I'm currently in the process of developing some shell scripts but have run into a problem: whilst I am able to execute numerous commands on my Mac, when I try to run it on other people's computers I get Command not found errors indicating that they do not have the specific command line tools installed.

It is my belief that many of these tools come as a result of installing Xcode and other package managers like Homebrew. My question is: is there a list or another way of finding out if a specific command (tool) is pre-installed on a standard Mac computer (without Xcode installed) without having to manually test it on someone else's computer?

For example, this post hints that git is pre-installed which is only the case if you have installed Xcode, otherwise, git is unavailable.

P.S. For my specific case, I am wondering if hexdump is pre-installed or not (without Xcode)


1 Answer 1


Actually it looks like there is a simple way to know that.

At Terminal prompt hit the Escape (or TAB) twice

It will ask you if you want to Display all 1527 possibilities? (y or n).

Or here https://ss64.com/osx/

  • Not "escape", but "tab"
    – mbamac
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 20:21
  • 3
    Unfortunately, that also displays commands like nmap and atom, both of which were installed retrospectively. Therefore, I think the link you posted (ss64.com/osx) is more relevant as it looks to only include pre-installed tools. Thank you!
    – Rocco
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 20:22
  • @mbamac it looks like both work
    – Ruskes
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 20:44
  • worked for me but I had 3020 commands. Wonder why such a big difference.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 0:24
  • @jmh it depends what apps you have installed
    – Ruskes
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 20:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .