I am running Ubuntu 19.10, and I am trying to alias the command "vv" to open the last edited file in Vim. Below is my results from running the command 'alias'.

~/Documents/code$ alias
alias alert='notify-send --urgency=low -i "$([ $? = 0 ] && echo terminal || echo error)" "$(history|tail -n1|sed -e '\''s/^\s*[0-9]\+\s*//;s/[;&|]\s*alert$//'\'')"'
alias cls='clear'
alias egrep='egrep --color=auto'
alias fgrep='fgrep --color=auto'
alias grep='grep --color=auto'
alias l='ls -CF'
alias la='ls -A'
alias ll='ls -alF'
alias ls='ls --color=auto'
alias sl='ls --color=auto'
alias vv='!vi'

I receive the error:

~/Documents/code$ vv
Command '!vi' not found, but there are 15 similar ones.

!v and !vi are already working commands to open the last edited file in Vim, but I want vv to also be a command to do the same function, because sometimes I'm lazy.

Things I've tried:

  • Updating ~/.bashrc with new alias
  • Restarting computer
  • Open new terminal

Any help would be appreciated, thank you.

2 Answers 2


This happens because history expansion is performed before alias expansion.

You can force history expansion in your alias by using the history command, using command substitution to replace a command that queries the history with its output:

alias vv='$(history -p !vim)'

but this will not handle filenames correctly if they contain characters that might trigger an expansion, such as spaces. You can avoid this using eval:

alias vv='eval $(history -p !vim)'

Use this:

alias vv="vim -c 'norm! ^O'"

norm execute normal mode command ^O as if you type it. See :help :normal for more information.

^O is one character, you can input it in insert mode by typing <C-V><C-O>. It brings you to last cursor position, which is in the last file you edited.

So the alias above is the same as opening vim and press ctrl-o.

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