12

Since OS X 10.12 (Sierra), the built-in Preview, but also many other PDF Viewers on OS X (such as Skim) show a number of problems, among them the following rendering issue:

  • The page is first rendered in low-res with blurry text and graphics.
  • About one second (!) later, the page is rendered in high fidelity.
  • The display "wobbles", as text and graphics on the high-fidelity page is about one or two pixels up.

Example code:

\documentclass{beamer}
\begin{document}
\begin{frame}{Duke says}
  \begin{itemize}
  \item<+-> It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing
        \item<+-> (doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah)
        \item<+-> It don't mean a thing all you got to do is sing
        \item<+-> (doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah)
 \end{itemize}

\end{frame}

\end{document}

While one may consider this acceptable when reading documents on screen, this is a show stopper for presenting beamer presentations with animations. The low-res display and wobbling makes the audience sick, while the 1 second rendering time makes PDF-based animations impossible.

So I am looking for a PDF Viewer for OS X that does not suffer this problems, but that a suitable for presenting beamer-based slide shows. Requirements:

  1. page-wise full-screen/presenting mode with just the page and nothing else on the screen
  2. crisp and high-fidelity display
  3. quick rendering time

Unfortunately, the root of the problem is in Apple's own PDFKit library that is the base for most PDF viewers on OS X. So I am looking for PDF viewers that are not based on PDFKit, but fulfil the requirements above.

I am aware, of course, of Acrobat Reader DC. However, I do not particularly like its font rendering (Req 2) and I would also prefer something more light weight. I also have PDFExpert, which also is not PDFKit-based, however, does not support a presenting mode (Req 1).

  • I have an even later version of MacOS Sierra (10.13.4), use preview regularly (at least twice a week) for beamer presentations and do (nor did) not have any of the issues described here. – user121799 May 13 '18 at 22:03
  • @marmot: That sounds promising, as I am on 10.13.4 as well. I have added a short example. Even with this simple example the effect is visible after a page flip for 0.5 to 1 second on my MBP 13-inch, 2016. – Daniel May 14 '18 at 12:22
  • Hmmh, in your document I get some really weird effect when viewing it in the full screen (not slide show) mode: the 2nd and 3rd slides are jammed together on one slide. However, for my own presentations I always use full screen and never had issues (even though they have up to 1000 frames). – user121799 May 14 '18 at 16:21
  • Does this also happen for other latex generated documents or just beamer? – user36296 May 14 '18 at 16:45
  • 1
    related question: apple.stackexchange.com/q/325622/57046 – user36296 May 17 '18 at 16:59
11

The delay in rendering pdfs with preview.app can be avoided with the following apps (they are all available through homebrew):

Additional Remarks by Daniel

  • For those who prefer MacPorts: Currently MacPorts provides only the X11 versions, which do not work well for presenting full-screen mode. The homebrew variants are native. You can install them without doing any harm to your MacPorts setup.
  • The graphical Présentation.app and the console-based pdfpc assume a dual-screen setup and provide a presenter display with the next slide, elapsed time and so on. Both internally pre-render the PDF pages. Depending on the complexity of the slides (transparencies have quite an impact), this may take a while. However, the presentation output is superb.
  • Apparently, xpdf does not do pre-rendering. While it is fast in general, switching to a new slide causes flicker.
  • Thanks! I have added some additional information from our discussion into the answer. Hope, that is okay for you. – Daniel May 16 '18 at 12:46
  • I will now delete the outdated comments. – Daniel May 16 '18 at 12:46
  • @DG' Would you like to add this also as answer to apple.stackexchange.com/q/325622/57046? If you don't want to join ask.different, I could offer to write a community wiki answer there. – user36296 May 17 '18 at 17:44
  • @samcarter Daniel already added the answer, so I don't need to anymore – DG' May 17 '18 at 19:48
  • @DG' Good to hear that the question on ask.different got an answer! – user36296 May 17 '18 at 19:55

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