Aliases in Windows command prompt


I have added notepad++.exe to my Path in Environment variables.

Now in command prompt, notepad++.exe filename.txt opens the filename.txt. But I want to do just np filename.txt to open the file.

I tried using DOSKEY np=notepad++. But it is just bringing to the forefront an already opened notepad++ without opening the file. How can I make it open the file?


7/23/2018 3:50:23 PM

Accepted Answer

To add to josh's answer,

you may make the alias(es) persistent with the following steps,

  1. Create a .bat or .cmd file with your DOSKEY commands.
  2. Run regedit and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor
  3. Add String Value entry with the name AutoRun and the full path of your .bat/.cmd file.

    For example, %USERPROFILE%\alias.cmd, replacing the initial segment of the path with %USERPROFILE% is useful for syncing among multiple machines.

This way, every time cmd is run, the aliases are loaded.

For Windows 10, add the entry to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor instead.

For completeness, here is a template to illustrate the kind of aliases one may find useful.

@echo off

:: Temporary system path at cmd startup

set PATH=%PATH%;"C:\Program Files\Sublime Text 2\"

:: Add to path by command

DOSKEY add_python26=set PATH=%PATH%;"C:\Python26\"
DOSKEY add_python33=set PATH=%PATH%;"C:\Python33\"

:: Commands

DOSKEY ls=dir /B
DOSKEY sublime=sublime_text $*  
    ::sublime_text.exe is name of the executable. By adding a temporary entry to system path, we don't have to write the whole directory anymore.
DOSKEY gsp="C:\Program Files (x86)\Sketchpad5\GSP505en.exe"
DOSKEY alias=notepad %USERPROFILE%\Dropbox\alias.cmd

:: Common directories

DOSKEY dropbox=cd "%USERPROFILE%\Dropbox\$*"
DOSKEY research=cd %USERPROFILE%\Dropbox\Research\

  • Note that the $* syntax works after a directory string as well as an executable which takes in arguments. So in the above example, the user-defined command dropbox research points to the same directory as research.
  • As Rivenfall pointed out, it is a good idea to include a command that allows for convenient editing of the alias.cmd file. See alias above. If you are in a cmd session, enter cmd to restart cmd and reload the alias.cmd file.

When I searched the internet for an answer to the question, somehow the discussions were either focused on persistence only or on some usage of DOSKEY only. I hope someone will benefit from these two aspects being together here!

Here's a .reg file to help you install the alias.cmd. It's set now as an example to a dropbox folder as suggested above.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor]

For single-user applications, the above will do. Nevertheless, there are situations where it is necessary to check whether alias.cmd exists first in the registry key. See example below.

In a C:\Users\Public\init.cmd file hosting potentially cross-user configurations:

REM Add other configurations as needed
IF EXIST "%USERPROFILE%\alias.cmd" ( CALL "%USERPROFILE%\alias.cmd" )

The registry key should be updated correspondly to C:\Users\Public\init.cmd or, using the .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor]
5/25/2020 7:11:26 PM

If you're just going for some simple commands, you could follow these steps:

  1. Create a folder called C:\Aliases
  2. Add C:\Aliases to your path (so any files in it will be found every time)
  3. Create a .bat file in C:\Aliases for each of the aliases you want

Maybe overkill, but unlike the (otherwise excellent) answer from @Argyll, this solves the problem of this loading every time.

For instance, I have a file called dig2.bat with the following in it:

@echo off
dig +noall +answer %1

Your np file would just have the following:

@echo off
notepad++.exe %1

Then just add the C:\Aliases folder to your PATH environment variable. If you have CMD or PowerShell already opened you will need to restart it.

FWIW, I have about 20 aliases (separate .bat files) in my C:\Aliases directory - I just create new ones as necessary. Maybe not the neatest, but it works fine.

UPDATE: Per an excellent suggestion from user @Mav, it's even better to use %* rather than %1, so you can pass multiple files to the command, e.g.:

@echo off
notepad++.exe %*

That way, you could do this:

np c:\temp\abc.txt c:\temp\def.txt c:\temp\ghi.txt

and it will open all 3 files.


Alternatively you can use cmder which lets you add aliases just like linux:

alias subl="C:\Program Files\Sublime Text 3\subl.exe" $*

Given that you added notepad++.exe to your PATH variable, it's extra simple. Create a file in your System32 folder called np.bat with the following code:

@echo off
call notepad++.exe %*

The %* passes along all arguments you give the np command to the notepad++.exe command.

EDIT: You will need admin access to save files to the System32 folder, which was a bit wonky for me. I just created the file somewhere else and moved it to System32 manually.


Also, you can create an alias.cmd in your path (for example C:\Windows) with the command

@echo %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 > %windir%\%1.cmd

Once you do that, you can do something like this:

alias nameOfYourAlias commands to run 

And after that you can type in comman line


this will execute

commands to run 

BUT the best way for me is just adding the path of a programm.

setx PATH "%PATH%;%ProgramFiles%\Sublime Text 3" /M 

And now I run sublime as

subl index.html

Console Aliases in Windows 10

To define a console alias, use Doskey.exe to create a macro, or use the AddConsoleAlias function.


doskey test=cd \a_very_long_path\test

To also pass parameters add $* at the end: doskey short=longname $*


AddConsoleAlias( TEXT("test"), 
                 TEXT("cd \\<a_very_long_path>\\test"), 

More information here Console Aliases, Doskey, Parameters