Linux newalias command

Updated: 11/06/2021 by Computer Hope
newalias command

On Unix-like operating systems, the newalias command is used to install new aliases for the elm mail reader program.


newalias creates new hash and data files from a text file. If the program is invoked with the -g (global) flag, the program updates the system alias files. Otherwise, the program looks for a file called $HOME/.elm/aliases.text and, upon finding it, creates files $HOME/.elm/aliases.dir, $HOME/.elm/aliases.pag and $HOME/.elm/aliases for the elm program.

The format that the program expects is:

alias, alias, .. = comment = address


alias, alias, .. = comment = alias, alias, ...

The first form is for an individual user such as:

dave, taylor = Dave Taylor = veeger!hpcnou!dat

or optionally as:

dave, taylor = Taylor; Dave = veeger!hpcnou!dat

to allow the aliases to be properly sorted by last name. The second is for defining a group alias such as:

gurus = Unix Gurus = alan, john, dave, mike, I richard, larry, t_richardson

Note that lines can be continued at will, blank lines are accepted without error, and that any line starting with '#' is considered a comment and is not processed.

If the 'comment', or 'address' fields need to contain '=' characters, those characters must either be escaped using a backslash character or the address must be inside double quotes (").

Aliases are not case-sensitive so dave and Dave are both the same alias.

Finally, aliases can contain other aliases, and/or groups. For example:

unix = Unix people = gurus, taylor, jonboy


newalias [-g]


$HOME/.elm/aliases.text alias source for user
$HOME/.elm/aliases.dir alias dbz directory for user
$HOME/.elm/aliases.pag alias dbz hash file for user
$HOME/.elm/aliases alias data file for user
/usr/lib/elm-me+/aliases.text alias source for system
/usr/lib/elm-me+/aliases.dir alias dbz directory for system
/usr/lib/elm-me+/aliases.pag alias data hash table for system
/usr/lib/elm-me+/aliases alias data file for system

elm — A mail client.
mail — Read, compose, and manage mail.
mailx — Process mail messages.