Bash - Alias (of a command) - Builtin command

1 - About

Alias allows to define shortcuts and synonyms for commonly used:

3 - Syntax

The basic syntax is:

alias [-p] [name[=value] ...]


  • p is to only print the aliases
  • [name[=value] …] are arguments. When they are supplied, an alias is defined for each name whose value is given.


  • value: A trailing space in value causes the next word to be checked for alias substitution when the alias is expanded.
  • name: For each name in the argument list for which no value is supplied, the name and value of the alias is printed.

Return value:

  • Alias returns true unless a name is given for which no alias has been defined.

Note aliases are not expanded by default in non-interactive shell, and it can be enabled by setting the expand_aliases shell option using shopt.

4 - Configuration

4.1 - Expansion

To use alias in script:

shopt -s expand_aliases

5 - Example

For instance, the Syntax is

  • for a command:

alias AliasName='command -arguments'

  • for a script

alias AliasName='FullPathScript -arguments'

6 - Management

6.1 - Made the aliases permanent

Aliases can be put in the startup script in order to become permanent.

Extended Example from the OBIEE VM.

#alias created 
alias startWLS='/bishiphome/Middleware/user_projects/domains/bifoundation_domain/bin/'
alias stopWLS='/bishiphome/Middleware/user_projects/domains/bifoundation_domain/bin/'

alias startOPMN='/bishiphome/Middleware/instances/instance1/bin/opmnctl startall'
alias stopOPMN='/bishiphome/Middleware/instances/instance1/bin/opmnctl stopall'
alias statusOPMN='/bishiphome/Middleware/instances/instance1/bin/opmnctl status -l'

alias stopOBIPS='${FMW_HOME}/instances/instance1/bin/opmnctl stopproc ias-component=coreapplication_obips1'
alias startOBIPS='${FMW_HOME}/instances/instance1/bin/opmnctl startproc ias-component=coreapplication_obips1'
alias restartOBIPS='stopOBIPS && startOBIPS'

alias startESSB='/epm/Middleware/user_projects/epmsystem1/bin/'
alias stopESSB='/epm/Middleware/user_projects/epmsystem1/bin/'
alias startAPS='/epm/Middleware/user_projects/epmsystem1/bin/'
alias stopAPS='/epm/Middleware/user_projects/epmsystem1/bin/'

alias startOIDopmn='/idm/Middleware/asinst_1/bin/opmnctl start'
alias startOID='/idm/Middleware/asinst_1/bin/opmnctl startproc ias-component=oid1'
alias stopOID='/idm/Middleware/asinst_1/bin/opmnctl stopall'
alias statusOID='/idm/Middleware/asinst_1/bin/opmnctl status -l'

6.2 - Lists the current aliases


alias cp='cp -i'
alias l.='ls -d .* --color=tty'
alias ll='ls -l --color=tty'
alias ls='ls --color=tty'
alias mv='mv -i'
alias rm='rm -i'
alias which='alias | /usr/bin/which --tty-only --read-alias --show-dot --show-tilde'

6.3 - Remove an alias

unalias myALiasName

6.4 - Shortcut the frequently used command


  • To start services such as OPMN

alias startOPMN ='/bishiphome/Middleware/instances/instance1/bin/opmnctl startall'

  • To edit a configuration file

alias editHttpd="gedit /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf"

6.5 - Specify the default parameters

If you want ls to show colors by default with the ls command:

alias ls='ls --color=yes'

6.6 - Call an Alias with parameters

Alias doesn't support parameter whereas a function does.

Having a function in your startup script will permit to call them like alias.

For instance, to use ssh to copy files to a location on a server you can use this function

sendpic() { scp $* [email protected]:/www/misc/Pictures/; }

6.7 - Standardize the name of commands across multiple operating systems

For people accustomed to MS-DOS commands, the following aliases can be defined so that a Unix-like operating system appears to behave more like MS-DOS:

alias dir="ls"
alias copy="cp"
alias rename="mv"
alias md="mkdir"
alias rd="rmdir"
alias del="rm -i"

7 - Documentation / Reference

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