Python os.path.islink() Method

Python os.path.islink() method is used to check if a specified path is a symbolic link, often called a symlink.

In most operating systems, a symbolic link is a particular type of file that contains a reference to another file or directory.

Syntax

os.path.islink(path)

Parameters

Name Description
path (string) It is the path that you want to check.

Return value

It returns True if the path is a symbolic link.

It returns False if the path is not a symbolic link.

Symbolic links are different from shortcuts in Windows or aliases in macOS. They are more akin to references at the filesystem level.

Example 1: Checking if a path is a symbolic link

Visual Representation of Python os.path.islink() Method

We will check for the “symlink” symbolic file sitting in our current working directory:

Screenshot of symlink file in a directory

import os

path = 'symlink'

print(os.path.islink(path)) 

Output

True

Example 2: Using an actual file

Passing normal file to os.path.islink()

import os

path = 'new.txt'

print(os.path.islink(path)) 

Output

False

Example 3: Using os.path.islink() with os.symlink()

import os

# Creating a symbolic link and then checking it
os.symlink('new.txt', 'symlink_to_file.txt')

print(os.path.islink('symlink_to_file.txt'))

Output

The above code created a symlink file called “symlink_to_file.txt” in the current working directory:

Output of os.path.islink() with os.symlink()

Then, we checked its existence with os.path.islink() method:

True

This method is specifically helpful when you need to ensure that operations like file deletion or modification are being performed on actual files rather than their symlinks or when dealing with filesystems where symbolic links are used extensively.

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