I'm looking for a PDF reader that I can use over SSH in a terminal, and have it running in screen. Does such a thing exist?

Ideally I'd like at least a less-esque pager but with some PDF formatting, page numbering, and maybe even navigation through links in the document. Vim integration would be awesome but I'm afraid I'm asking for too much with that. I'd love if you proved me wrong, though.

3 Answers 3


I don't know of anything better than using pdftotext, but that and less work in a pinch. There are other converters, too. Maybe pdftohtml and lynx/links/elinks/links2/w3m (textmode browsers) could "render" some stuff better.


All I can find is a number of rather hackish solutions that involve installing a tool called pdftohtml or pdftotext and then viewing the resultant files.

So make sure whatever flavour of linux you are using has pdftohtml then

pdftohtml ch.01.pdf

Followed by

lynx ch.o1.html

(Found at http://bassemreda.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/console-pdf-viewer/)

Googling for console pdf viewer only returns pages that state that there is no console pdf viewer and the best you can do is either convert it to html (as above) to keep the formatting or extract the text from it.


There's a project called fbida:

The fbida project contains a few applications for viewing and editing images, with the main focus being photos. The applications are:

fbi – This is a image viewer for the linux framebuffer console.

fbgs – A wrapper script for viewing ps/pdf files on the framebuffer console using fbi.


  • Looks nice, but I can't think of a way to use framebuffer over SSH.. At least not any easier than it would be to set up full-blown X forwarding.
    – jho
    Mar 25, 2011 at 10:02

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