I recently upgraded to El Capitan. Whenever I open an pdf file of more than 1 pages, Preview opens the sidebar. Is there a way to permanently disable it?

4 Answers 4


I was able to get this to work on 10.11.1 by adding a new key to the Preview.app plist.


You can use the defaults write command to do this in Terminal.

cd ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Library/Preferences/

defaults write com.apple.Preview PVPDFSuppressSidebarOnOpening true
  • 1
    perfect! out of context, but is there a way of knowing all the options available for a program that can be changed by defaults cli? I mean, how could I know that it is available for change? thanks
    – Tiago
    Dec 10, 2015 at 19:20
  • @TiagoZortéaDeConto: Great question: I wonder, too. Perhaps you could write it up as a question on this site, if it hasn't been done already. (If you do, tag me somewhere!)
    – jvriesem
    Jan 6, 2016 at 22:37

Sorry, but the plain terminal command defaults write com.apple.Preview PVPDFSuppressSidebarOnOpening true did not work for me. After, Preview.app opened again showing the sidebar. I had to:

  1. open (with Xcode) the file ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Preview.plist ;

  2. Add a new item in Root with item name PVPDFSuppressSidebarOnOpening, item type Boolean and type value YES;

  3. Save the plist file.

After that, Preview started opening without the sidebar.



At least, none that I am aware of, and I have looked. (I'd be thrilled to find out that I’m wrong!)

However, you can sort of brute-force as solution using Keyboard Maestro.

Here’s a macro that I made:

If you aren't familiar with Keyboard Maestro, what this is doing it waiting for Preview.app to launch or “activate” (i.e. if Preview.app is running and you switch to it from another app).

Then it waits until Preview.app has a window (in most cases that will mean a file has been opened).

Then it looks to see if the “Hide Sidebar” menu item exists but is not selected.

If all of those conditions are met, then it will select the “Hide Sidebar” menu item.

This isn’t a perfect solution, by far, but it might be better than nothing :-)

Download macro from Keyboard Maestro forums.


I needed to use

defaults write com.apple.Preview PVPDFSuppressSidebarOnOpening 1

for it to work.

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