How to Create Bash Aliases

Bash aliases are a powerful tool for saving time and effort in your terminal. They allow you to define shortcuts for frequently used commands, streamlining your workflow and boosting your productivity. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to create Bash aliases:

Understanding the Syntax:

The basic syntax for creating an alias is:

alias alias_name="command_to_execute"
  1. alias_name:This is the chosen name for your shortcut, preferably short and memorable.
  2. command_to_execute:This is the actual command that will be run when you type the alias. It can be a single command, multiple commands chained with operators (like && or |), or even a function definition.

Making Aliases Permanent

Creating an alias in your terminal session is temporary. To make it persistent across sessions, you need to add it to your Bash configuration file. Depending on your shell, this could be:

  1. .bashrc:This is the most common file for interactive shell sessions.
  2. .bash_profile:This file is also loaded for interactive sessions, but earlier than .bashrc.
  3. .zshrc:If you use Zsh, this is your main configuration file.

Here's a detailed explanation with examples on how to create Bash aliases:

Open your Bash configuration file

The Bash configuration file is typically ~/.bashrc for most users. You can use a text editor of your choice to open it. For example, you can use nano:

nano ~/.bashrc

Define the alias

In your ~/.bashrc file, you can create an alias using the alias keyword. The syntax is as follows:

alias alias_name='command'

Replace alias_name with the name you want to assign to the alias, and command with the actual command or command sequence you want to associate with the alias.

Save and exit

After defining your alias, save the changes and exit the text editor.

In nano, you can press Ctrl + X to exit, then press Y to confirm the changes, and finally press Enter to save.

Reload the Bash configuration

To apply the changes without restarting your terminal, you can either close and reopen your terminal or run the following command:

source ~/.bashrc

Basic Alias

alias ll='ls -alF'

This alias (ll) will execute the ls -alF command, which lists detailed information about files and directories in the current directory.

Git Aliases

alias gs='git status' alias ga='git add' alias gc='git commit' alias gp='git push'

These aliases make Git commands shorter and more convenient. For example, instead of typing git status, you can now simply type gs.

Directory Navigation

alias ..='cd ..' alias ...='cd ../..' alias ....='cd ../../..'

These aliases make it easier to navigate up the directory tree. For instance, .. will take you one directory up, ... two directories up, and so on.

Custom Commands

alias update='sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade'

This alias (update) combines two commands, updating the package list and upgrading installed packages, into a single command.

Examples of Useful Aliases:

Here are some common and helpful alias examples:

  1. List directory details:alias ll="ls -l"
  2. Clear terminal:alias cls="clear"
  3. Update and upgrade:alias update="sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade"
  4. Go to parent directory:alias ..="cd .."
  5. Create symbolic link:alias ln="ln -s"


To create Bash aliases, open your Bash configuration file (usually ~/.bashrc), use the alias keyword to define shortcuts for commands or sequences, save the changes, and then reload the configuration with source ~/.bashrc. For example, alias ll='ls -alF' creates an alias 'll' to list detailed information about files in the current directory when 'll' is entered in the terminal.