OS X: Blurry Beamer presentations on Sierra / High Sierra

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

  • Présentation.app: brew cask install presentation
  • pdfpc: brew install pdfpc
  • xpdf: brew install xpdf

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.

SlidePilot is a dual screen PDF viewer for macOS which offers Pre-Rendering and Caching of PDF pages amongst many other features. When a document is loaded, SlidePilot starts to render the first 200 pages in the background and saves them to the cache.

In case your document has more than 200 pages, once you get close the the unrendered pages, while clicking through you presentation, the app will start rendering the pages which are coming next in the background and save them to the cache, removing the old pages from the cache. This way you have almost always exactly the pages in the cache, which you are about to display.

The cache has a limit of 200 pages and cleans itself, so that the users memory won't get too full. (using NSCache)

If you are interested you can read more about the pre-rendering and caching mechanisms used in SlidePilot in its Docs.

SlidePilot can be downloaded from the official website.

SlidePilot Screenshot

Disclaimer: I am the developer