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The terminal is very fast and convenient way to quickly access directories and files (faster than find and click on the directory).

One thing that it cannot show in text-mode is "pictures".

What is a best way to view pictures (like you see images thumbnail in Nautilus) when you are working in the terminal (e.g. command nautilus or any program - but should be fast and convenient)?

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33 Answers 33

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If you have ffmpeg installed, you can try the command ffplay [/path/to/your/image] &>/dev/null

&>/dev/null ignores the text output that's probably irrelevant if you just want to see the image.

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feh.

To determine the fastest, we must measure the time. Here are my times for opening and displaying a 700x500 pixel png benchmark image. I took 10 samples for each program. I'm using Ubuntu22.04 from Win11/WSLg with a 12th Gen Intel core i7-12800H. All times are in milliseconds.

Program avg min max stdev Measurement method comment
feh 19.9 11 24 5.1 user time WINNER
catimg 24.3 23 26 1.0 realtime low resolution, in-terminal
dillo 27.0 16 36 6.8 user time but must manually maximize window
tiv default 105.0 95 113 5.4 realtime 5x10px thumbnail in terminal. 390MB brew download!
tiv -h 50 -w 150 132.3 117 156 11.1 realtime comperable to catimg but with compression artifacts. 390MB brew download!
eog 333.3 206 631 158.3 user time yet nice
picture-tube 1377.2 1321 1448 43.2 wristwatch terrible image quality, opens seperate window
gimp 1422.1 1333 1483 57.5 user time+system time opens gimp, then loads image. These may be underestimated by 30-50%.
nautilus 2633.3 2000 3500 522.0 wristwatch only get thunbnail
ffplay 3055.6 2500 4000 583.3 wristwatch needs pipe to dev/null
display 25925.6 57 98000 34239.5 user time, wristwatch UI buttons don't work
cacaview 317888.9 5000 2748000 911341.2 wristwatch terrible image quality, opens seperate window
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If using gnome it is as simple as typing

$ gnome-open /path/to/photo

and it opens the image using the default image viewer that you have in your machine.

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    Already posted a few months ago: unix.stackexchange.com/a/248179/70524
    – muru
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 10:52
  • this method will be very slow, if you have many images in the same folder with that image.
    – neouyghur
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 9:09
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