How to Set Aliases in PowerShell

๐ŸŒธ๏ธ 2 mins read

Let's enable user defined aliases!

1. Enable scripting

First, we need to enable PowerShell scripting, because by default it's disabled. Within the Powershell console, we will write (or copy/paste) this, and then press enter. (Nothing would show afterwards)

> Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -Scope CurrentUser

If you want to read more about execution policies, go here.

2. Ok, now we need to write the aliases

There are different files where we can write the aliases. Those are the "Profile files".

Depending on what users we want to allow these scripts to be accessed, we would choose a different source file. As for this case, it's just for me: the only user on my computer. I choose the global one:

Edit to $PSHOME\Profile.ps1.

  • With cd $PSHOME you will navigate to the folder where the Profile.ps1 file is in your CLI.
  • You can also open the folder in the Files Explorer with ii $PSHOME\ (ii is an alias itself for Invoke-Item in PowerShell).
  • Whichever the path you chose, you can then edit it with your favourite editor. I'm going to open it with VS Code. You can also do it all it one step by writing this in your CLI:
> code $PSHOME\Profile.ps1

Whithin there, let's write a custom alias (adding these lines of code at the end of the file). In this case I want an alias for npm run dev because I find myself writing that command all the time and I want to do it with less keystrokes. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ Developers...

function NpmDev {

  npm run dev


Set-Alias dev NpmDev

As you can see, the Set-Alias dev NpmDev is the important part.

  • Set-Alias register a new alias on the Profile and expects at least 2 arguments
  • first argument (in this case, dev) is my desired alias. Here you put anything you want.
  • second one NpmDev is the thing it's pointing too. It could be a program, a file location, another alias, a Powershell command or, as in this case, a Function's name.

You can write as many aliases as you want appending more Set-Alias statements.

3. Save the file and restart your console

Then we need to save the Profile.ps1 file and restart the console we are using (close and open it again).

Now I can type my alias dev in my console and it will be an alias for npm run dev.

I decided to use a function in Powershell because that allows me to write aliases that can do more than one thing: on different lines I could put more than 1 command. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy aliasing!