Shorten Command Line: Tips to Reduce Length for More Efficient Operations

As a developer, you may find yourself constantly typing out long and repetitive commands in the command line. This can be a time-consuming and tedious process, but there are ways to streamline your workflow and reduce the length of your commands. In this guide, we will provide tips and tricks for shortening your command line for more efficient operations.

Use Command Line Shortcuts

One of the easiest ways to shorten your command line is to use command line shortcuts. These shortcuts allow you to quickly access frequently used commands without having to type out the entire command each time. Here are some commonly used shortcuts:

  • Tab Completion: Pressing the Tab key will autocomplete the command or file path you are typing. This can save you a lot of time and reduce the risk of typos.
  • Up and Down Arrow Keys: These keys allow you to scroll through your command history and quickly access previously used commands.
  • Ctrl + R: This shortcut allows you to search your command history by typing in keywords. Once you find the command you want, you can execute it by pressing Enter.

Use Aliases

Aliases are shortcuts for longer commands. They allow you to create a shorter and more memorable command for frequently used commands. For example, instead of typing out git add ., you can create an alias called gaa to execute the command. Here's how you can create an alias:

alias [alias_name]='[command]'

For example, to create an alias for git add ., you would type:

alias gaa='git add .'

Now, instead of typing out the entire command, you can simply type gaa to execute it.

Use Functions

Functions are similar to aliases, but they allow for more complex commands. You can create a function to execute a series of commands or to pass arguments to a command. Here's how you can create a function:

function [function_name]() {

For example, to create a function that clears the terminal and lists the files in the current directory, you would type:

function cl() {

Now, whenever you type cl in the command line, it will execute the commands in the function.

Use Variables

Variables allow you to store information that can be used in your commands. This can be especially useful for long and repetitive commands. Here's how you can create a variable:


For example, to create a variable for the path to your project directory, you would type:


Now, instead of typing out the path each time, you can use the variable in your commands:

cd $project_dir

Use External Files

If you find yourself using the same commands over and over again, you can create an external file with those commands and execute the file instead. This can save you time and reduce the risk of typos. Here's how you can create an external file:

  1. Create a new file with your commands:
touch [filename]
  1. Add your commands to the file:
  1. Make the file executable:
chmod +x [filename]
  1. Execute the file:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the command line?

The command line is a text-based interface for interacting with your computer's operating system.

Why should I shorten my command line?

Shortening your command line can save you time and reduce the risk of typos. It can also make your workflow more efficient and streamlined.

Can I use these tips on any operating system?

These tips should work on most Unix-based operating systems, including macOS and Linux.

Can I create aliases and functions for any command?

Yes, you can create aliases and functions for any command that you use frequently.

How do I edit my aliases and functions?

You can edit your aliases and functions by opening your .bashrc or .bash_profile file and modifying the appropriate section.


Shortening your command line can be a great way to save time and streamline your workflow as a developer. By using command line shortcuts, aliases, functions, variables, and external files, you can reduce the length of your commands and make your workflow more efficient. Give these tips a try and see how they can improve your productivity.

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