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Fixing ‘conda activate’ Error in Bash Script

Ubuntu 19

In this article, we will delve into the common issue of encountering the ‘conda activate’ error in Bash scripts. We will discuss the reasons behind this error and provide detailed solutions to help you resolve it.

Understanding the Issue

When using Conda, a popular package, dependency, and environment manager for any language—Python, R, Ruby, Lua, Scala, Java, JavaScript, C/ C++, FORTRAN— you may encounter an error when trying to activate a Conda environment in a Bash script using the conda activate command. This error typically arises due to incorrect shell initialization or misconfiguration of environment variables.


Before proceeding, ensure that you have installed Conda on your system. If not, you can download and install it from the official Anaconda website.

Solutions to Fix the ‘conda activate’ Error

1. Initialize your Shell

The first step to resolving the ‘conda activate’ error is to initialize your shell. You can do this by running the command conda init <SHELL_NAME>. Replace <SHELL_NAME> with the name of your shell. For instance, if you’re using the Bash shell, the command will be conda init bash.

This command sets up the necessary environment variables for Conda. After running this command, close and restart your shell for the changes to take effect.

2. Evaluate the Conda Shell Hook

If the error persists, you can add the following lines to your script before the conda activate command:

eval "$(conda shell.bash hook)"

The eval command in Bash takes a string as its argument, evaluates it as a series of commands, and runs them in the current shell environment. The conda shell.bash hook command outputs a series of export and unset commands that modify environment variables. By using eval, we ensure that these commands are run in the current shell, setting up the necessary environment for the conda activate command to work.

3. Use the source Command

If the above steps don’t resolve the issue, you can try using the source command to activate your environment:

source activate myenv1

Here, myenv1 is the name of your Conda environment. The source command reads and executes commands from the file specified as its argument in the current shell environment.

4. Specify the Conda Installation Directory

If you’re using a specific Conda installation directory, you can use the following command to activate your environment:

source /path/to/conda/etc/profile.d/
conda activate myenv1

Replace /path/to/conda with the actual path to your Conda installation directory. This command sources the script, which sets up the environment variables necessary for Conda to function.

5. Check for Necessary Permissions

If you’re still facing issues with conda install after activating the environment, make sure you have the necessary permissions to install packages. You can try running the script with elevated privileges using sudo:

sudo bash

This command runs the script with root privileges, allowing the installation of packages.


In this article, we’ve covered several methods to fix the ‘conda activate’ error in Bash scripts. Remember to close and restart your shell after making any changes to your configuration files or running conda init. If you continue to face issues, consider seeking help from the official Conda documentation or relevant online communities.

What is Conda and why is it used?

Conda is a popular package, dependency, and environment manager used for various programming languages such as Python, R, Ruby, Lua, Scala, Java, JavaScript, C/C++, and FORTRAN. It allows users to create isolated environments with specific dependencies and packages, making it easier to manage and reproduce software projects.

How can I install Conda on my system?

You can download and install Conda from the official Anaconda website at Choose the appropriate installer for your operating system and follow the installation instructions provided.

What should I do if I encounter the ‘conda activate’ error in a Bash script?

There are several steps you can take to fix the ‘conda activate’ error in a Bash script. First, make sure to initialize your shell using the conda init command. If the error persists, evaluate the Conda shell hook by adding eval "$(conda shell.bash hook)" before the conda activate command. You can also try using the source command to activate your environment or specify the Conda installation directory. If you’re still facing issues, check for necessary permissions and consider running the script with elevated privileges using sudo.

Why do I need to close and restart my shell after running `conda init`?

Closing and restarting your shell is necessary after running conda init because it allows the changes made to the shell initialization files to take effect. By restarting the shell, the modified environment variables and configurations will be loaded correctly, ensuring that Conda functions as expected.

Where can I find further help or documentation on Conda?

If you need further assistance or documentation on Conda, you can refer to the official Conda documentation at Additionally, you can seek help from relevant online communities and forums where experienced users and developers can provide guidance and support.

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