alias - Linux


The alias command in Linux is used to create shortcuts for other commands. It allows users to define a new word that serves as a substitution for a command or a series of commands, simplifying longer command sequences into shorter, easily memorable commands. This tool proves especially useful in enhancing productivity, simplifying complex commands, and customizing the shell environment.


The basic syntax for the alias command is as follows:

alias [name[=value] ...]
  • name: This is the name of the alias you want to create.
  • value: The command or series of commands you want the alias to execute.

If alias is used without arguments, it will list all current aliases.


The alias command is typically straightforward with no additional flags or options. Its functionality is primarily controlled through the arguments passed to it:

  • name=command: Define a new alias.
  • name: If you provide only a name without an equals sign, alias will display the command associated with that name.


  1. Creating a simple alias:

    alias ll='ls -l'

    This command creates an alias ll which will execute ls -l.

  2. Viewing current aliases:


    This will display all aliases defined in the current session.

  3. Removing an alias:

    unalias ll

    This command removes the alias ll.

  4. Complex aliasing:

    alias backup='cp -a /folder1 /backup && echo Backup completed!'

    Creates an alias backup which copies files and confirms completion.

Common Issues

  1. Alias not found after session ends:
    Aliases are session-specific and will not be available in a new terminal session unless defined in the shell configuration files (e.g., .bashrc or .zshrc).

    Solution: Add the alias command to ~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc to make it permanent.

  2. Syntax errors in defining aliases:
    Often caused by improper use of quotation marks or forgetting the equals sign.

    Solution: Ensure commands within aliases are properly quoted, especially when spaces or special characters are involved.


Aliases can be effectively combined with other commands for more sophisticated workflows:

alias showlogs='cd /var/logs; grep ERROR *.log'

This alias integrates navigation and searching to streamline log review processes. For scripting, aliases can simplify complex sequences, making scripts more readable and easier to maintain.

  • unalias: Remove alias definitions.
  • echo: Often used within aliases to provide output or confirmations.
  • command: Used to bypass an alias by referring directly to system commands without interference from potentially overlapping alias names.

Moreover, referencing the official Bash documentation can provide deeper insights into shell customization and advanced scripting techniques.