Where To Put Zsh Aliases

Shell Programming

I’ve been using zsh as my preferred shell for quite some time now, and one of the features that I find extremely useful is the ability to create aliases for commands. These aliases allow me to create shortcuts for longer commands or to override default behavior of existing commands. In this article, I’ll share my thoughts and insights on where to put zsh aliases and how to manage them effectively.

Understanding zsh Aliases

Zsh aliases are essentially shortcuts for longer commands or custom commands that override the default behavior of existing commands. They are defined using the alias command in the .zshrc file, which is the configuration file for zsh. When you type an alias, zsh replaces it with the actual command or commands defined for that alias.

The .zshrc File

The .zshrc file is where you can define your zsh aliases. This file is executed every time a new zsh shell is started. It’s the perfect place to define your customizations and aliases to make your zsh experience more efficient and tailored to your needs.

Where to Put zsh Aliases

Personally, I like to keep things organized, so I prefer to put my zsh aliases in a separate file rather than directly in the .zshrc file. This helps me keep the main configuration file clean and makes it easier to manage and maintain my aliases. I create a file called aliases.zsh and store all my aliases there.

Creating an aliases.zsh File

To create an aliases.zsh file, you can simply use your favorite text editor. I use the command line and create the file in my home directory. Once the file is created, I can start adding my aliases using the alias command followed by the alias name and the command it corresponds to.

Sourcing the aliases.zsh File

After creating the aliases.zsh file, I need to make sure that zsh knows about it. I achieve this by sourcing the aliases.zsh file from the .zshrc file. By adding the following line to my .zshrc, zsh will load all the aliases defined in the aliases.zsh file every time a new shell is started:

source ~/aliases.zsh


Managing zsh aliases is a great way to enhance productivity and customize your shell environment. By keeping your aliases organized in a separate file and sourcing it in the .zshrc, you can maintain a clean and efficient configuration. Whether you prefer to have short, memorable aliases for common commands or create custom commands to streamline your workflow, zsh aliases provide a powerful tool for customizing your shell experience.