ln [options] sourcename [destname]
ln [options] sourcenames destdirectory

Create pseudonyms (links) for files, allowing them to be accessed by different names. The first form links sourcename to destname, where destname is usually either a new filename or (by default) a file in the current directory with the same name as sourcename. If destname is an existing file, it is overwritten; if destname is an existing directory, a link named sourcename is created in that directory. The second form creates links in destdirectory, each link having the same name as the file specified.


-b, --backup=[control]

Back up any existing files. When using the long version of the command, the optional control parameter controls the kind of backup. When no control is specified, ln will attempt to read the control value from the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable. Accepted values are:

none, off

Never make backups.

numbered, t

Make numbered backups.

existing, nil

Match existing backups, numbered or simple.

simple, never

Always make simple backups.

-d, -F, --directory

Allow hard links to directories. Available to privileged users.

-f, --force

Force the link (don’t prompt for overwrite permission).


Print a help message and then exit.

-i, --interactive

Prompt for permission before removing files.

-n, --no-dereference

Replace symbolic links to directories instead of dereferencing them. --force is useful with this option.

-s, --symbolic

Create a symbolic link. This lets you link ...

Get Linux in a Nutshell, Fourth Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.