Code Quality Rank: L5
Monthly Downloads: 0
Programming language: JavaScript
License: MIT License
Latest version: v7.0.3

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cross-env 🔀

Run scripts that set and use environment variables across platforms

🚨 NOTICE: cross-env still works well, but is in maintenance mode. No new features will be added, only serious and common-case bugs will be fixed, and it will only be kept up-to-date with Node.js over time. Learn more

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The problem

Most Windows command prompts will choke when you set environment variables with NODE_ENV=production like that. (The exception is Bash on Windows, which uses native Bash.) Similarly, there's a difference in how windows and POSIX commands utilize environment variables. With POSIX, you use: $ENV_VAR and on windows you use %ENV_VAR%.

This solution

cross-env makes it so you can have a single command without worrying about setting or using the environment variable properly for the platform. Just set it like you would if it's running on a POSIX system, and cross-env will take care of setting it properly.

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This module is distributed via npm which is bundled with node and should be installed as one of your project's devDependencies:

npm install --save-dev cross-env

WARNING! Make sure that when you're installing packages that you spell things correctly to avoid mistakenly installing malware

NOTE : Version 7 of cross-env only supports Node.js 10 and higher, to use it on Node.js 8 or lower install version 6 npm install --save-dev cross-env@6


I use this in my npm scripts:

  "scripts": {
    "build": "cross-env NODE_ENV=production webpack --config build/webpack.config.js"

Ultimately, the command that is executed (using cross-spawn) is:

webpack --config build/webpack.config.js

The NODE_ENV environment variable will be set by cross-env

You can set multiple environment variables at a time:

  "scripts": {
    "build": "cross-env FIRST_ENV=one SECOND_ENV=two node ./my-program"

You can also split a command into several ones, or separate the environment variables declaration from the actual command execution. You can do it this way:

  "scripts": {
    "parentScript": "cross-env GREET=\"Joe\" npm run childScript",
    "childScript": "cross-env-shell \"echo Hello $GREET\""

Where childScript holds the actual command to execute and parentScript sets the environment variables to use. Then instead of run the childScript you run the parent. This is quite useful for launching the same command with different env variables or when the environment variables are too long to have everything in one line. It also means that you can use $GREET env var syntax even on Windows which would usually require it to be %GREET%.

If you precede a dollar sign with an odd number of backslashes the expression statement will not be replaced. Note that this means backslashes after the JSON string escaping took place. "FOO=\\$BAR" will not be replaced. "FOO=\\\\$BAR" will be replaced though.

Lastly, if you want to pass a JSON string (e.g., when using ts-loader), you can do as follows:

  "scripts": {
    "test": "cross-env TS_NODE_COMPILER_OPTIONS={\\\"module\\\":\\\"commonjs\\\"} node some_file.test.ts"

Pay special attention to the triple backslash (\\\) before the double quotes (") and the absence of single quotes ('). Both of these conditions have to be met in order to work both on Windows and UNIX.

cross-env vs cross-env-shell

The cross-env module exposes two bins: cross-env and cross-env-shell. The first one executes commands using cross-spawn, while the second one uses the shell option from Node's spawn.

The main use case for cross-env-shell is when you need an environment variable to be set across an entire inline shell script, rather than just one command.

For example, if you want to have the environment variable apply to several commands in series then you will need to wrap those in quotes and use cross-env-shell instead of cross-env.

  "scripts": {
    "greet": "cross-env-shell GREETING=Hi NAME=Joe \"echo $GREETING && echo $NAME\""

The rule of thumb is: if you want to pass to cross-env a command that contains special shell characters that you want interpreted, then use cross-env-shell. Otherwise stick to cross-env.

On Windows you need to use cross-env-shell, if you want to handle signal events inside of your program. A common case for that is when you want to capture a SIGINT event invoked by pressing Ctrl + C on the command-line interface.

Windows Issues

Please note that npm uses cmd by default and that doesn't support command substitution, so if you want to leverage that, then you need to update your .npmrc to set the script-shell to powershell. Learn more here.


I originally created this to solve a problem I was having with my npm scripts in angular-formly. This made contributing to the project much easier for Windows users.

Other Solutions

  • env-cmd - Reads environment variables from a file instead
  • @naholyr/cross-env - cross-env with support for setting default values


Looking to contribute? Look for the Good First Issue label.

🐛 Bugs

Please file an issue for bugs, missing documentation, or unexpected behavior.

See Bugs

💡 Feature Requests

This project is in maintenance mode and no new feature requests will be considered.

Learn more

Contributors ✨

Thanks goes to these people (emoji key):

<!-- ALL-CONTRIBUTORS-LIST:START - Do not remove or modify this section --> <!-- prettier-ignore-start --> <!-- markdownlint-disable --> Kent C. Dodds💻 📖 🚇 ⚠️ Ya Zhuang 🔌 📖 James Harris📖 compumike08🐛 📖 ⚠️ Daniel Rodríguez Rivero🐛 💻 📖 Jonas Keinholz🐛 💻 ⚠️ Hugo Wood🐛 💻 ⚠️ Thiebaud Thomas🐛 💻 ⚠️ Daniel Rey López💻 ⚠️ Amila Welihinda🚇 Paul Betts🐛 💻 Turner Hayes🐛 💻 ⚠️ Suhas Karanth💻 ⚠️ Sven💻 📖 💡 ⚠️ D. Nicolás Lopez Zelaya💻 Johan Hernandez💻 Jordan Nielson🐛 💻 ⚠️ Jason Cooke📖 bibo5088💻 Eric Berry🔍 Michaël De Boey💻 Lauri Eskola📖 devuxer📖 Daniel📖

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This project follows the all-contributors specification. Contributions of any kind welcome!

Note: this was added late into the project. If you've contributed to this project in any way, please make a pull request to add yourself to the list by following the instructions in the CONTRIBUTING.md



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*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the cross-env README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.