n. (context computing in operating systems derived from Unix English) A file that contains a reference to another file or directory and serves as a shortcut to it.
In computing, a symbolic link (also symlink or soft link) is the nickname for any file that contains a reference to another file or directory in the form of an absolute or relative path and that affects pathname resolution.
Symbolic links were already present by 1978 in minicomputer operating systems from DEC and Data General's RDOS. Today they are supported by the POSIX operating system standard, most Unix-like operating systems such as FreeBSD, Linux, and Mac OS X and Windows operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows 7 and to some degree in Windows 2000 and Windows XP in the form of Shortcut files.
Symbolic Link (SYLK) is a Microsoft file format typically used to exchange data between applications, specifically spreadsheets. SYLK files conventionally have a .slk suffix. Composed of only displayable ANSI characters, it can be easily created and processed by other applications, such as databases.
Microsoft does not publish a SYLK specification. Variants of the format are supported by Multiplan, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Works, OpenOffice.org, and Gnumeric.
Note that even if a SYLK file is created by an application that supports Unicode (for example Microsoft Excel), the SYLK file will be encoded in the current system's ANSI code page, not in Unicode. If the application contained characters that were displayable in Unicode but have no codepoint in the current system's code page, they will be converted to question marks ('?') in the SYLK file.
Also note that if a character string in the SYLK file is to contain a semicolon (;) then it should be prefixed with another semicolon so the string would appear as e.g.; "WIDGET#04;;AXC1254". MS Excel will strip the first semicolon on import and the data element will appear as "WIDGET#04;AXC1254". It appears that the semicolon acts as an escape character of sorts.
A commonly encountered (and spurious) 'occurrence' of the SYLK file happens when a comma-separated value (CSV) format is saved with an unquoted first field name of 'ID', that is the first two characters match the first two characters of the SYLK file format. Microsoft Excel (at least to Office 2013) will then emit misleading error messages relating to the format of the file, such as "The file you are trying to open, 'x.csv', is in a different format than specified by the file extension...".
Usage examples of "symbolic link".
Progressive admirers, though, hailed Pei's seventy-one-foot-tall transparent pyramid as a dazzling synergy of ancient structure and modern method-a symbolic link between the old and new-helping usher the Louvre into the next millennium.
Progressive admirers, though, hailed Pei's seventyonefoottall transparent pyramid as a dazzling synergy of ancient structure and modern method-a symbolic link between the old and new-helping usher the Louvre into the next millennium.
Merely a few pinches of dust, to serve as a symbolic link between that which is lost and that which seeks it.