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.

To show all packages, use the regular expression ^. In contrast to .*, it avoids highlighting the entire name and description of every package.

Note that in this context, ^ is the regex character to match the beginning of a string, not the delimiter for selecting a derivation output.

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.

  • --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.