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


nix run - run a Nix application


nix run [option...] installable args...


  • Run the default app from the blender-bin flake:

    # nix run blender-bin
  • Run a non-default app from the blender-bin flake:

    # nix run blender-bin#blender_2_83

    Tip: you can find apps provided by this flake by running nix flake show blender-bin.

  • Run vim from the nixpkgs flake:

    # nix run nixpkgs#vim

    Note that vim (as of the time of writing of this page) is not an app but a package. Thus, Nix runs the eponymous file from the vim package.

  • Run vim with arguments:

    # nix run nixpkgs#vim -- --help


nix run builds and runs installable, which must evaluate to an app or a regular Nix derivation.

If installable evaluates to an app (see below), it executes the program specified by the app definition.

If installable evaluates to a derivation, it will try to execute the program <out>/bin/<name>, where out is the primary output store path of the derivation, and name is the first of the following that exists:

  • The meta.mainProgram attribute of the derivation.
  • The pname attribute of the derivation.
  • The name part of the value of the name attribute of the derivation.

For instance, if name is set to hello-1.10, nix run will run $out/bin/hello.

Flake output attributes

If no flake output attribute is given, nix run tries the following flake output attributes:

  • apps.<system>.default

  • packages.<system>.default

If an attribute name is given, nix run tries the following flake output attributes:

  • apps.<system>.<name>

  • packages.<system>.<name>

  • legacyPackages.<system>.<name>


An app is specified by a flake output attribute named apps.<system>.<name>. It looks like this:

apps.x86_64-linux.blender_2_79 = {
  type = "app";
  program = "${self.packages.x86_64-linux.blender_2_79}/bin/blender";

The only supported attributes are:

  • type (required): Must be set to app.

  • program (required): The full path of the executable to run. It must reside in the Nix store.


Common evaluation options

  • --arg name expr

    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --arg-from-file name path

    Pass the contents of file path as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --arg-from-stdin name

    Pass the contents of stdin 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.

  • --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.


See man nix.conf for overriding configuration settings with command line flags.