I need to create an alias on my Desktop to an app in my Applications folder, using a bash script file.

As far as I know, it's only possible with AppleScript. Unfortunately, my AppleScript skills are non-existent. I couldn't find a good working example on how to create an alias on my Desktop.

1) How do I create an alias on my Desktop using AppleScript?

2) How do I insert this AppleScript into my bash script file so that it could work in Terminal?

  • Did Apple not release a new version of that AppleScript editor which would observe your actions and make AppleScripts for you? Even if you needed to tweak them afterwards, such a thing was helpful for me when I was first learning AppleScript in the OS 7 era. Mar 31, 2017 at 3:11

2 Answers 2


osascript will run AppleScript code in your shell. This example uses a HEREDOC to present the code to osascript.

/usr/bin/osascript <<'EOF'
tell application "Finder"
    set myapp to POSIX file "/Applications/Chess.app" as alias
    make new alias to myapp at Desktop
    set name of result to "Chess.app"
end tell

Source- Link


Why not skip the Applescript and just create a symbolic link in bash? It behaves exactly like an alias on the desktop except now you can work with it in bash. See this answer for a breakdown of aliases, hard links and sym links.

So, your command would be:

ln -s /path/to/application/MyApp.app /Users/username/Desktop/MyApp

Where MyApp.app and username is the name of the application and the user respectively.

  • 2
    because symbolic links don't keep track of the linked to file if it moves? Dec 29, 2020 at 18:03
  • 3
    because symbolic links in /Applications don't show up in Spotlight (⌘-Space) but aliases do
    – user98513
    Feb 21, 2022 at 18:35

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