Preview is great for working with documents, but it isn't very good at handling large textbook navigation and reading. Performance is surprisingly bad, especially compared to viewing the exact same ebook in iBooks on my iPad. It can't seem to figure out when I want to turn the page and when I want to pan around the current page, even when it's zoomed out completely. Zooming is slow and choppy, and can even crash the app on occasion (this is on a brand new MacBook Pro).

It's also quite difficult to open and close the table of contents. Cmd+option+3 to open, cmd+option+1 to close? That's pretty janky, considering I'm opening it almost every time I open the textbook. The shortcut to go to a specific page is also fairly complicated (cmd+option+g), and as far as I can tell there is no way to tell Preview to start numbering pages at a certain point, so all the page numbers are off due to the copyright, table of contents, etc.

Is there another app out there that solves these problems?

  • 1
    Did you try with iBooks on the Mac? – nohillside Sep 8 '15 at 7:51
  • If I remember correctly, opening a PDF in the Mac version of iBooks just causes it open in Preview anyway. – calum_b Sep 8 '15 at 17:17
  • Ah, right you are – nohillside Sep 8 '15 at 17:46

Adobe Reader for Mac is my best bet.

You can also try Foxit.


My recommendation is Adobe (Acrobat) Reader, which is also considered to be the leader of the pack of general purpose PDF viewers as well as smart document PDF viewers on Mac.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .