MacOS – How to make Preview render PDF docs with crisp fonts on MacBook Air (without Retina Display) in Mojave


Hi have a Macbook Air (previous model, no retina display). Ever since the Mojave update, Preview renders text in PDF files quite blurry compared to Adobe Acrobat.

For instance, here is a screenshot of a file rendered in Preview:
enter image description here

Here is a screenshot of the same file, but rendered in Adobe Acrobat:
enter image description here

You can see that the top image is noticeably blurry compared to the bottom image.

I've tried the tips suggested on this website, such as:

  1. Enabling or Disabling Font Smoothing in Settings
  2. Enabling Font Smoothing in Terminal
  3. Adjusting Font Smoothing Settings With Defaults

However, none of those suggestions fixed the blurry text rendering in Preview on my Macbook Air. Apparently, this is due to a change in the way that Mojave handles anti-aliasing compared to High Sierra. Is there a fix for this?

Here are the specs for my machine:

  Model Name:   MacBook Air
  Model Identifier: MacBookAir7,2
  Processor Name:   Intel Core i5
  Processor Speed:  1.8 GHz
  Number of Processors: 1
  Total Number of Cores:    2
  L2 Cache (per Core):  256 KB
  L3 Cache: 3 MB
  Memory:   8 GB

Best Answer

In short: No. Apple has removed the Font smoothing facility from the OS.

Your best option is to set Adobe Reader/Acrobat as your default app for PDFs. There are other apps, too. I quite like Foxit Reader, which is free and does display everything nice and crisply.