I give a lot of talks using PDF slides built with LaTeX beamer. I was very happy with Skim, because it offers you to synchronize two Skim windows, s.t. you don't have to mirror the screen, but instead use both displays at their native resolution and also be able to watch the thumbnail sidebar etc. on your own display without your viewers watching (similar to what PowerPoint and Keynote offer with two displays).

However, as we all know, Apple has rendered PDFkit unusable since Sierra and Skim uses PDFkit for rendering. The main issue that rendered PDFkit unusable for presentations is the fact that it first shows a low resolution version of the content, before actually showing the high resolution rendering. This is very bothersome in the context of overlays.

  • In Sierra one could circumvent this by scrolling through the entire presentation beforehand, which apparently built up the cache of high resolution renderings
  • In High Sierra this is no longer possible, every time a page is shown it is shown at low resolution for a split second

Thus, I'm looking for alternative PDF viewers, which support two displays without mirroring but do not rely on PDFkit for rendering. Adobe Acrobat renders fine, but is not so suitable for presentations.

  • This is just a work-around: You are mentioning that you are using Adobe Acrobat. You can convert your PDF to PPT (PowerPoint) which is supported by keynote (File->Export to->PowerPoint). Then you can choose to use keynote or powerpoint for your presentations.
    – iTunes
    May 17, 2018 at 14:35
  • An experiment I would try: output PS from LaTeX, convert it to PDF, with Preview. Test it with Skim.
    – dan
    May 17, 2018 at 14:48
  • @iTunes Sorry, Adobe Acrobat Reader I meant - that thing keeps changing its name ;)
    – barbaz
    May 17, 2018 at 14:54
  • @danielAzuelos I don't see any change how PDFkit renders the resulting PDF. The delay is still the same, in Preview as in Skim
    – barbaz
    May 17, 2018 at 14:57
  • 3
    Related answer: tex.stackexchange.com/a/431696/36296 May 17, 2018 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


Just a few days ago I have asked the same question at tex.stackexchange.com. User DG‘ has provided a couple of useful suggestions, which culminated in the following answer:

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 on 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.
  • So basically, this is a duplicate of the linked question. However, I am neither sure how duplicates across different SE sites are handled, nor which of the two sites would be the better fit.
    – Daniel
    May 17, 2018 at 19:18
  • So moderators should feel free to close either side, if cross-site duplicates are possible.
    – Daniel
    May 17, 2018 at 19:21
  • 3
    Just to be clear: This is only a workaround. The issue is a bug and apple should fixit.
    – DG'
    May 17, 2018 at 19:46
  • @DG' Sure. However, they have been ignoring user complaints about the fundamentally broken new PDFKit for more than two years. So I am only semi-optimistic that this is going to happen (soon).
    – Daniel
    May 17, 2018 at 22:45
  • Indeed, I totally agree, but, then again, I am quite happy with Présentation...
    – DG'
    May 18, 2018 at 6:04

You might also want to check out SlidePilot.

Disclaimer: I am the developer of the app

The app is my interpretation of what presenting PDFs should look like on the Mac. I wanted the same superb presenter experience you have with Keynote but all the existing apps couldn't fulfill my needs. That's why I developed SlidePilot with a lot of additional features like broadcasting the cursor to the presentation screen (without having to turn your head) or covering the screen.

Feel free and take a look at the website and the docs, where all features are described in detail.

SlidePilot Screenshot

  • Does it run on High Sierra?
    – nohillside
    Apr 14, 2020 at 21:21
  • Yes, SlidePilot currently supports macOS 10.13+ and I am working on extending the support for 10.11+
    – Codey
    Apr 14, 2020 at 21:27
  • Since version 1.3 SlidePilot also supports macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) and up.
    – Codey
    Jun 3, 2020 at 11:12
  • Great app, I love using it, just have one question - Is it possible to control the slides by clicking the mouse?
    – Kolja
    May 10, 2023 at 14:51
  • Glad you like SlidePilot! There are multiple ways to show next and previous slide, including using a pointer device, but mouse is indeed not supported.
    – Codey
    May 12, 2023 at 14:32

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