How to Fix Preview Not Working on macOS Catalina

Are you facing a problem with Preview after upgrading your Mac to macOS Catalina? There are many Mac users who are unable to open PDF’s, or Apple Preview is not working as expected after upgrading to macOS Catalina. Today in this post I will provide the best alternative to solve your Preview problem on macOS Catalina. Let’s start with real-life scenarios.

Scenario 1:Preview in 10.15 (Catalina) Not Working

Under Catalina, the Preview app refuses to open my PDFs. Admittedly some of my PDF folders have a few hundred to some thousand files in them but cannot open. It just hangs for some minutes. I had this problem before with other OSs but eventually, they do open. However, using the old Adobe Reader (no longer works with the new OS) these same files would open almost immediately. Anyone else has this problem?

Source: Apple Community

Scenario 2: Preview Problems in Catalina

Whenever I look up a word inside a pdf with Preview,  the Text Selection option stops working. I have to close the app, reopen and that’s the only way I’ve found to have the cursor enable to text section option. Looking up something by typing in the Search field, disables practically every text editing/selection option.

Source: Apple Community

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Like the above two users, there are multiple Mac users who are facing multiple issues with the Preview after upgrading the Mac to Catalina. Please go through the below steps to fix the problem with the Preview:

Fix Preview Not Working on macOS Catalina

We all face multiple issues while working on Mac at work or at home. Preview – a PDF viewing application on Mac being one of the most dependent apps on the mac is not a special case. In this article, I will mention different problems with Preview on Mac and will provide various solutions along with the most effective solution which is the best alternative for Preview on macOSPDFelement.

You can try this if you want to keep using Preview: open the first PDF file and Copy the PDF, now drag the copy PDF file into the other PDFs. However, in order to open the PDF file without any issue in different tabs under one window, PDFelement is the best tool that will ease up the process for you.

The application comes with a complete package that allows you to perform difficult tasks. It allows you to do inline text editing without making unnecessary changes to the file. It also allows you to annotate PDF files and protect the PDF files with a password.

When it comes to conversion, PDFelement is the best tool. You can easily convert PDF to multiple formats such as PDF to Word, Excel, Text, PowerPoint, RTF, HTML, EPUB and images such as JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, etc. With the help of its annotations tools, it allows you to highlight the part or multiple parts of the text, you can create different shapes to prepare the document to be more explanatory. To use PDFelement click on the Download Now link mentioned below.

Mac app store pdfelement

Expert Tip
One of the effective alternatives for Mac Preview is a PDFelement which is the perfect tool to create, edit, convert and sign PDF documents on Mac.

Key Features of PDFelement:

  • You can Edit Text and Images.
  • Allows you to Insert, Split, Merge PDF Files.
  • Can Convert PDF to Multiple Formats.
  • Mark up and Annotate PDF.
  • OCR Digitizes scanned PDF text.
  • Fill out & Customize PDF Forms.

Fix Preview Crashing

I understand the crashing of preview really frustrates us. Many students or office workers spend a lot of time reading or annotating PDFs for making flashcards. During this process, most of us have seen Preview crashing. It is very frustrating when Preview crashes while reading something important. Even when you open multiple PDF pages to annotate a page, Preview crashes in between.

To fix this try the followings:

  • Try Updating the Preview to the latest version from the App Store. There are many complaints reported by users on the Mac community regarding Preview not working, developers may have gone through the preview complaints and Mac developers may release an update to fix the problem with the Preview.

Preview Update Mac

  • Clear the font’s cache. Some users have reported that this can make the issue go away, at least temporarily. To do so, go to the Library/Caches/ATS folder and find and delete the font cache folder.
  • Many times, a simple restart may fix the problem, also try contacting Apple support if you have to restart all the time.

Problem with the Text Editing in Preview

We have seen that it becomes very difficult to make changes in the text of any PDF file. Even replacing a single word with another word gives us a hard time. The Preview gives us trouble even in making small changes. First of all, it consumes a lot of time and in the end, you might not be satisfied with the end result.

Preview text editing issue on Mac

Sorry to inform you but nothing much can be done with Preview to fix this. The best solution to fix this problem is to use a different application. PDFelement is very easy to learn. PDFelement Guide can come very handy which is very user-friendly. You simply have to import the problematic PDF, make preferred changes, save it as a new PDF file and use Preview to open the new PDF file.

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Unable to Select the Text on Preview

Users have come across a situation where users open up a scanned PDF file while annotating it is seen that select text tool or highlight text tool does not work. Users even unable to make changes to some part of the text or it results in highlighting the complete page which is very frustrating.

Unable to select Text in Preview Mac

To deal with such a situation it is recommended to use OCR application which is a part of PDFelement. Edit of scanned PDF files are not supported by Preview. Use PDFelement as the best alternative.

Mac app store pdfelement


I hope by now you are aware that Preview can be frustrating most of the time. It is highly recommended to use PDFelement as the best alternative to create, edit, convert and sign PDF documents on Mac.

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