Tip: Creating a symbolic link the hard and the easy way

I keep my Aperture Library on a separate RAID disk that is connected through FireWire to the Mac. One disadvantage that I found out about the hard way is that I can’t see my Aperture Library in some Media Browsers. A symbolic link may be able to fix that, while an alias almost never can. A symbolic link is much like a Mac OS X alias, only on a lower level (Unix)). You can sometimes fool applications into ‘seeing’ the file while it’s really only the ‘alias’, pointer or symlink that is there.

There are two ways to create a symlink. The hard way and the easy way. First the hard way, which is free. What you need is your Terminal.

To navigate to my Aperture Library in the Terminal, I normally would need to type in:

cd /Volumes/4Big/Aperture/offloads.aplibrary

In order to create a symlink in the Pictures folder, in the Terminal type:

cd /Users/Pictures/
ln -s /Volumes/4Big/Aperture/offloads.aplibrary offloads

That’s it. “ln -s” makes a new file called “offloads” which points to “/Volumes/4Big/Aperture/offloads.aplibrary”.

However, the Terminal can seem daunting to a great many people, so here is a real easy way: first you’ll have to buy File Buddy 9 for some 40.00 USD.

Choose your target...

File Buddy can do a lot more than create symlinks, but that’s what we’re discussing here, so I’ll explain you how it works:

    In File Buddy

  • File > Make Symbolic Link…
  • In the dialogue select your target, i.e. the original for the symlink
  • In the next dialogue, select or add the folder in which you want the symlink to appear
Create the symlink!

That’s it!

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