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open is a Terminal command used to tell Mac OS X to open a file, as if it had been doubleclicked in the Finder. open is useful when editing various text files, as it uses the default text or plist applications, such as BBEdit. This is often easier than using a built-in terminal editor, such as pico. Alternate applications may be specified with the -a argument. See the man page for more details.


To open a jpeg in Preview (or whatever the default jpg viewer is). Since the pathname contains spaces, the entire path must be enclosed in quotes (or the spaces need to be escaped)

 open "/Library/Application Support/Apple/iChat Icons/Tribal Masks/Rukai Mask.gif"

To open Adium's preference file in the Property List Editor if installed.

 open ~/Library/Preferences/com.adiumX.adiumX.plist

To open MacRumor's Guides


Man Page Excerpt

The open command opens a file (or a directory or URL), just as if you had double-clicked the file's icon. If no application name is specified, the default application as determined via LaunchServices is used to open the specified files.