Creating aliases (i.e. shortcuts) to launch programs from Terminal

As part of a computer programming course (which utilizes Java) that I started taking, we had to install a program called JGRASP.  In order to launch the program, I have to type the following in Terminal:

$java -jar jgrasp.jar

This is long and difficult to remember.  Luckily, there’s a way to shorten this up and use a custom name that’s easier to remember.

It turns out Ubuntu is set up to handle this type of thing.  By creating a file in the Home directory called:


Upon starting Terminal, Ubuntu will check for the existence of this file. If it exists, it will use any aliases present.

So, for this specific example, I added the following to my .bash_aliases file:

alias jgrasp=’java -jar jgrasp.jar’

The format of the alias command is rather straightforward:
alias – Invokes the alias Terminal command.
jgrasp – The name of my alias that I decided upon.
=’ ‘ – The equals sign assigns the following path and/or command(s) that are contained in single quotation marks to the alias.

So, now to launch JGRASP, all I have to type in Terminal is:


Sweet! And, with the ability to assign a path to a specific alias, that means I also don’t have to change directories to launch programs!

1 thought on “Creating aliases (i.e. shortcuts) to launch programs from Terminal

Leave a Comment