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How to Make Command Aliases in Bash

Originally published on my website,

Hey all! This is a quick one, but I use command aliases all the time and they make my life so much easier when I'm in the terminal. Let's get started!

1. Opening the .bashrc file

The .bashrc file is short for "bash run commands". It can be located in your home directory at ~/.bashrc. It contains a few preset configurations already. For this tutorial, I will be using Nano as my primary text editor. You can install it on Ubuntu and Debian using the command listed below.

sudo apt install nano -y
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We can now cd to our home directory and run the listed below command to open our .bashrc file.

nano .bashrc
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2. Adding aliases

I recommend putting aliases at the end of your .bashrc file. To get to the end of a file in Nano, press Ctrl+V repeatedly until you reach the end. Let's make a command alias for asciinema. asciinema is a terminal recorder that I use often to capture command errors and demonstrate my Python scripts. I will call this alias asc, as the provided command, asciinema is quite lengthy. I will write the below listed code and explain it.

# Command aliases
alias asc='asciinema'
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alias signals to Bash that the next word is a command alias. asc is the name of the alias. The = means the rest of the line defines the alias. 'asciinema' defines the action that the alias carries out.

Now that we are done, save and close the file in Nano by typing Ctrl+X, y, and Enter.

3. Testing it out

Now let's see if our alias works. First, close your current bash session and open a new one. This reloads the .bashrc file with the new configuration.

onx@penguin:~$ asc rec
asciinema: recording asciicast to /tmp/tmpaliz0fko-ascii.cast
asciinema: press <ctrl-d> or type "exit" when you're done
onx@penguin:~$ echo hello world!
hello world!
onx@penguin:~$ echo awesome! it works!
awesome! it works!
onx@penguin:~$ exit
asciinema: recording finished
asciinema: press <enter> to upload to, <ctrl-c> to save locally

View the recording at:
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You can go view the recording for yourself if you like :)

4. You're done!

Congratulations! You've learned how to make command aliases in Bash! Have a great day everyone and let me know what I should write about next in the comments!

Top comments (2)

ayoisaiah profile image
Ayooluwa Isaiah

Switch to fish and use abbreviations. Much better than aliases IMO

onyxcode profile image

Thank you for your suggestion, however this article is talking about Bash specifically. If you want to write and article about fish go ahead! I've followed you, look forward to seeing it :)