I do want to add file view support for media files to midnight commander and I something that can be called form the command line that would start preview but that will return to my terminal when I press ESC.

Note: I already found half of the solution here http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20040514133013713 - the only problem is that it doesn't close Preview with Escape.

So there are two possible solutions:

  • Find a way to map ESC to Cmd+Q only for Preview (I want a command line install solution)
  • Find a way to open Preview in the special mode used by the Finder (the tiny preview), which by default is closed with a simple Esc.
  • 2
    Related: Simply use open <filename> to open the file in Preview.app.
    – rinogo
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


You could use qlmanage instead.

/usr/bin/qlmanage -p file1.pdf file2.pdf file3.pdf

This will open the files in quicklook.

You can then use escape or the space bar which will close the quicklook previews and be back in terminal since it is the active app.

  • How would I pipe the list of files in the current directory into /usr/bin/qlmanage -p ?
    – chishaku
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 17:08
  • @chishaku "thelist=ls;/usr/bin/qlmanage -p $thelist" but you will have a problem with non escaped file names
    – markhunte
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 17:18
  • 1
    How to remove "debug" mode? -d 1 still shows some debug messages. Commented May 10, 2015 at 21:30
  • 1
    @AntonTarasenko /usr/bin/qlmanage -p file1.pdf file2.pdf file3.pdf >> /dev/null 2>&1
    – rinogo
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 18:25

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