Environment and Registry Variables

Each operating system and shell has its own syntax for setting environment variables.The following table shows how to set the P4CLIENT environment variable on various systems:

OS or Shell

Environment Variable Example

UNIX: ksh, sh, bash

P4CLIENT=value ; export P4CLIENT

UNIX: csh

setenv P4CLIENT value


def/j P4CLIENT "value"

Mac OS X (bash)

P4CLIENT=value ; export P4CLIENT

Max OS X (Settings)

p4 set P4CLIENT=value

On OS X, you can also set the variables in the com.perforce.environment property list in your ~/Library/Preferences folder.

If you have administrative privileges, you can set the variables in the system /Library/Preferences folder with p4 set -s var=value.

These locations are reflected in the output of p4 set on Windows and OS X.


p4 set P4CLIENT=value

Windows administrators running Perforce as a service can set variables for use by a specific service with p4 set -S svcname var=value, or set variables for all users on the local machine with p4 set -s var=value.

(See the p4 set command for more details on setting Perforce variables in Windows and OS X).

Perforce's environment variables can be grouped into the following four categories:

  • Crucial: The variable must almost always be set on the client; default values are rarely sufficient. Understanding these variables is crucial for users and administrators alike.

  • Useful: Setting this variable can provide additional functionality to the user, but is not required for most Perforce operations.

  • Esoteric: The default value is normally sufficient; it rarely needs to be changed.

  • Server: The variable is set by the Perforce system administrator on the machine that hosts the Perforce service. Some of these variables are used by Perforce applications as well; in these cases, the variable is listed twice.