I frequently edit startup files such as my .bashrc file
Then I copy them to another direction such as ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1

Is there any way I can cp such files to the above location with something like an alias?
I currently have an alias to cd to it with alias n='cd ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1'

I'd like something that would handle any file I pass into it.

3 Answers 3


Oh yes, you can!

  1. Open your ~/.bash_aliases file and type the following to the end of the file(create a new ~/.bash_aliases if it doesn't exist):

    alias mycp='cp ~/.bashrc ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1'

    This will create an alias mycp(you can give a different name for mycp)which will copy your ~/.bashrc file to the desired location.

  2. You could create a shell variable which contains the long path and then use the variable in place of the long path. For example, in your ~/.bashrc:

    export fav_path=/usr/share/help/nl/gnome-help/figures/

    and source ~/.bashrc and then use

    cp ~/.bashrc "$fav_path"

Remember to use the " for paths containing spaces.

  • +1 That's useful. I am looking for something more generic. Apr 20, 2014 at 11:46
  • @MichaelDurrant: Added an alternative method, couldn't think of a more generic method :/
    – jobin
    Apr 20, 2014 at 13:00
  • Those both work. In the end I ended up using an alias to do all of what I really needed, i.e. alias bup='cp ~/.bashrc ~/Dropnot/setups; cd ~/Dropnot/setups; git add .bashrc; git commit -m".bashrc update"; git push origin master;' ! Apr 20, 2014 at 13:02
  • Then I also made a bdown command to do alias bdown='cp ~/Dropnot/setups/.bashrc ~; . ~/.bashrc' Apr 20, 2014 at 13:03

If you have GNU cp (on Linux is answer is most likely yes), you can use the -t option:

alias fcp="cp -t ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1"

Doing fcp somefile will always put the file in the ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1 directory. Multiple arguments will work as well (eg fcp somefile otherfile1 will both go to ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1)

If GNU cp is not available, you can always use a function:

fcp () {
  cp "$@" ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1

Do you mean something like this:

alias c='cp ~/.bashrc ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1'

I would suggest to instead move the file there and use a symbolic link to avoid the copy altogether:

mv ~/.bashrc ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1/
ln -s ~/Dropnot/level1/setups/bash1/ ~/.bashrc

I've been using this for my dotfiles for years, and it's been very helpful in keeping a backup.

  • I believe you the OP meant the ~/.bashrc file. So you'll always need to provide the ~/.bashrc file. Simply .bashrc will try to locate .bashrc in the current directory where the OP is.
    – jobin
    Apr 20, 2014 at 10:10
  • I'm trying to avoid having to type out the long path that way and use something shorter, similar to the way aliases help. Apr 20, 2014 at 11:45

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