ln Man page

LN(1) User Commands LN(1)


ln – make links between files


ln [OPTION]… [-T] TARGET LINK_NAME (1st form)
ln [OPTION]… TARGET (2nd form)
ln [OPTION]… -t DIRECTORY TARGET… (4th form)


In the 1st form, create a link to TARGET with the name LINK_NAME. In
the 2nd form, create a link to TARGET in the current directory. In the
3rd and 4th forms, create links to each TARGET in DIRECTORY. Create
hard links by default, symbolic links with –symbolic. By default,
each destination (name of new link) should not already exist. When
creating hard links, each TARGET must exist. Symbolic links can hold
arbitrary text; if later resolved, a relative link is interpreted in
relation to its parent directory.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options

–backup[=CONTROL] make a backup of each existing destination file

-b like –backup but does not accept an argument

-d, -F, –directory
allow the superuser to attempt to hard link directories (note:
will probably fail due to system restrictions, even for the

-f, –force
remove existing destination files

-i, –interactive
prompt whether to remove destinations

-L, –logical
dereference TARGETs that are symbolic links

-n, –no-dereference
treat LINK_NAME as a normal file if it is a symbolic link to a

-P, –physical
make hard links directly to symbolic links

-r, –relative
create symbolic links relative to link location

-s, –symbolic
make symbolic links instead of hard links

-S, –suffix=SUFFIX
override the usual backup suffix

-t, –target-directory=DIRECTORY
specify the DIRECTORY in which to create the links

-T, –no-target-directory
treat LINK_NAME as a normal file always

-v, –verbose
print name of each linked file

–help display this help and exit

output version information and exit

The backup suffix is ‘~’, unless set with –suffix or SIM‐
PLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX. The version control method may be selected via the
–backup option or through the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable.
Here are the values:

none, off
never make backups (even if –backup is given)

numbered, t
make numbered backups

existing, nil
numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise

simple, never
always make simple backups

Using -s ignores -L and -P. Otherwise, the last option specified con‐
trols behavior when a TARGET is a symbolic link, defaulting to -P.


Written by Mike Parker and David MacKenzie.


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Copyright © 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU
GPL version 3 or later .
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


link, symlink

Full documentation at:
or available locally via: info ‘(coreutils) ln invocation’

GNU coreutils 8.25 February 2016 LN(1)