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Why are aliases the same size as the original files?

ramparts

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2008
173
1
I've created aliases of some images so I can move them to different folders without duplicating the actual images, for purposes of saving hard disk space. Yet all of the aliases are the exact same size as the original images. Why is this?

I'm running Lion.
 

ramparts

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2008
173
1
I right-clicked each file in Finder and clicked Make Alias, or (same thing) highlighted the file and did CMD-L.
 
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kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
How are you finding the alias file size? CMD+I on the alias?
 
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ramparts

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2008
173
1
Attached. It's the same size as the original.
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2012-01-03 at 1.53.18 PM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2012-01-03 at 1.53.18 PM.jpg
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talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,716
277
Oregon
My understanding is that icons and preview images are stored in aliases. This could explain why an alias of a photo is so big. Could you just use an alias of the containing folder instead? That's what I do. You can also create hard or soft links at the system level (the command prompt) which have little to know size but can't be created in Finder and have some other limitations.
 
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ramparts

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2008
173
1
Could you just use an alias of the containing folder instead? That's what I do.

No, it wouldn't work, I'm trying to take a subset of photos in my Pictures folder and use them for the random desktop wallpaper, so an alias of the whole folder would be too much (and in that case I could just point the desktop preferences to that folder anyway). It's only a couple of hundred MB, I'll live.
 
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kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
No, it wouldn't work, I'm trying to take a subset of photos in my Pictures folder and use them for the random desktop wallpaper, so an alias of the whole folder would be too much (and in that case I could just point the desktop preferences to that folder anyway). It's only a couple of hundred MB, I'll live.

Create a folder within Pictures called 'Wallpapers' and then create an alias of that..
 
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ramparts

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2008
173
1
Create a folder within Pictures called 'Wallpapers' and then create an alias of that..

Obviously I could do that but I want to keep all my photos in the same folder, not put some of them in a subfolder and the rest in the main folder. I guess I'm out of luck on this one.
 
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matrix07

macrumors 603
Jun 24, 2010
6,057
2,731
This is weird... or not. I tried my 7.4 MB. JPEG file and the alias is only 1.9 MB. I tried with 537 KB. JPEG and the alias is also 1.9 MB. Seem like you just incidentally hit its sweet spot there.
 
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theSeb

Suspended
Aug 10, 2010
7,165
1,419
Poole, England
I would suggest using symbolic links instead of aliases. The only disadvantage is that if you move the files, then the sym links don't update by themselves, like aliases do. Symbolic links take up a couple of kilo bytes.
 
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