Why do we create aliases?

So I recently decided to revisit the aliases I had a set up in the past on my Ubuntu machine. It was simply something I threw together a while back and I didn’t really care how long they lasted or if the commands were a bit wonky. Now that I finally got around to improving them, it’s time to share what I did!

Aliases are great for when you have to repeatedly use a set of commands. Instead of typing out long commands over and over, it’s much easier to create an alias that is a few characters long and easier to type. I highly recommend it since it has saved me a lot of time and effort in trying to type and remember a lot of commands. Convinced? Cool, let’s create some.

How do you create an alias?

To create an alias we will modify two files: .bashrc and .bash_alises. We will add a short command to .bashrc that will load in our .bash_aliases file and our .bash_alises file will contain all of our aliases. While you could directly add the aliases directly to .bashrc, it’s more organized to just keep them all in a separate file.

Create both files in your root directory by running the following:

cd ~
# touch is used to create new files
touch .bashrc
touch .bash_aliases

If you’re unsure whether these files exist, run ls -a to view all files including hidden ones.

In your .bashrc file, add the following text:

if [ -f ~/.bash_aliases ]; then
    . ~/.bash_aliases

Lastly, add your aliases into .bash_aliases. Aliases have the following syntax:

# alias your_alias='actual_command' e.g.
alias s='sudo'

To remove aliases, modify .bash_aliases and start up a new terminal to reload the changes.

10 Useful Aliases for Development

Now that you know how to create aliases, here are some that I’ve been using and enjoy.

General Commands

alias h='cat ~/.bash_aliases'
alias dev='cd ~/Documents/Github'
alias c='clear'
alias s='sudo'
alias update='sudo apt-get update'
alias upgrade='sudo apt-get upgrade'
alias get='sudo apt-get install'


alias gs='git status'
alias ga='git add'
alias gcm='git commit -m'
alias gl='git log'
alias gb='git branch'
alias gbd='git branch -d'
alias gco='git checkout'
alias gcob='git checkout -b'
alias gp='git push'
alias gpf='git push -f'
alias gd='git diff'
alias gdm='git diff master'
alias grim='git rebase -i master'


alias dps='docker ps'
alias di='docker images'
alias dsp='docker system prune'
alias dcb='docker-compose build'
alias dcu='docker-compose up'


alias cle='conda list env'
alias ci='conda install'
alias ca='conda activate'
alias ccn='conda create -n'
alias crn='conda remove -n'
alias cua='conda update -n base conda'

Pip & Pipenv

alias pi='pip install'
alias pei='pipenv install'

At the end of the day, aliases are best when you can use them easily and quickly. It is much better to have a few aliases that you use frequently than fumbling around with dozens you don’t understand. Customize your aliases to your liking and enjoy!