Converting Unix Shell Aliases to PowerShell

Posted on . Tagged with: powershell, unix, windows, shell, and scripts.

I’ve been using Windows a lot recently and have been quite enjoying it. Some things are new, but most are old and familiar. But after using a lot of shell aliases over the last decade of using Linux & macOS, I needed them to come over with me. I’ve been using PowerShell 7, inside Windows Terminal (and mostly VS Code as the editor), and so far have pulled over my Git aliases. If you’re trying to bring over your own, this should be enough to get you going.

PowerShell has an equivalent profile configuration file which can be found in:


…and available as $profile. From here, you can configure aliases and functions which are loaded across each session.

There’s a couple of nuances in converting existing aliases to PowerShell though, as an example I’m converting the following which covers all of the cases I’ve seen so far:

In Unix Shell:

alias gws='git status -sb'
alias gl='gll -20'
alias gll="git log --pretty='format:%C(yellow)%h %C(blue)%ad %C(reset)%s%C(red)%d %C(green)%an%C(reset), %C(cyan)%ar' --date=short"

In PowerShell:

function Get-GitStatus { git status -sb $args }
function Get-GitLog([string] $limit)  {
  git log --pretty='format:%C(yellow)%h %C(blue)%ad %C(reset)%s%C(red)%d %C(green)%an%C(reset), %C(cyan)%ar' --date=short $limit

function Get-GitLogShort {
  Get-GitLog '-20'

Set-Alias gws Get-GitStatus
Set-Alias gl Get-GitLogShort
Set-Alias gll Get-GitLog

Notably, aliases don’t expand in place, which means you can’t automatically chain additional arguments. To do this, we need to use a function to wrap what we like to do and then use $args (a special argument equivalent to $@) to capture anything further. This is also the case if we want to be explicit about requiring further arguments, too.

By convention, functions are named Verb-Noun. I’m using a separate call to Set-Alias to replicate the original pattern I’m copying, but there is a way to define these directly on functions.

This is my current $profile, which is not without the occasional problem, but is working well so far:

function Get-Git {
  ($isGit = git symbolic-ref HEAD) > $null

  if ($isGit) {
    $time_since_last_commit = git log -1 --pretty=format:"%ar"
    Write-Output "Last commit: ${time_since_last_commit}"
    git status --short --branch $args

function Get-GitStatus { git status -sb $args }
function Get-GitBranch { git branch -vv $args }
function New-GitCommit { git commit --verbose $args }
function New-GitCommitAll { git commit --verbose --all $args }
function New-GitFixupCommit { git commit --fixup HEAD $args }
function New-GitCheckout { git checkout $args }
function New-GitAddition { git add $args }
function New-GitPush { git push $args }
function New-GitForcePush { git push --force-with-lease $args }
function New-GitRebase { git rebase $args }
function New-GitStash { git stash $args }
function Get-GitDiff { git diff --no-ext-diff $args }
function Get-GitLog([string] $limit)  {
  git log --pretty='format:%C(yellow)%h %C(blue)%ad %C(reset)%s%C(red)%d %C(green)%an%C(reset), %C(cyan)%ar' --date=short $limit

function Get-GitLogShort {
  Get-GitLog '-20'

Set-Alias g Get-Git
Set-Alias gws Get-GitStatus
Set-Alias gb Get-GitBranch
Set-Alias -Name gc -Value New-GitCommit -Force
Set-Alias gca New-GitCommitAll
Set-Alias gcf New-GitFixupCommit
Set-Alias gco New-GitCheckout
Set-Alias gia New-GitAddition
Set-Alias -Name gp -Value New-GitPush -Force
Set-Alias gpf New-GitForcePush
Set-Alias gr New-GitRebase
Set-Alias gs New-GitStash
Set-Alias gwd Get-GitDiff
Set-Alias -Name gl -Value Get-GitLogShort -Force
Set-Alias gll Get-GitLog