pdfopen, pdfclose - open or close a PDF file viewer
pdfopen [ options ] [ --file ] file.pdf
pdfclose [ --file ] file.pdf
-h, --help, -?
output help and exit.
-v, --version, -V
output the version number and exit.
-p <n>, --page <n>
when starting the viewer, display page <n> of the document
(notes: not all viewers support this feature, and even in those
cases this option only has effect when the document is ini-
tially loaded). This option is over-ridden by -g.
-g <named destination>, --goto <named destination>
when starting the viewer, display the page of the document con-
taining the named destination (notes: not all viewers support
this feature, and even in those cases this option only has
effect when the document is initially loaded).
after sending commands to the PDF viewer, attempt to reset the
input focus to the window which had focus before the commands
-viewer, --viewer <ar9|ar9-tab|ar8|ar7|ar5|xpdf|evince>
use (respectively) Adobe Reader 9 (in a new window), Adobe
Reader 9 (in a new tab of a running AR9, if any), Adobe Reader
8, Adobe Reader 7, Adobe Reader 5, xpdf or evince as the PDF
viewer program. Adobe Reader 9 (in a new window) is the
At certain points of TeX document preparation, many people repeat a
"edit-compile-view" cycle. Since PDF viewers such as Adobe's Acrobat
Reader ("acroread") do not automatically refresh the display when the
PDF file changes, this cycle can be more cumbersome than desired. The
pdfopen program provides the ability to automate the reloading of the
PDF document when it is changed.
Note: there seems to be little need for pdfclose under GNU/Linux, since
(unlike the situation for MS windows) acroread does not lock the PDF
file, which would prevent pdftex (or a DVI to PDF converter) from cre-
ating a new version of the PDF output file. However, pdfclose is pro-
vided in case someone finds it useful.
pdfopen searches for an instance of the specified (or default) PDF
viewer displaying the specified PDF file. If there is already an
instance of the given viewer displaying the given file, the viewer is
instructed to reload the file. If no such instance is found, pdfopen
attempts to run the specified viewer on the specified document.
The default viewer is "acroread", which could start any one of a number
of versions of Acrobat Reader, depending on what is installed on your
system. However, the commands to reload the current document vary from
one version of acroread to another; consequently, if you are using a
version of acroread other than AR9, you should explicitly specify the
This version of pdfopen accepts the following viewer options:
ar9, ar9-tab, ar8, ar7, ar5, xpdf, and evince.
The difference between ar9 and ar9-tab is significant when there is no
instance of AR9 already displaying the requested document. In this
situation, while ar9 will request acroread to create a new instance of
acroread (and thus open a new window) by using the -openInNewInstance
argument, ar9-tab starts acroread without this argument; if there is
already an instance of acroread running, a new tab will be opened in an
pdfclose searches for one of the above PDF viewers displaying the given
file and instructs the viewer to "close" the window. In most cases,
the PDF viewer continues to run, possibly now displaying just a blank
window. (This behaviour varies somewhat from one PDF viewer to
PORTABILITY AND AVAILABILITY
These programs have been tested on Slackware64 Version 14.1 and a few
other versions / distributions of GNU/Linux. The code is reasonably
generic and should work out of the box using most recent X11 implemen-
tations. (Reports to the contrary are welcome, particularly if they
come with robust fixes.)
These programs are designed for X11-based systems. If you somehow find
compiled versions of these programs on a system using another window
system, they are very unlikely to be of any use to you.
Source and binaries of the programs can be downloaded from CTAN://sup-
port/xpdfopen/ (e.g., http://mirror.ctan.org/support/xpdfopen).
If you use ar9-tab to reload the PDF document and the instance of
acroread with the given document is currently displaying some other
document, the command causes your document to be displayed, but not
pdfopen works by looking for a window with a name (window title) match-
ing that expected for the given viewer and document. If for some rea-
son your viewer's window name is not as expected, pdfopen may not work
With at least AR9 and some window managers, using pdfopen to reload the
document gives focus to the acroread window, even though the mouse cur-
sor is not necessarily in that window. This can be annoying. The
-reset_focus option can be used to deal with this problem.
This manual page was written by Jim Diamond <Jim.Diamond@acadiau.ca>.
I am the current maintainer of the X11 versions of pdfopen and pdf-
close. Report any bugs you find to me. Feature enhancement requests
are welcome, coded enhancements even more so.
Past authors: Fabrice Popineau wrote the MS-windows versions of pdfopen
and pdfclose upon which these programs were originally based. Taco
Hoekwater created the GNU/Linux versions, up to Version 0.61 (including
some documentation which inspired parts of this man page). Peter Bre-
itenlohner has contributed both code and suggestions to versions later
pdfopen 0.86 2014-05-24 PDFOPEN(1)
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