ln — make links between files

Examples (TL;DR)




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 too.


make a backup of each existing destination file


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 superuser)

-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 directory

-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


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

The backup suffix is '~', unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_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 controls behavior when a TARGET is a symbolic link, defaulting to -P.


Written by Mike Parker and David MacKenzie.

Reporting Bugs

GNU coreutils online help: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
Report any translation bugs to <https://translationproject.org/team/>

See Also

link(2), symlink(2)

Full documentation <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/ln>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) ln invocation'

Referenced By

alternatives(8), compress(1), dh_link(1), ebuild(5), freeze(1), gzip(1), hier(7), link(2), lndir(1), mandoc(1), mmv(1), rcm(7), refile(1), roff(7), samefile(1), shtool(1), shtool-mkln(1), shtool-mkshadow(1), sln(8), symlink(2), symlink(7).

October 2019 GNU coreutils 8.31