Symbolic link

Updated: 10/17/2017 by Computer Hope

A symbolic link may refer to any of the following:

1. Alternatively called a soft link or symlink, a symbolic link is a file that links to another file or directory using its path. Unlike a hard link, a symbolic link can link to any file or directory on any computer. In Linux and Unix symbolic links are created with the ln command, and in the Windows command line, symbolic links are created using the mklink command. Below is an example of a symbolic link in the Windows command line.

Symbolic Link


If you are a new computer user, you can think of a symbolic link as a shortcut to a file or directory (folder). Unlike a traditional shortcut in Windows, symbolic links may be used in the command line, or in a script or another program.


On Microsoft Windows computers, there are also junction points, which are similar to symbolic links but not the same thing.

2. Alternatively known as SYLK, a symbolic link is an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) formatted file with the extension .slk, used by some Microsoft applications. It can exchange data between some Microsoft applications such as Excel.

Hard link, Link, Operating system terms