03. Aliasing alias, unalias

Now for one of the most useful commands! With aliasing, we can store a series of commands into a single variable. This is especially useful for repetitive tasks.

Executing a series of commands with alias

Let's say we're feeling lazy and want a way to navigate to another directory, as well as open a file within that directory.

Rather than using cd to move to the folder, then opening with vim, we can shorten these two commands into one through aliasing.

Before we choose a variable name to alias, we must make sure that the command is not already taken. Let's first check if shortcut has any function.

$ type shortcut
-bash: type: shortcut: not found

Great! Now let's now attach our commands to this variable.

We'll want to use absolute pathnames so that we can navigate to this directory no matter where we are on the file system.

We first type out the first command, then use a semicolon (;) before starting the second command. Our result will look something like this:

$ alias shortcut='cd /Users/JohnDoe/CodeSnippetsAcademy/CommandLine/Basic-Commands; vim testFile.txt'

Great! Now all we have to do is type shortcut to execute those two commands. Note that we could shorten 'shortcut' to two letters if we wanted.

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This shortcut will exist in your current session, but will disappear after you close your terminal.

Making an alias command persist

To make an alias last every time you boot up your terminal, place it in your ~/.bashrc. Your .bashrc within your home directory (~) runs every time you start a session, if it's configured properly in your .bash_profile.

To open your .bashrc with vim, use:

$ vim ~/.bashrc

Now every time you start a new session, the shell runs .bashrc, so it'll be available every time.


To unalias an alias, use the unalias command.

$ unalias shortcut

Checking your set aliases

To check the aliases you have set, simply use the alias command.

$ alias
# List of all set aliases

Aliasing is a very powerful and can save you loads of time. Make sure to use it extensively in your workflow!

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