How To Boost Productivity With Symbolic Links
Publish Date2013-12-29

A Symbolic Link (symlink) is essentially a bookmark to a folder on your hard drive.
They are lightweight and disposeable.
In my workflow, I have a folder with a collection of symlinks which I use to zip around in the terminal.

This article will show the 4 steps you need to take to set it up.

1. The Folder

Make a folder in your home directory. Mine is called quicklinks.

$  cd
$  mkdir quicklinks

2. Make A Link

Suppose I want to make a link to the following directory ~/Code/Projects/Personal/blog.
I will call the symlink blog.

To create a link do the following:

$  cd ~/quicklinks
$  ln -s ~/Code/Projects/Personal/blog post

Notice the format of the command.

  1. ln stands for link
  2. -s means symbolic, so ln -s means symbolic link
  3. Then you specify the folder you want to make the link of (.../blog)
  4. Finally give the link a name (post)
  5. ln -s target_dir name

3. Setup an alias

To make this work as efficient as possible, I created an alias q.
This alias will change into the quicklinks directory and list its contents.

If you have a bashrc, or some other place to add an alias put it there.

Add the following:

$ nano ~/.bash_profile

Once you do that you are good to go, just issue the q command.

alias q='cd ~/quicklinks; ls`

read here if you need more information on how make an alias / where to put it.

4. The final product

Assume we are using the same folder as before (~/Code/Projects/Personal/blog post)

Create the link

$  q
docs work carbon testing books lyrics
$  ln -s ~/Code/Projects/Personal/blog post

Using the link

$ q
$ cd post

Bonus TIP

I have some symlinks that are permanent.
Others get created to be used just for the current context, and I prune them out later.
I use 0-9 to prefix the most used symlinks, so I can quickly move to them.
For example, 0_dotfiles is the first symlink I have.
When I want to go to my dotfiles I do this:

 $ q
 $ 0[Tab]  =>   $  0_dotfiles