┌── ln(1) link, ln -- make links
│   ┌── Create a symbolic link.
│   │                         ┌── the optional path to the intended symlink
│   │                         │   if omitted, symlink is in . named as destination
│   │                         │   can use . or ~ or other relative paths
│   │                   ┌─────┴────────┐
ln -s /path/to/original /path/to/symlink
              └── the path to the original file/folder
                  can use . or ~ or other relative paths

Found this useful method to explain Linux Commands, but have no idea how @grg did it. Manually is very time consuming. Is there a tool to do stuff like this?

Source: How can I create a symbolic link in Terminal?

  • OP's Profile: apple.stackexchange.com/users/37797/grg Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 12:39
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    github.com/vain/explain Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 13:19
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    @JBis I recommend adding an answer, which will likely be accepted. It would be best to include a sample or something, to make a substantial answer.
    – jpaugh
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 20:36
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    @jpaugh Will do. Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 22:19
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    Are you running Linux on an Apple device? These commands work on macOS too (For example, macOS's ls comes from BSD Unix not Linux). So if you use macOS or similar, pls remove the word 'Linux' from your question.
    – Qsigma
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 14:08

3 Answers 3


That's my answer! I did it manually, but used PressAndHold.app (built into macOS) to speed up entering the box drawing characters. The text was abridged from the man page manually.

By customising PressAndHold.app keys, basically editing /System/L*/Inp*/Pr*/*/P*/*/*/R*/ to add box drawing characters, I can type the characters directly into the text field whether here on SE or elsewhere.

Add the following to your language's keyboard file within that folder, such as ‘Keyboard-en.plist’ for an English keyboard layout. Open the plist with a text editor to paste the XML below, or open with Xcode and manually create the dictionary, pasting values as necessary. Replace ‘f’ with the key you wish to use. You can then insert box drawing characters by holding down the key and then selecting a number, or if you have a Touch Bar the keys appear there too with High Sierra.

<!-- f: box drawing characters -->
  <string>─ │ ┌ ┐ └ ┘ ├ ┬ ┤ ┴ ┼</string>
  <string>─ │ ┌ ┐ └ ┘ ├ ┬ ┤ ┴ ┼</string>

  • Worked like a charm! After disabling SIP on my MacOS Mojave in recovery mode, I was able to edit the Keyboard-en.plist file. Simply copied the string tags and replaced those with the keybinding for "z" and worked ! Thanks a lot man. It will help a lot more people from now on. You are a gem! :) Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 23:09
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    <string>─ │ ┌ ┐ └ ┘ ├ ┬ ┤ ┴ ┼</string> shows 11 box-drawing characters however, the picture of the PressAndHold.app interface only shows 9 of them. How do you access the last two, 10 and 11 ? Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 13:43
  • @user3439894 By clicking the down arrow on the tooltip. First 9: i.imgur.com/SK6I47e.png After Clicking down arrow Last 2: i.imgur.com/yM5xoRC.png Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 17:12
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    @Hardeep Singh, thanks for the information! It would have been nice if the original answer had included such important information. Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 18:08
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    @user3439894 I cut it out of my screenshot because the page switcher is only in Mojave (High Sierra should just show all the keys in a line) and because the current button in Mojave looks wrong (a beta bug I’m sure will be rectified).
    – grg
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 18:10

You likely want to use asciiflow.com

I can't really add anymore to this answer ;)

I've since found that the explaination text seems to be taken from ExplainShell.com

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    Welcome to AD! Just as a helpful observation, you're answer is likely to garner increased interest if you explain how the solution you propose answers the question.
    – Allan
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 14:17
  • ASCII Flow looks good. I found out that the solution provided by @JBis is much convenient and I have more control over the character sets where as in ASCII flow I can only use hyphens and "+" symbols. Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 16:36

I know one site that does that and it is https://explainshell.com/. By the way I've just realize that explainShell code is available on GitHub:
I do not know how they technically end up doing that, but they are using an opensource project name "Show The Doc" available here:

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