How to Create a Symbolic Link in Terminal: A Comprehensive Guide


Symbolic links, often referred to as symlinks, are powerful tools in the world of computing. They allow you to create references to files or directories, providing a way to access them from different locations without duplicating the actual content. This guide will take you through the process of creating symbolic links in the terminal, helping you harness the potential of this feature to organize your files, improve workflow, and optimize your system.

A symbolic link in the terminal is created using the ln command. This command establishes a connection between the symbolic link and the original file or directory, allowing the symbolic link to mimic the behavior of the original. The syntax for creating a symbolic link is as follows:

ln -s <target> <link_name>
  • <target>: This is the path to the file or directory you want to link to.
  • <link_name>: This is the name of the symbolic link you’re creating.

Let’s dive into the details of creating symbolic links and explore some advanced use cases.

To create a symbolic link using the terminal, follow these steps:

  1. Open Terminal: Launch your terminal application. You can usually find it in your system’s applications or use the search feature.
  2. Navigate to the Location: Use the cd command to navigate to the location where you want to create the symbolic link.
  3. Create the Symbolic Link: Use the ln command followed by the -s option to create the symbolic link. Replace <target> with the path to the file or directory you want to link to, and <link_name> with the desired name for your symbolic link.bashCopy codeln -s <target> <link_name>
  4. Verify the Link: You can use the ls -l command to verify that the symbolic link has been created successfully. The output will display the link name along with the original file or directory it points to.

Symbolic links offer several advantages that can greatly enhance your workflow and file management system:

  • Space Efficiency: Since symbolic links don’t duplicate the actual content, they save disk space.
  • Simplified File Organization: You can organize your files more efficiently by creating links to frequently accessed directories or files.
  • Cross-Device Accessibility: Symbolic links can span across different devices or partitions, providing access to files located elsewhere.
  • Updates Reflect Instantly: Changes to the linked file or directory are instantly reflected in the symbolic link.

Backup Strategies: Symbolic links can play a role in creating backup strategies by linking to essential files or directories.

Symbolic links can be employed in various scenarios to streamline your computing experience:

1. Project Management

Symbolic links are useful for project management. You can create a symbolic link to a central directory containing all your project files, allowing easy access from different locations.

2. Software Installation

When installing software, you can use symbolic links to point to executable files. This way, you can run applications from any directory without needing to specify the full path.

3. Data Synchronization

Symbolic links can help synchronize data between different devices or directories. Changes made in one location are automatically mirrored in another.

4. Accessing Configuration Files

You can create symbolic links to configuration files, making them accessible to applications that expect them in specific directories.

5. Hosting Websites

For web development, you can create symbolic links to your website’s files, allowing easy testing without the need to copy files to a different directory.


Yes, symbolic links can span across different filesystems and partitions, providing flexibility in linking to files or directories located on different devices.

Absolutely, symbolic links can link to both files and directories. This versatility makes them an essential tool for various use cases.

Yes, you can create symbolic links with relative paths. These paths are calculated based on the link’s location, offering flexibility when moving symbolic link structures.

Symbolic links persist even if the original file or directory is moved, but they can break if the original is deleted. However, creating a new symbolic link is a straightforward process.

Improper use of symbolic links can potentially lead to security vulnerabilities. Always ensure that you’re linking to trusted files and directories.

To remove a symbolic link, use the rm command followed by the link’s name. This won’t affect the original file or directory.

To create a symbolic link for a service in Linux, use the ‘ln -s’ command with the service’s source and destination paths.

How do you create a symbolic link in terminal?

To create a symbolic link in the terminal, use the ‘ln -s’ command followed by the target and link names.

How do I link all files in Linux?

To link all files in Linux, you can create symbolic links for each file individually or write a script to automate the process.

What is Linux link command?

The ‘link’ command in Linux creates hard links between files, but it’s less commonly used than the ‘ln’ command for symbolic links.

How do you link something in Linux?

To link something in Linux, use the ‘ln’ command followed by appropriate options and paths to create symbolic or hard links.


In the world of terminal commands, symbolic links stand out as a versatile and powerful tool. By allowing you to create references to files and directories, they streamline file management, enhance organization, and simplify access. With the knowledge gained from this guide, you’re equipped to harness the potential of symbolic links to optimize your workflow and system management.

Remember, while symbolic links offer numerous benefits, it’s important to use them thoughtfully and avoid creating links that could lead to confusion or security risks.

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