I am a new Linux bash shell command line user. How can I view a text file using command line on a Linux or Unix-like operating systems? How can I view (open) binary files such as PDF or images on a Linux or Unix like system from command line? Also, How do I list the files in a directory stored on my Unix box?
You can use any one of the following command to view a text file or any other files such as PDF, doc, image, video, music/mp3 and more.
Linux And Unix Command To View File
- cat command
- less command
- more command
- gnome-open command or xdg-open command (generic version) or kde-open command (kde version) – Linux gnome/kde desktop command to open any file.
- open command – OS X specific command to open any file.
View a text file called foo.txt on a Linux or Unix-like systems
Open the Terminal application and type the following command to view a text file called foo.txt using cat command:
nameserver 18.104.22.168 nameserver 22.214.171.124
You can also use more or less command as follows:
less filename more filename-here
gnome-open: Open files and directories/urls
The gnome-open command opens a file (or a directory or URL), just as if you had double-clicked the file’s icon. The syntax is:
gnome-open file.pdf gnome-open foo-bar.mp3 gnome-open mars-video.mp4 gnome-open https://sxi.io/
See our faq “Open Gnome Nautilus File Manager For The Current Linux / Unix Command Line” for more information.
If you are using KDE desktop try kde-open command as follows:
kde-open file.pdf kde-open foo-bar.mp3 kde-open mars-video.mp4 kde-open http://sxi.io/
Another option is to try out xdg-open command on Linux and Unix desktop:
xdg-open file.pdf xdg-open foo-bar.mp3 xdg-open mars-video.mp4 xdg-open http://sxi.io/
If you are using OS X Unix try open command as follows:
open file.pdf open sai-ram-bhjan.mp3 open mars-video.mp4 open http://sxi.io/
How do I list the files in a directory on Unix?
To see or list the files in a directory on Linux, run ls command:
If you would like to see and list files in another directory, use the ls along with the path to the directory:
ls -l /etc/
## just list resolv.conf file #
ls -l /etc/resolv.conf
Common ls command options
The syntax is:
ls [options] file
Where options for ls are:
- -l : Use a long listing format to display Linux/Unix file names.
- -a : Do not ignore entries starting with . (period). Display all hidden files.
- -d : List Linux directories themselves, not their contents
- -R : List sub-directories recursively on Linux
- -F : Append indicator for file. For example, / for directories, * for executable Linux files, @ for symbolic links and more