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I have opened a PDF file with the document viewer from the GUI. Is there any way to get the path of this file in a terminal/script?

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file->properties will show you the current path of the opened file. –  Avinash Raj May 11 '14 at 5:19
I want to have that in terminal and not using mouse –  lion May 11 '14 at 5:59
If you open file in terminal, you already now file location. Or we do not understand each other? –  c0rp May 11 '14 at 6:11
no open file not from terminal and after that track PDF from terminal and so say the file location about track I should say some thing like process like ps command –  lion May 11 '14 at 6:18
Your question don't reflect what you are saying in the comments, please clarify your question to reflect what you want exactly. –  i08in May 11 '14 at 6:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted


for ip in $(pgrep -x evince); do lsof -F +p $ip|grep -i '^n.*\.pdf$'|sed s/^n//g; done


Document Viewer is the friendly name for the program /usr/bin/evince. So first we need to find the process ID (PID) of evince:

$ pgrep -x evince

To list all files opened by this PID we will use the lsof command (note that we'll need to repeat this for every PID in case we have more than one instance of evince running)

$ lsof -F +p 22291
some other files opened

Next we'll grep only for pdfs and discard the irrelevant n at start of line:

$ lsof -Fn +p 22291 | grep -i '^n.*\.pdf$' | sed s/^n//g

Finally to combine everything in one bash line:

for ip in $(pgrep -x evince); do lsof -F +p $ip|grep -i '^n.*\.pdf$'|sed s/^n//g; done

This one-liner was inspired from the answer of terdon which is also very interesting in the way it solves the same problem.

If you are interested in what n in lsof -Fn is for, here is quote from man lsof about the -F option:

       When the -F option is specified, lsof produces output that is  suitable
       for  processing by another program - e.g, an awk or Perl script, or a C
       These  are  the  fields  that  lsof will produce.  The single character
       listed first is the field identifier.
            n    file name, comment, Internet address

so -Fn, is saying show me file name, comment, Internet address

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what a nice answers –  lion May 11 '14 at 10:31

Another approach would be something like

$ for ip in $(pgrep -x evince); do lsof -F +p $ip  | grep -oP '^n\K.*\.pdf$'; done


In general, whenever you want to search fro a process, pgrep is better than ps -ef | grep process since the latter will also match the grep process itself. For example:

$ ps -ef | grep emacs
terdon    6647  6424 23 16:26 pts/14   00:00:02 emacs
terdon    6813  6424  0 16:26 pts/14   00:00:00 grep --color emacs
$ pgrep emacs

The -x option returns only processes whose entire name matches the string passed. This is needed because evince also starts a daemon (evinced) and that will also be matched without the -x (the -l is to print the name as well as the PID):

$ pgrep -l evince
4606 evince
4611 evinced
4613 evince
$ pgrep -lx evince
4606 evince
4613 evince

So, the for loop will run lsof on each of the PIDs returned by pgrep. These are then passed through grep. The -o option means "print only the matched portion of the line" and the -P activates Perl Compatible Regular Expressions which lets us use \K. In PCREs, \K means "discard everything matched before the \K ". In other words, since I am using-o, it will match lines beginning withnand ending with.pdfbut it will not print the matchedn`. The result is that only the file's name is printed.

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You don't need to specify even the filename of the pdf opened through Document Viewer. This below command will display the paths of all the pdf files opened through Document Viewer.evince is the actual command to open Document Viewer via terminal.

ps -ef | grep evince | sed -n '/.*\.pdf/p' | sed 's/.*evince \(.*\)$/\1/g'


$ ps -ef | grep evince | sed -n '/.*\.pdf/p' | sed 's/.*evince \(.*\)$/\1/g'

But all the credit goes to @Corp.

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