Aliases in Windows Command Prompt

Published: Mar 13, 2018
Updated: May 3, 2021

Unix-like operating systems make it easy to add command aliases, e.g. adding a line to .bashrc, .bash_profile, or .bash_aliases. But what about Windows command prompt users?

Well, we have doskey. For example, entering doskey ls=dir will allow you to list directories with ls. While this is nice, you have to run your doskey commands every time you open command prompt, which… isn’t nice. Fortunately, there’s a way to load your aliases when command prompt starts up.

First, create a file to hold your aliases. For example C:\cmd\aliases.cmd.

@echo off

doskey ls=dir
doskey rr=ruby bin\rails $*

Next, create a new shortcut to command prompt. Right-click the shortcut and set the Target to

C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe /K C:\cmd\aliases.cmd

Now when you open command prompt from the shortcut, your aliases will be loaded.

Passing args #

If you alias a command that you plan to pass arguments too (like rr above), place $* at the end. This allows the alias to accept zero, one, or more args.

So instead of typing

ruby bin\rails generate model user

I can now type

rr generate model user