This question already has an answer here:

If you create an alias for example:

alias cls="clear"

It exists untill you kill terminall session. When you start a new terminal window the alias doesn't exist any more. How to create "permanent" alias, one that exists in every terminal session?

marked as duplicate by Eliah Kagan, Eric Carvalho, David Foerster, Panther, mikewhatever Apr 11 '15 at 9:08

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  • 5
    As for this particular example, ^L (Control-l) clears the screen as well. – loevborg Aug 6 '10 at 16:10

You can put such aliases in the ~/.bash_aliases file.

That file is loaded by ~/.bashrc. On Ubuntu 10.04, the following lines need to be uncommented to enable the use of ~/.bash_aliases. On Ubuntu 11.04 and later, it's already enabled:

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

The aliased command will be available on any new terminal. To have the aliased command on any existing terminal one need to source ~/.bashrc from that terminal as,

source ~/.bashrc
  • 13
    +1 I recommend this over editing ~/.bashrc. While indeed useful for a variety of other purposes, ~/.bashrc just has too many elements that could throw off a user who is unfamiliar with the peculiarities of Linux shells. – ændrük Oct 6 '10 at 21:50
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    example: echo "cls='clear'" >> ~/.bash_aliases && source ~/.bash_aliases – hobs Sep 10 '12 at 15:56
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    @ændrük I actually find the profusion of shell config files confusing. In my mind it is easier if there is one fairly long config file with all the settings. – haziz Dec 13 '12 at 7:14
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    @hobs it must be: echo "alias cls='clear'" >> ~/.bash_aliases && source ~/.bash_aliases – Amir Ali Akbari Aug 15 '13 at 10:30
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    ok so this topic is almost 7 years old now and I can't seem to find any recent answer like this. however it doesnt work for me anymore and asking now if something has changed – TheDefinitionist Oct 5 '16 at 13:00

Add your line into ~/.bashrc or into ~/.profile / ~/.bash_profile for remote logins.

If you want the command being executed for all users, put it into /etc/bash.bashrc.

Edit: In the latest versions of Ubuntu, ~/.bashrc automatically sources ~/.bash_aliases, so permanent aliases are best put into this file instead.

  • Thanks, it worked when I wrote in ~/.bachrc P.S. There is no ~/.profiles in my home directory. – Zango Aug 6 '10 at 15:31
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    .profile might be .bash_profile now – txwikinger Aug 6 '10 at 15:32
  • If the file in question does not exist, you can simply create it. – Ryan Thompson Aug 6 '10 at 18:03
  • Thanks, I was wondering what's the difference between those two. (bashrc and bash_profile) – emf Oct 6 '10 at 20:28
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    joshstaiger.org/archives/2005/07/bash_profile_vs.html for the difference between ~/.bash_profile and ~/.bashrc – Indrajeet Gour Jun 7 '16 at 8:12

You can add the function below to your .bashrc file.

function permalias () 
  alias "$*";
  echo alias "$*" >> ~/.bash_aliases

Then open a new terminal or run source ~/.bashrc in your current terminal. You can now create permanent aliases by using the permalias command, for example permalias cls=clear.

  • 4
    Usage Note: when I typed mkalias smount='sudo mount' the quotes were not litterally echoed, so my solution was mkalias "smount='sudo mount'" If you are aliasing a 2+ word command you'll need this too. – TecBrat Jun 29 '13 at 22:04
  • I created a gist for this: gist.github.com/Masterxilo/f1967743fda3a1aded56ebaff4dd097b . Install permalias for the current user using { curl -s https://gist.githubusercontent.com/Masterxilo/f1967743fda3a1aded56ebaff4dd097b/raw/permalias | source /dev/stdin ; source ~/.bashrc ; } – masterxilo Nov 20 '18 at 20:34
  • However, I created permfunction, a more powerful alternative gist.github.com/Masterxilo/29ac0df083827bbd45a7c8ddcf3936d7 which creates globally installed scripts on the PATH instead. These will be available to all open sessions immediately and are much more flexible. Install using curl -s https://gist.githubusercontent.com/Masterxilo/29ac0df083827bbd45a7c8ddcf3936d7/raw/permfunction | sudo -E bash - ; hash -d permfunction &> /dev/null || true – masterxilo Nov 20 '18 at 20:36

Stick that command in the last line of your ~/.bash_profile

  • 3
    Why not ~/.bashrc? – Michael Crenshaw Aug 6 '10 at 15:23
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    bashrc is preferred, I understand, though not clear on why – emf Oct 1 '10 at 18:46

See http://www.joshstaiger.org/archives/2005/07/bash_profile_vs.html for the difference between ~/.bash_profile and ~/.bashrc

~/.bashrc is run every time you open a new terminal, whereas ~/.bash_profile isn't. ~/.bashrc contains the following, which includes the ~/.bash_aliases file. This would be the most appropriate place to add your alias.

# Alias definitions.
# You may want to put all your additions into a separate file like
# ~/.bash_aliases, instead of adding them here directly.
# See /usr/share/doc/bash-doc/examples in the bash-doc package.

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

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