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)?


33 Answers 33


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.



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

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.

  • 4
    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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