alias – Define or Display an Alias

The alias command is used to define or display aliases in Linux. An alias is a shortcut or substitute for a command or set of commands. It allows you to create a new name for a command, or group of commands, making it easier to remember and use.


The syntax for defining an alias is as follows:

alias new_command='command sequence'

Here, new_command is the alias you want to create, and command sequence is the actual command or set of commands that will be executed when you run the alias.

To display a list of all currently defined aliases, simply type alias without any arguments.

Aliases can be defined in various ways, including:

  • Defining an alias in the shell configuration file (e.g. ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile) to make it permanent.
  • Defining an alias on the command line for a temporary session.
  • Defining an alias for a specific user or group.


  1. Defining a simple alias:
alias ll='ls -l'

This creates an alias for the ls -l command, allowing you to type ll instead.

  1. Defining an alias with arguments:
alias grep='grep --color=auto'

This creates an alias for the grep command, enabling color highlighting for search results.

  1. Defining an alias for a sequence of commands:
alias update='sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade'

This creates an alias for updating the system, combining two commands into one.


The alias command has the following options:

Option Description
-p Prints a list of all currently defined aliases in a format that can be reused as input.
-r Removes the specified alias.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If you are having trouble with an alias, make sure that it is properly defined and that there are no syntax errors.
  • Aliases defined in the shell configuration file will only take effect after the file is sourced or the shell is restarted.
  • Be careful when defining aliases for commonly used commands, as they can override the original command and cause confusion.


  • Aliases are not recommended for use in scripts, as they can cause unexpected behavior and make the code harder to read and maintain.
  • It is a good practice to use descriptive names for aliases to make them easier to remember and understand.