How Is Bash Aliases Supposed To Be

Shell Programming

As a developer who spends a lot of time in the terminal, I’ve found bash aliases to be incredibly useful for streamlining my workflow. Bash aliases are essentially custom shortcuts for commands and they can help save time and reduce the chances of making typos. Let’s dive into how bash aliases are supposed to be used and how you can incorporate them into your daily development routine.

Understanding Bash Aliases

Bash aliases are created using the alias command in the terminal. These aliases can be used to create custom commands or to simplify existing ones. For example, if you find yourself frequently using a long and complex command, you can create an alias for it with a shorter and more memorable name.

For instance, if you frequently need to navigate to a deeply nested directory, you can create an alias like:

alias mydir='cd /path/to/my/deeply/nested/directory'

Then, instead of typing the full path every time, you can simply use the mydir alias to navigate there instantly.

Creating and Managing Bash Aliases

To create a bash alias, you can simply use the alias command followed by the shortcut and the command it represents. For example:

alias ll='ls -l'

This creates an alias ll for the ls -l command, allowing you to list files in long format with just two keystrokes.

To make your aliases permanent, you can add them to your .bashrc or .bash_profile file. You can edit these files using a text editor like nano or vim.

Best Practices for Bash Aliases

  • Choose aliases that are easy to remember and type.
  • Avoid overriding built-in commands or aliases.
  • Document your aliases for future reference.
  • Regularly review and update your aliases to ensure they remain relevant.

My Personal Approach

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a collection of aliases that cater to my specific development needs. From shortcuts for running tests to quickly navigating to project directories, my bash aliases have become an integral part of my development environment.

One of my favorite aliases is gcam which is a combination of git commit -am followed by a custom message. This simple alias saves me a few keystrokes every time I commit changes to a Git repository.


Integrating bash aliases into your workflow can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency in the terminal. By creating custom shortcuts for commonly used commands, you can reduce typing and minimize the chances of errors. Remember to keep your aliases organized and well-documented for optimal utility. Happy aliasing!