

activate sets this variable to the directory of the project using the flox environment. For environments stored locally, this is the directory containing the environment. When running flox activate -r, this is set to the current working directory. This variable can be used to find project files in environment hooks.

A JSON array containing one object per active environment. This is currently an implementation detail and its contents are subject to change.

Variables used by flox activate

When launching an interactive sub-shell, Flox launches the shell specified in $FLOX_SHELL if it is set. When printing a shell for sourcing in the current shell, Flox will produce a script suitable for $FLOX_SHELL if it is set.

When launching an interactive sub-shell, Flox launches the shell specified in $SHELL if it is set and $FLOX_SHELL is not set. When printing a shell for sourcing in the current shell, Flox will produce a script suitable for $SHELL if it is set and $FLOX_SHELL is not set and Flox can’t detect the parent shell.

Flox adds text to the beginning of the shell prompt to indicate which environments are active. A set of default colors are used to color this prompt, but the colors may be overridden with the $FLOX_PROMPT_COLOR_1 and $FLOX_PROMPT_COLOR_2 environment variables.

The values of these variables should be integers chosen from the 256-color palette as described in the xterm-256color chart.


Activate an environment stored in the current directory:

$ flox activate

Activate an environment some_user/myenv that’s been pushed to FloxHub:

$ flox activate -r some_user/myenv

Invoke a command inside an environment without entering its subshell:

$ flox activate -- cmd --some-arg arg1 arg2

Activate default Flox environment only within the current shell (add to the relevant “rc” file, e.g. ~/.bashrc or ~/.zprofile):

$ eval "$(flox activate)"


flox-push(1), flox-pull(1), flox-edit(1), flox-delete(1)