Installing exa on macOS

Because exa is a command-line application that does not link to CoreFoundation or any of Apple’s UI libraries, exa is technically a Darwin program rather than a macOS application. This means that exa should work on any supported version of macOS. (It is tested regularly on 10.15 Catalina.)


The recommended way to install exa on macOS is to use Homebrew.

brew install exa

This will download and install exa, as well as the man page and shell completion files.

Manual installation

Without Homebrew, you will need to download all the files and put them in the right places yourself.

  • The exa binary

    You will need to download exa’s macOS binary and place it somewhere executable.

    /usr/local/bin is the recommended place to put it, but any of the directories listed in /etc/paths will work.

  • The man page

    You will need to download exa’s man page and put it in the directory for application man pages, /usr/share/man/man1.

  • Shell completion files

    macOS ships with the bash and zsh shells, and exa has completions for both.

    For bash, you will need to install bash-completion first. Then, download exa’s bash completions and put them in the bash-completion directory. This varies between OSes, but is likely to be /etc/bash_completion.d, so try that.

    For zsh, download the zsh completions, and put them in /usr/local/share/zsh/site-functions.