I've been using the Atom editor on my iMac running High Sierra. I usually run it from the terminal by typing atom. I moved many of my apps to an external drive to free up disk space. I originally moved Atom but have since moved it back onto my startup volume.

Sometime during all this I have messed up something and now Atom no longer runs from the command line. I started Atom by double-clicking on the icon. I selected "Install shell command" from the Atom menu.

Previously I did that so I could run atom from the command line. Well, it didn't work this time. How can I tell what that menu option actually does? When I select "Install shell command", what does Atom actually do? And how do I find out what a command does?

If I knew what the Atom command does, I could maybe fix this. Most questions I've read that pertain to this offer alternative ways to run Atom from the command line. I know how to do that, I'm trying to get things back to the way it was before my messing around caused all of this.

1 Answer 1


Looks to me as though it's running


but you should be able to edit your ~/.bash_config and add the line

alias atom="/Applications/Atom.app/Contents/MacOS/Atom" then re-open terminal and you'll be able to launch atom by typing atom [filename], assuming your copy of Atom is installed in the /Applications folder

  • Yes, I know that. But that's a work around. I looking for the original way it was set up. Thank though.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 13:58
  • As I said, it looks like the original way it's setup is by running /Applications/Atom.app/Contents/Resources/app/atom.sh
    – Scottmeup
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 14:56
  • I tried that but nothing happened. When I looked at atom.sh it was empty which probably explains my problem. I may just have to reload Atom. Unless someone solves this I'll accept your answer since it provided me the name and path to the .sh file. thanks again.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 16:08
  • This is the up to date version as of time of writing github.com/atom/atom/blob/1.28-releases/atom.sh
    – Scottmeup
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 16:31
  • Wow. Big difference from an empty file! lol.. I might paste this into my version of atom.sh and see what happens. Thanks again.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 16:36

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