macOS Mojave Seems to Have Fixed the PDF Rendering Problems I Described Last Year

Last year, I blogged twice about serious PDF rendering issues in macOS High Sierra (first post, second post). The problems were very significant for knowledge workers (and serious university students), because the highest quality information tends to be distributed in PDF. And if it’s not in PDF format, it often ought to be converted to PDF to be annotated and delved deeply.

I held off on writing this post because I wanted to be sufficiently confident about the matter. Now, I am happy to report that those PDF rendering problems, which reverberated around the Internet at the time, seem to have gone away with macOS Mojave. I have not experienced them once on Apple’s latest Mac OS.

Some people have reported problems with how macOS Mojave renders PDF fonts on non-retina displays. I currently use a June 2017 MacBook Pro Retina Display, so I can’t speak to those issues—except to say I have not experienced them.

Here are the PDF tools to which I can attest. I mainly use Skim for delving because its annotation capabilities are better than all other PDF apps—for knowledge-intense work, anyway. (But they don’t play nice with iOS, which I really don’t mind because macOS is far superior to iOS for this type of work.) I rarely use Preview. I use PDFPenPro for creating tables of contents on long PDFs.. I don’t use Readdle’s PDF solution yet because it doesn’t support AppleScript.

Annotation and note-taking are skills most people take for granted. They are extremely important for students and knowledge workers; and they are most improvable than most people realize. Cognitive Productivity and Cognitive Productivity with macOS®: 7 Principles for Getting Smarter with Knowledge describe a system for annotating ebooks and PDFs. The books also provide strategies for taking notes about information that is worth mastering.

Published by

Luc P. Beaudoin

Head of CogZest. Author of Cognitive Productivity books. Co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. Adjunct Professor of Cognitive Science & of Education, Simon Fraser University. Why, Where, and What I Write. See About Me for more information.

One thought on “macOS Mojave Seems to Have Fixed the PDF Rendering Problems I Described Last Year”

  1. HI, Luc,

    I’ve had serious PDF rendering issues on Mojave on Preview in 2-page view.

    I wasn’t aware that these have been fixed.

    I took a look at a Mojave machine at the Apple Visitors Center in Cupertino in December 2018 and it seemed to have the same PDF rendering issues (font shimmer in and out of focus, appear blurry and visibly ‘shift’) .

    I wound up switching back to El Capitan.

    When did you notice that the PDF rendering issues had resolved? Is it safe to switch to Mojave now, do you feel?

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