< cpp‎ | experimental‎ | fs
Technical specifications
Filesystem library (filesystem TS)
Library fundamentals (library fundamentals TS)
Library fundamentals 2 (library fundamentals 2 TS)
Extensions for parallelism (parallelism TS)
Extensions for parallelism 2 (parallelism TS v2)
Extensions for concurrency (concurrency TS)
Concepts (concepts TS)
Ranges (ranges TS)
Special mathematical functions (special math TR)
Defined in header <experimental/filesystem>
path read_symlink(const path& p);
path read_symlink(const path& p, error_code& ec);
(filesystem TS)

If the path p refers to a symbolic link, returns a new path object which refers to the target of that symbolic link.

It is an error if p does not refer to a symbolic link.

The non-throwing overload returns an empty path on errors.


p - path to a symlink
ec - out-parameter for error reporting in the non-throwing overload

Return value

The target of the symlink (which may not necessarily exist)


The overload that does not take a error_code& parameter throws filesystem_error on underlying OS API errors, constructed with p as the first argument and the OS error code as the error code argument. std::bad_alloc may be thrown if memory allocation fails. The overload taking a error_code& parameter sets it to the OS API error code if an OS API call fails, and executes ec.clear() if no errors occur. This overload has
noexcept specification:  


#include <iostream>
#include <experimental/filesystem>
namespace fs = std::experimental::filesystem;
int main()
    // on a typical Linux system, /lib/ is a symlink
    fs::path p = "/lib/";
    if(exists(p) && is_symlink(p))
        std::cout << p << " -> " << read_symlink(p) << '\n';
        std::cout << p << " does not exist or is not a symlink\n";

Possible output:

"/lib/" -> ""

See also

checks whether the argument refers to a symbolic link
creates a symbolic link
copies a symbolic link
determines file attributes
determines file attributes, checking the symlink target