GNU Emacs Manual. Node: File Aliases

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12.6: File Name Aliases

Symbolic links and hard links both make it possible for several file names to refer to the same file. Hard links are alternate names that refer directly to the file; all the names are equally valid, and no one of them is preferred. By contrast, a symbolic link is a kind of defined alias: when `foo' is a symbolic link to `bar', you can use either name to refer to the file, but `bar' is the real name, while `foo' is just an alias. More complex cases occur when symbolic links point to directories.

If you visit two names for the same file, normally Emacs makes two different buffers, but it warns you about the situation.

If you wish to avoid visiting the same file in two buffers under different names, set the variable find-file-existing-other-name to a non-nil value. Then find-file uses the existing buffer visiting the file, no matter which of the file's names you specify.

If the variable find-file-visit-truename is non-nil, then the file name recorded for a buffer is the file's truename (made by replacing all symbolic links with their target names), rather than the name you specify. Setting find-file-visit-truename also implies the effect of find-file-existing-other-name.

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