RCEnvironment is a Mac OS X 10.1 or higher preference pane that allows a user to edit their ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist file. This file is simply a property list of keys and values that the login system will read and load into the process environment of all applications that are launched when the user logs in. These variables are the same as environment variables that can be created in a command line shell (eg: sh or csh), but they also can be seen by GUI applications. In this, these environment variables are somewhat similar to Windows' Environment User Variables.

While the PropertyListEditor that Apple provides with the developer tools can be used to edit this file, that tool allows more flexibility than should be specified in the environment file, plus you have to install the developer tools to get that tool, while this is a simple editor that ensures the file is setup correctly and does not require the developer tools.

RCEnvironment is for use with MacOS X 10.1 or higher. It comes with source code if you want to see how it works.


RCEnvironment is freeware. Please see our About page for more information.


We are always interested in bug reports, suggestions, comments, or any other feedback on RCEnvironment. Send feedback to here.


1.4, September 2009

  • Built with a 64-bit Intel binary to work with Snow Leopard's System Preferences.
  • Added German translation thanks to Tim de Buhr.

1.3, March 2006

  • Built as universal binary for usage on Intel Macs.
  • Fixed memory leak.

1.2.2, January 2005

  • Fixed issue with using functionality that was only available in Panther.

1.2.1, December 2004

  • Fixed issue with version and about text not showing up.
  • Fixed two issues where inspecting a value might not end up editing that value.

1.2, November 2004

  • Fixed a problem where changing a variable name would not actually change the name. Thanks to Oliver Busch for finding this bug.
  • Added ability to edit the variable in a scrolling text view so that long strings can be edited easier.
  • Reworked application so that it can be localized easily. Thanks to Marcello Teodori for providing Italian and Shoekai Yeh for Chinese.

1.1, June 2002

  • Fixed editing so that the program always finishes editing a field when saving the file, or adding/removing keys. Also insures that editing is aborted when the user reverts the file.
  • Added key sorting to the environment file when the user has finished editing a field and did not start editing another field.
  • Added a backup file, environment~.plist, and a button to load that file.
  • Added version number to info panel and to bundle for Finder.
  • Fixed the name that displays in the System Preferences menu list, which also changes where the bundle will show up in the icon window.

1.0, May 2002

  • Initial release.


These are features that have been requested for inclusion in future updates. Some of these are likely to be implemented, others likely never will be.

  • Support for saving a list of environment variables under a name and then being able to switch to saved ones.