This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.


nix search - search for packages


nix search [option...] installable regex...


  • Show all packages in the nixpkgs flake:

    # nix search nixpkgs
    * legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.AMB-plugins (0.8.1)
      A set of ambisonics ladspa plugins
    * legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.ArchiSteamFarm (
      Application with primary purpose of idling Steam cards from multiple accounts simultaneously
  • Show packages in the nixpkgs flake containing blender in its name or description:

    # nix search nixpkgs blender
    * legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.blender (2.91.0)
      3D Creation/Animation/Publishing System
  • Search for packages underneath the attribute gnome3 in Nixpkgs:

    # nix search nixpkgs#gnome3 vala
    * legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.gnome3.vala (0.48.9)
      Compiler for GObject type system
  • Show all packages in the flake in the current directory:

    # nix search
  • Search for Firefox or Chromium:

    # nix search nixpkgs 'firefox|chromium'
  • Search for packages containing git and either frontend or gui:

    # nix search nixpkgs git 'frontend|gui'
  • Search for packages containing neovim but hide ones containing either gui or python:

    # nix search nixpkgs neovim --exclude 'python|gui'


    # nix search nixpkgs neovim --exclude 'python' --exclude 'gui'


nix search searches installable (which can be evaluated, that is, a flake or Nix expression, but not a store path or store derivation path) for packages whose name or description matches all of the regular expressions regex. For each matching package, It prints the full attribute name (from the root of the installable), the version and the meta.description field, highlighting the substrings that were matched by the regular expressions. If no regular expressions are specified, all packages are shown.

Flake output attributes

If no flake output attribute is given, nix search searches for packages:

  • Directly underneath packages.<system>.

  • Underneath legacyPackages.<system>, recursing into attribute sets that contain an attribute recurseForDerivations = true.


  • --exclude / -e regex Hide packages whose attribute path, name or description contain regex.

  • --json Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --debugger Start an interactive environment if evaluation fails.

  • --eval-store store-url The URL of the Nix store to use for evaluation, i.e. to store derivations (.drv files) and inputs referenced by them.

  • --impure Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path Add path to the Nix search path. The Nix search path is initialized from the colon-separated NIX_PATH environment variable, and is used to look up the location of Nix expressions using paths enclosed in angle brackets (i.e., <nixpkgs>).

    For instance, passing

    -I /home/eelco/Dev
    -I /etc/nixos

    will cause Nix to look for paths relative to /home/eelco/Dev and /etc/nixos, in that order. This is equivalent to setting the NIX_PATH environment variable to


    It is also possible to match paths against a prefix. For example, passing

    -I nixpkgs=/home/eelco/Dev/nixpkgs-branch
    -I /etc/nixos

    will cause Nix to search for <nixpkgs/path> in /home/eelco/Dev/nixpkgs-branch/path and /etc/nixos/nixpkgs/path.

    If a path in the Nix search path starts with http:// or https://, it is interpreted as the URL of a tarball that will be downloaded and unpacked to a temporary location. The tarball must consist of a single top-level directory. For example, passing

    -I nixpkgs=https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/master.tar.gz

    tells Nix to download and use the current contents of the master branch in the nixpkgs repository.

    The URLs of the tarballs from the official nixos.org channels (see the manual page for nix-channel) can be abbreviated as channel:<channel-name>. For instance, the following two flags are equivalent:

    -I nixpkgs=channel:nixos-21.05
    -I nixpkgs=https://nixos.org/channels/nixos-21.05/nixexprs.tar.xz

    You can also fetch source trees using flake URLs and add them to the search path. For instance,

    -I nixpkgs=flake:nixpkgs

    specifies that the prefix nixpkgs shall refer to the source tree downloaded from the nixpkgs entry in the flake registry. Similarly,

    -I nixpkgs=flake:github:NixOS/nixpkgs/nixos-22.05

    makes <nixpkgs> refer to a particular branch of the NixOS/nixpkgs repository on GitHub.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --output-lock-file flake-lock-path Write the given lock file instead of flake.lock within the top-level flake.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --reference-lock-file flake-lock-path Read the given lock file instead of flake.lock within the top-level flake.

  • --update-input input-path Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Logging-related options:

  • --debug Set the logging verbosity level to 'debug'.

  • --log-format format Set the format of log output; one of raw, internal-json, bar or bar-with-logs.

  • --print-build-logs / -L Print full build logs on standard error.

  • --quiet Decrease the logging verbosity level.

  • --verbose / -v Increase the logging verbosity level.

Miscellaneous global options:

  • --help Show usage information.

  • --offline Disable substituters and consider all previously downloaded files up-to-date.

  • --option name value Set the Nix configuration setting name to value (overriding nix.conf).

  • --refresh Consider all previously downloaded files out-of-date.

  • --repair During evaluation, rewrite missing or corrupted files in the Nix store. During building, rebuild missing or corrupted store paths.

  • --version Show version information.

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --expr expr Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file. If file is the character -, then a Nix expression will be read from standard input. Implies --impure.

Options to override configuration settings: