Symbolic link (also known as symlink or soft link) is a special type of file that has reference that points to another file or directory, in the form of an absolute or relative path. Symbolic link can be used just like the target original file or folder, as it merely contains a text string that is interpreted and followed by the operating system to another file or directory.

Symbolic link is supported on most Unix-like (including Linux) operating systems, Windows Vista (see Windows Vista symbolic link, hard link and junction point) and to some degree in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Although symbolic link is pointing to a target, it operates independently of its target (deletion of symbolic link does not been affected), but allows program to behave as if operating directly on the target file.

So how to create or make a symbolic link? To create a symbolic, use the following command syntax:

ln -s [target directory or file] [symlink shortcut]

For example, to link the /usr/local/lib/example directory to /example, use the following command:

ln -s /usr/local/lib/example /example

After creating the symbolic link above, /example will point to /usr/local/lib/example, and when user changes directory (CD) to /example, OS shell will automatically change it to /usr/local/lib/example directory.