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

Create pseudonyms (links) for files, allowing them to be accessed by different names. Links may be “hard” or “soft.” A hard link creates two names for the same file, and a soft, or symbolic, link creates a second file which acts as a shortcut to the first. The default is to create hard links; use -s or --symbolic to create symbolic links.

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. With the long version of the command, the optional control parameter controls the kind of backup. When no control is specified, ln attempts 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

Get Linux in a Nutshell, 6th Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

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