How To Soft Link In Linux

In Linux, files and directories are often accessed through their respective paths. However, it becomes cumbersome when you have to deal with long paths. Luckily, Linux provides a functionality called ‘Soft Linking’ or ‘Symbolic Linking’ which allows you to access files and directories using alternative, and often shorter, paths. This tutorial aims to walk you step-by-step on how to create soft links in Linux.

Understanding Soft Links

A soft link, also known as symbolic link, acts as a shortcut to the original file or directory. It is a file that points to another file. In simpler terms, it’s a pointer to the actual file or directory.

To differentiate a soft link from a regular file, you can use the ls -l command. A soft link file will have its details displayed differently, with an arrow (->) pointing to the location of the original file.

Creating Soft Links

The command used to create a soft link in Linux is the ln command with the -s option. The syntax for the command is as follows:

ln -s [target file or directory] [Symbolic filename]

The [target file or directory] is the original file or directory you want to link to, and the [Symbolic filename] is the name of the soft link you are creating.


ln -s /home/user/documents/report.doc report

In the above example, a soft link named report is created, which points to the report.doc file in the /home/user/documents directory. You can now access the file simply by referring to the soft link ‘report’.

Deleting Soft Links

Deleting a soft link is just as simple as creating one. You use the rm command followed by the name of the symbolic link.

rm [Symbolic filename]


rm report

In this example, the soft link ‘report’ is removed. Note that this does not delete the original file, only the soft link.


Soft links in Linux are a powerful tool, making file access easier and more efficient. It’s one more reason why understanding and using the command line can greatly enhance your productivity.