If I change the contents of a PDF file that is open in Preview, it automatically reloads it when I switch to the program. Is there a way to make it do this without explicitly switching to the program?

The reason is that I am writing LaTeX, and I would like to see the updated PDF, but switching between Preview and back is a little annoying each time. For now, I have a line in my Makefile that just does

open $(FILEPREFIX).pdf
open -a iTerm

every time it builds the document (I use emacs in the terminal as my text editor), but even this is a little annoying, especially since I would like to write a hook in emacs that automatically builds the document at regular intervals, and this would cause it to jump away from the editor.

P.S. I know that Skim can do this. But I've found its autoupdating to be unreliable (i.e., sometimes it just stops doing it altogether, and I have to manually reload the document; if someone knows how to fix that, I would appreciate that as well).

  • This is the only I've found. I think Skim works well, I don't have any problem (if you explain what is exactly what happens to you I'll try to help).
    – Manuel
    Dec 8, 2012 at 23:53
  • I think the issue with Skim might have something to do with the file being updated too fast. I run latex two or three times in the Makefile to get the references right, and by the time Skim reads it from the first update, it has already been updated a second time. But that's just a guess (it usually works, but invariably, at some point it will stop working until I refresh manually).
    – asmeurer
    Dec 9, 2012 at 0:28
  • Also, the "updating" dialog that pops up in Skim is a little annoying, especially with running latex several times per make.
    – asmeurer
    Dec 9, 2012 at 0:29
  • Check Scribo too. Dec 9, 2012 at 12:34
  • Can Scribo work just as a PDF viewer? I appreciate that it's nice for editing LaTeX, but believe me, nothing can beat Emacs + AuCTeX.
    – asmeurer
    Dec 10, 2012 at 3:45

1 Answer 1


I have never had problems with Skim not being able to keep up, but I use latex-makefile which generates temporary PDFs under other names until the very last pass. Perhaps you could try using that and see if it works, or adjusting your own Makefile similarly?

  • Good idea. It should be a trivial change to make it do this.
    – asmeurer
    Dec 12, 2012 at 20:02

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