Fix : zsh Command Not Found : nvm


In the world of programming and development, the command-line interface (CLI) is a powerful tool that allows users to interact with their computers using text-based commands. One popular CLI is zsh (Z Shell), known for its versatility and user-friendly features. However, you might encounter an error message that says “zsh: command not found: nvm” when trying to use nvm (Node Version Manager) with zsh. This can be frustrating, but fear not! In this article, we will walk you through the steps to fix this issue and get you back to smooth development with nvm in no time.

What is zsh and nvm?

Before diving into the troubleshooting process, let’s briefly understand what zsh and nvm are.

  • Zsh (Z Shell): Zsh is an advanced shell that provides powerful customization options and features for command-line users. It is an extended version of the traditional Bourne shell (sh) with enhanced capabilities, making it a popular choice among developers.
  • NVM (Node Version Manager): NVM is a handy tool that allows developers to manage multiple versions of Node.js on a single machine. It simplifies the process of switching between different Node.js versions, ensuring compatibility with various projects.

Understanding the “zsh: command not found: nvm” error

When you encounter the error message “zsh: command not found: nvm,” it typically means that zsh is unable to locate the nvm executable in its search path. This can occur due to various reasons, including incorrect installations or misconfigured environment variables.

Checking nvm installation

The first step is to verify whether nvm is installed on your system. Open your terminal and type the following command:

nvm --version

If nvm is installed, you will see its version number. If not, you’ll need to install it before proceeding.

Configuring zsh PATH variable

One common reason for the “zsh: command not found: nvm” error is the misconfiguration of the PATH variable. The PATH variable contains a list of directories that zsh searches when you enter a command. To ensure that zsh can find nvm, you need to add the appropriate directory to the PATH.

First, find the path to your nvm installation by running:

which nvm

Next, open your zsh configuration file (usually ~/.zshrc) in a text editor and add the following line:

export PATH="$PATH:/path/to/nvm"

Replace “/path/to/nvm” with the actual path you obtained from the previous command.

Installing or updating nvm

To install or update nvm, you can use the installation script provided by the official nvm repository on GitHub. Open your terminal and run the following command:

curl -o- | bash

This script will download and install the latest version of nvm.

Restarting your terminal

After making changes to your zsh configuration or installing/updating nvm, it’s essential to restart your terminal to apply the changes.

Verifying nvm installation

Once your terminal is up and running again, verify that nvm is correctly installed by checking its version:

nvm --version

Common troubleshooting tips

If you are still facing issues, here are some additional troubleshooting tips to consider:

  • Ensure you followed all the steps correctly.
  • Double-check the PATH variable to ensure it includes the correct nvm path.
  • Verify that you have the necessary permissions to access nvm and its files.
  • Check for any conflicting configurations in your zshrc or other zsh-related files.
  • Reach out to the zsh and nvm communities for further assistance.


In conclusion, encountering the “zsh: command not found: nvm” error can be a minor bump in your development journey. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you should now have a clear understanding of how to fix the issue and use nvm seamlessly with zsh. Embrace the power of zsh and nvm, and enjoy a smoother and more productive development experience.


  1. Why is nvm not working in zsh?
    • Nvm might not be working in zsh due to misconfigurations in the PATH variable or compatibility issues between nvm and zsh versions.
  2. How can I set the default Node.js version with nvm?
    • To set the default Node.js version with nvm, use the command: nvm alias default <version>.
  3. Can I use nvm with other shells?
    • Yes, nvm is compatible with various shells, including bash and fish.

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