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I want to update in the background from the command line without losing focus of my current window. I know that I can use the following to open/update the view of a file, but then I lose focus to the

open -a Preview foo.pdf

I guess there might be some clever AppleScript commands to do so but so far I didn't find the right one.

Alternatively I would be interested into transfering the focus back to my current application directly after the update. I need this in order to update's view of a PDF file through a vi autocmd after I update the PDF file according to changes in a TeX file I am editing. Here is an example of what I want to achieve but using Ubuntu and evince.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Meanwhile i was told the solution by a nice person called Guillermo commenting on my blog. The solution is to use:

open -g -a Preview foo.pdf

to update the pdf in the background.

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Nice. After you posted your question I experimented a bit with AppleScript, as "all" it takes for Preview to update an open document is just give it focus. (Like: open a PDF, change it using some other program, and then go back to Preview: it will update it right away.) Hence, no need to manually reload the document by calling open, if one could just, somehow, fool Preview into thinking it has focus. But I did NOT find any solution. (Even more, I discovered that Preview is not that easily scripted, if at all...) – Arjan Mar 29 '10 at 9:24
If I try this on Lion the PDF still isn't updated until it gets focus. Any idea how to fix it? (BTW: Your blog gives an error) – Alessandro Vermeulen Dec 13 '11 at 12:24
doesn't work for me either (Lion) – romeovs Dec 19 '11 at 11:38
I just tested on Lion and you are correct preview does not show the new content until focused. So this solution does not work in Lion. – snies Jan 16 '12 at 23:28

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