How to Add Terminal Aliases in Mac OS X Lion

One quick productivity hack is to add command line aliases to your Terminal in Mac OS X.

For example, I prefer typing c instead of clear to clear the terminal and I usually add all sorts of shortcuts for cd’ing into directories that I use often.

Here’s how to do it:

1) Navigate to your home directory:

cd ~

2) Open up .bash_profile using vi:

vi .bash_profile

3) Add an alias (press i):

alias c="clear"

4) Save the file (press Escape, type :wq, and hit Enter)

5) Restart Terminal

If you followed this example, you should now be able to just type c and Enter in Terminal to get the same affect as typing clear.

For more information, this post gives some additional examples of aliases you can add.

2 thoughts on “How to Add Terminal Aliases in Mac OS X Lion

  1. If you have your inputrc configured to do shell history searching:

    https://github.com/acdha/unix_tools/blob/master/etc/inputrc

    and particularly if you configure your history file to avoid storing duplicates

    https://github.com/acdha/unix_tools/blob/master/etc/bash_profile#L51-54

    you end up with a fairly similar result simply by typing “c” and up-arrow – a surprising number of the commands I use end up having 1-3 character unique prefixes, particularly within a session, which allows me to avoid having to create many shell aliases.

    (One other note: if you do create aliases, I strongly recommend storing your dotfiles in a Git repo so you can stay consistent across every machine which you work on)

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