Q:  How can I create a link in org-mode to a specific page of a PDF file, which can be opened (in either Skim or Adobe) with a mouse-click?

* My example heading. :tag:
  [[pdf:/path/to/file.pdf#105][My description.]]

3 Answers 3


On OSX (now macOS), you can simply use org-mac-link.el, it supports Skim and Adobe Acrobat Pro. To use, open pdf file in Skim and go to the page you want to link, then type M-x org-mac-grab-link from Emacs, it should insert an org link (like the following) at point.

[[skim:///Users/xcy/Downloads/calccard.pdf::2][calccard.pdf, p. 2]]

then when you click the link, the pdf file will be opened in Skim and goto page 2, no matter if Skim is running.

You can get org-mac-link.el from

  • org-mac-link on Melpa
  • org-plus-contrib on Org Elpa
  • Org Mode's git repo

unless you install org-mac-link on Melpa via package.el, you have to autoload org-mac-grab-link etc or require org-mac-link.el somewhere by yourself.

  • Thank you for the referral to the org-mac-link library, which I was unaware of. It contains some interesting ideas and may become my preferred method in the future, but I would like some time to try it out and see how I like it. At this time, I am leaning in favor of continuing to use # to separate the page number from the path instead of :: and I like not having to put an extra // before the absolute path. With all that being said, I look forward to playing with the org-mac-link library in the future.
    – lawlist
    Feb 3, 2017 at 1:55

The following answer is for Skim on OSX, and it utilizes applescript. Skim does not have any command-line options to open a PDF file to a specific page, unless it is a forward-search situation dealing with a TeX file and the built-in Skim displayline utility.

Example heading in org-mode:

* My example heading. :tag:
  [[pdf:/path/to/file.pdf#105][My description.]]

The code:

(require 'org)

(org-add-link-type "pdf" 'org-pdf-open nil)

(defun org-pdf-open (link)
"Where page number is 105, the link should look like:
[[pdf:/path/to/file.pdf#105][My description.]]"
  (let* ((path+line (split-string link "#"))
         (pdf-file (car path+line))
         (base-filename (file-name-nondirectory pdf-file))
         (page (car (cdr path+line)))
            "tell document \"%s\" of application \"Skim\" to go to page %s"
            base-filename page))
         (skim-program "/Applications/Skim.app/Contents/MacOS/Skim"))
      (start-process "skim-process" nil "open" "-a" skim-program pdf-file)
      `(lambda (p e) (when (= 0 (process-exit-status p))
        (when ,page ;; just in case user wants to omit the page number from the link
          (start-process "goto-page" nil "osascript" "-e" ,script)))))))

This is what I use for evince on Linux (a modified version of lawlist's answer):

(org-add-link-type "pdf" 'org-pdf-open nil)

(defun org-pdf-open (link)
  "Where page number is 105, the link should look like:
   [[pdf:/path/to/file.pdf#page=105][My description.]]"
  (let* ((path+page (split-string link "#page="))
         (pdf-file (car path+page))
         (page (car (cdr path+page))))
    (start-process "view-pdf" nil "evince" "--page-index" page pdf-file)))

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