Installing Nu

The best way currently to get Nu up and running is to install from, download pre-built binaries from our release page, build from source, or pulling a pre-built container with Docker.

Pre-built binaries

You can download Nu pre-built from the release page. Alternatively, if you use Homebrew for macOS, you can install the binary by running brew install nushell.


please note: Nu works on Windows 10 and does not currently have Windows 7/8.1 support.

Download the current released .zip-file from the release page and extract it for example to:

C:\Program Files

And then add the folder of nu to your PATH. Once we have done that, we can run Nu using the nu command:

> nu

If you are using the new Windows Terminal you can set nu as your default shell by adding:

            "guid": "{2b372ca1-1ee2-403d-a839-6d63077ad871}",
            "hidden": false,
            "name": "Nu Shell",
            "commandline": "nu.exe"

to "profiles" in your Terminal Settings (JSON-file). The last thing to do is to change the "defaultProfile" to:

"defaultProfile": "{2b372ca1-1ee2-403d-a839-6d63077ad871}",

Now nu should load on startup of the Windows Terminal.

Pre-built docker containers

If you want to pull a pre-built container, you can browse tags for the nushell organization on Pulling a container would come down to:

$ docker pull
$ docker pull

Both “nu-base” and “nu” provide the nu binary, however nu-base also includes the source code at /code in the container and all dependencies.

Optionally, you can also build the containers locally using the dockerfiles provided: To build the base image:

$ docker build -f docker/ -t nushell/nu-base .

And then to build the smaller container (using a Multistage build):

$ docker build -f docker/Dockerfile -t nushell/nu .

Either way, you can run either container as follows:

$ docker run -it nushell/nu-base
$ docker run -it nushell/nu
/> exit

The second container is a bit smaller, if size is important to you.

Getting Ready

Before we can install Nu, we need to make sure our system has the necessary requirements. Currently, this means making sure we have both the Rust toolchain and local dependencies installed.

Installing a compiler suite

For Rust to work properly, you’ll need to have a compatible compiler suite installed on your system. These are the recommended compiler suites:

For Windows, when you install Visual Studio Community Edition, make sure to install the “C++ build tools” as what we need is link.exe which is provided as part of that optional install. With that, we’re ready to move to the next step.

Installing Rust

If we don’t already have Rust on our system, the best way to install it is via rustup. Rustup is a way of managing Rust installations, including managing using different Rust versions.

Nu currently requires the latest stable (1.46 or later) version of Rust. The best way is to let rustup find the correct version for you. When you first open rustup it will ask what version of Rust you wish to install:

Current installation options:

default host triple: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu
default toolchain: stable
profile: default
modify PATH variable: yes

1) Proceed with installation (default)
2) Customize installation
3) Cancel installation

Once we are ready, we press 1 and then enter.

If you’d rather not install Rust via rustup, you can also install it via other methods (e.g. from a package in a Linux distro). Just be sure to install a version of Rust that is 1.46 or later.



You will need to install the “pkg-config” and “libssl-dev” package:

apt install pkg-config libssl-dev

Linux users who wish to use the rawkey or clipboard optional features will need to install the “libx11-dev” and “libxcb-composite0-dev” packages:

apt install libxcb-composite0-dev libx11-dev

RHEL based distros

You will need to install “libxcb”, “openssl-devel” and “libX11-devel”:

yum install libxcb openssl-devel libX11-devel


Using Homebrew, you will need to install the “openssl” and “cmake” using:

brew install openssl cmake

Installing from

Once we have the dependencies Nu needs, we can install it using the cargo command that comes with the Rust compiler.

> cargo install nu

That’s it! The cargo tool will do the work of downloading Nu and its source dependencies, building it, and installing it into the cargo bin path so that we can run it.

If you want to install with more features, you can use:

> cargo install nu --features=extra

For all the available features, the easiest way is to check out Nu and build it yourself using the same Rust tools:

> git clone
> cd nushell
nushell> cargo install --path . --force --features=extra

For this to work, make sure you have all the dependencies (shown above) on your system.

Once installed, we can run Nu using the nu command:

$ nu

Building from source

We can also build our own Nu from source directly from github. This gives us immediate access to the latest Nu features and bug fixes.

> git clone

Git will clone the main nushell repo for us. From there, we can build and run Nu if we are using rustup with:

> cd nushell
nushell> cargo build --workspace --features=extra && cargo run --features=extra

You can also build and run Nu in release mode:

nushell> cargo build --release --workspace --features=extra && cargo run --release --features=extra

People familiar with Rust may wonder why we do both a “build” and a “run” step if “run” does a build by default. This is to get around a shortcoming of the new default-run option in Cargo, and ensure that all plugins are built, though this may not be required in the future.

Setting as your login shell

!!! Nu is still in development, and may not be stable for everyday use. !!!

To set the login shell you can use the chsh command. Some Linux distributions have a list of valid shells located in /etc/shells and will disallow changing the shell until Nu is in the whitelist. You may see an error similar to the one below if you haven’t updated the shells file:

chsh: /home/username/.cargo/bin/nu is an invalid shell

You can add Nu to the list of allowed shells by appending your Nu binary to the shells file. The path to add can be found with the command which nu, usually it is $HOME/.cargo/bin/nu.