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I want to see pdf files available on our cluster rather than copying them into my local machine and than visualize. Please tell me how can i do this.

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See also unix.stackexchange.com/questions/36201/… – Marco Jun 22 '12 at 12:03
If you're connectiong to the cluster with ssh, I recommend using SSHFS. It provides a common solution to all “How do I do X with remote files” issues. – Gilles Jun 23 '12 at 0:49

In many systems less uses lesspipe, which can handle pdftotext automatically. Therefore, you can immediately try

 less file.pdf

which will show the output of pdftotext in less.

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I guess, it is not possible to see PDF file in terminal but you can check it's content by converting PDF file to text. You can do this as:

pdftotext a.pdf

It will produce a.txt file which you can read into VIM.

For ubuntu-variant, this binary is available in following package.


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When I want to "view a pdf file in terminal", that for me means that I want to actually see an uncompressed PDF, I do:

pdftk in.pdf output out.pdf uncompress

I always wondered why both less in.pdf and less out.pdf give me just text strings in the PDF (and excluding the text-only PDF commands I'd expect in out.pdf).

Well, that happens because of the lesspipe assuming I want pdftotext being run first - and since here I don't, I have to specifically disable the lesspipe by setting LESSOPEN environment variable to nothing; that is:

$ LESSOPEN="" less out.pdf

And finally, I can view the uncompressed PDF code using less

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One more solution is to use command gnome-open

gnome-open youfile.pdf

Provided that you have login your server with -X option (ssh -X)

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How does this view the PDF file in the terminal? – Michael Kjörling Feb 27 '13 at 12:27
Not on terminal, but can view a pdf on issuing command from terminal. – bioinformatician Feb 28 '13 at 12:40
While that is true, the OP did specifically ask for a terminal-based approach. – Michael Kjörling Feb 28 '13 at 20:52

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