Are there any image viewers which will auto reload the view when the image file is written to?

I normally use debian variations of linux however appreciate all answers related to any "Unix & Linux" environments.

  • This image is very lacking in Quality. No one knows what system you use. Nov 13, 2014 at 18:13
  • 1
    Please always include your OS. Solutions very often depend on the Operating System being used. Are you using Unix, Linux, BSD, OSX, something else? Which version?
    – terdon
    Nov 13, 2014 at 18:28

10 Answers 10


The old Gnome image viewer Eye of Gnome seems to automatically reload the image when it is edit in a program such as Gimp. There is also a reload plugin so to you can use a button to reload the image:
enter image description here

Works in version 3.8.2

  • 2
    Unfortunately it resets the zoom setting every time it reloads, which makes this impractical when working with very small images. Dec 16, 2019 at 19:27

feh can reload a file on a periodic timer.

An example of the command: feh --reload 0.1 picture.png.

It reloads without being the active window, which is really nice. To make it look "hacker" use -x.

Solution found in http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=255652.

  • 2
    Note that --reload reloads the image even if it hasn't changed. This is highly inefficient. Fortunately, feh now has an --auto-reload switch which uses inotify. Dec 16, 2019 at 20:01
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    But note that --auto-reload seems to be disabled in the Debian build, as indicated by the manpage... Aug 21, 2020 at 14:07

KDE's okular does that (at least with PDFs which are completely replaced).

  • Okular works fine as a general image viewer for this purpose too (with auto-refresh). Nov 24, 2015 at 12:55
  • Unfortunately Okular does not understand image formats such as SVG. Dec 16, 2019 at 19:29

For Linux systems, eog (eye of gnome) and eom (eye of mate) both ask you if you want to refresh if the image is changed.

The evince PDF viewer updates automatically if the PDF is changed.

  • 2
    My version of eog refreshes automatically, which is what I want.
    – AnnanFay
    Nov 14, 2014 at 11:43
  • Eog has a really unfortunate behavior. Suppose you're using it to view a file, then you delete the file and create a new version of the file with the same name. For this application, we would like it either to blank the window or leave it frozen on the original version, and then refresh when the new version appears. What it does instead is to pick some other file (I'm guessing the next one in alphabetical order of the same type) and start displaying that instead. Okular seems better for this purpose.
    – user39248
    May 29, 2021 at 19:07

The --watch/-T option enables reloading in qiv.


If you're on OSX, Xee3 automatically reloads on file changes.


https://gitlab.com/dknof/siv does what you want.

Here's how I built it:

$ sudo apt-get install clang libgtkmm-3.0-dev ccache
...output omitted...
$ mkdir ~/src; cd ~/src
$ git clone https://gitlab.com/dknof/siv.git
...output omitted...
$ cd siv/src
$ make

And here's how I use it:

$ pwd
$ ./siv ~/docs/my_image.png

Then, whenever I write to ~/docs/my_image.png, siv automatically re-loads the image immediately.

I got this answer from here: https://askubuntu.com/a/783622/177787

  • Maybe it's great if you can read German. Dec 16, 2019 at 19:58
  • 1
    I do not read German, and the siv program is still great. My answer includes all the information required to use it. I think it displays error messages in German, but it doesn't display any text when it works.
    – daveloyall
    Dec 16, 2019 at 21:45
  • A software recommendation request generally implies that the recommended software is accompanied with comprehensible documentation and other related resources. What if you need to use other features, or run into a problem building it, or need to file a bug, or make a patch (even the source code comments are in German!)? Considering that there exists software solving this task (as in other answers) localized in a language comprehensible to this website's visitors, this seems like a poor answer. Sorry. Dec 17, 2019 at 0:38


Nobody has mentioned geeqie? This is my goto image viewer and is very powerful and fast and it will auto reload the image upon file change.


Preview.app does what you want. (If you click on the desktop, and the back, the image is refreshed.)

  • Is there any way to make it reload without needing to go back and forth?
    – AnnanFay
    Nov 14, 2014 at 11:42

Sublime text also allows you to do this. Just open the image and it will auto-refresh without any additional settings.

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