How To Improve PDF viewing inside Scrivener?

I import a lot of pdfs but the fonts are very choppy and difficult to read. I’ve tried changing the font hinting settings and Cleartype settings as suggested elsewhere but that doesn’t help. Is there a way to improve the legibility of pdfs in Scrivener without opening in another app?


(Assume Scriv 3) Try when looking at PDF file in scriv, to then click view>pdf display and play with options, these are my current settings and no issues-see pic
Screenshot 2022-02-01 065811

Thanks, but that’s not what I meant. I mean the fonts are rendered without any anti aliasing, blocky and almost incorrect. See the attached image of the header.

Do you have the same problem when view in microsoft edge? Or is this unique to scrivener. I have not seen this.

I don’t typically bring pdfs into Scrivener, but I have seen display issues as described, that do not appear when displayed in either Chrome or another pdf reader, such as aliasing being more noticeable, at lower zoom levels.

I just found online and downloaded what looks like the same pdf in your screenshot and brought it into Scrivener. It looked fine zoomed all the way up to maximum on Windows 10.

How faithful is your screenshot?

What does the pdf look like in Chrome?

Yes, I’ve brought that into Chrome, 2 different pdf readers and Edge and the pdf scales and anti aliases properly so it is legible even at less than 100%. (My screenshot was the pdf at 100%.) I’m pretty sure it’s Scrivener that’s the problem. I don’t want to zoom everything up just for the document to be legible. At 100% there is noticeable aliasing that makes it difficult to read. Scrivener is not scaling or anti aliasing properly. Even if you zoom up to 2x you will still see aliasing in the fonts.

I just want to be able to turn on proper scaling and anti aliasing in Scrivener so pdfs look like they do on a normal PDF reader.

You can try playing with these settings in Options (click on the question marks to see what things are):

Sorry, I read back and saw that you tried these? Note that Scrivener’s PDF viewer is fairly basic and you might be able to get better quality from Acrobat Reader or other viewer that is just a viewer.

That is true. Given Scrivener’s limited pdf functionality, and that imported pdfs increase the size of projects, depending on how one works and the kind of pdfs involved, there may be little advantage to importing.

In another thread about a month ago, I posted this, which might also be useful here.

When I want to include a pdf in a scriv project, I create a binder doc where I want it, give it the name of the pdf, then (from Windows Explorer) drag the pdf right into that document’s edit window, where a link is created to the pdf. When clicked it opens right up in my default pdf viewer. If the pdf is in a stable location, it should continue to work. And, as the pdf is updated, it should always open the most recent version, if it is saved with the same name and location.

I would add to that that the only thing useful I see in importing pdfs is that their contents are searchable inside Scrivener. But essentially the same thing can be done by simply copying the text from the pdf and pasting it as plain text (or even formatted rich text) into a regular Scrivener doc. Then, with a link to the pdf at the top of that doc, viewing the full thing is just a click away.

I’ve been using PDF-XChange Editor and am quite impressed with it. Even in evaluation mode, it still functions very well as a full featured viewer with saveable annotations.

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I work this way as well, but it’s important to understand that linked PDFs will not travel with the project. That is, if you move or synchronize the project to another device, the PDFs won’t appear on the new device, and they won’t be included in backups of the Scrivener project.

I get around this (for images; I haven’t needed any PDFs) using a symlink equating the Dropbox folder on one computer to the Dropbox folder on another, even though the usernames (hence pathnames) are different. That’s on a couple of Macs, but it’s probably doable on Windows too. Syncing from one platform to another may be another story.

A while back, I discovered that if you create a folder inside the .scriv project folder where to keep together linked files or whatnot (a Scapple project, for e.g.), that sub folder actually ends up as part of the backup of the Scrivener project.

I had a couple of Scapple projects to which my main Scrivener project linked to, and as opposed to doing individual backups of those Scapple projects, I’d simply (and so conveniently) do a backup of the Scrivener project instead.
And it worked :slight_smile:

Doing so, any material that the Scrivener project links to should follow and be available on another computer. (I don’t know about the relative path tho, but at least the files will be there, and easy to find.)
(Of course, in order for this to work, you have to move the files you wish Scrivener to link to to that new folder inside the .scriv folder prior to linking to it ; or update the link accordingly.)

I’d wondered about that. So then, the Scrivener backup process just starts zipping whatever it finds in the .scriv folder, and assumes that, if it’s in there, it must be good.

It makes sense. And who would go mucking about in there anyway? :slight_smile:

Though I imagine it’s contraindicated… :slight_smile:

Looks like so, yes. And I hope it will remain this way. This is so convenient when needed.

Most likely. → but I guess I don’t care :crazy_face:
Hey, it works…

Qui numquam audet, nihil accipit