Pdf viewer for macos that can save sessions

Hello All,

I am on the look out for a pdf viewer on macos that can save multiple sessions.

My use case

I need to open multiple pdf files of research articles for reference and I would like to save those open files as a session for a specific project. So that I can get back to the same files when I need to work on that project again. This way I can work on multiple projects and can easily switch to files specific for a project.

Current available solutions

  • I use Preview app
  • I Keep all the relevant files open and try to organize them into tabs under a window according to my project name. This isn’t very intuitive.
  • Upon close/reopen preview I restore all the files together. There is no way to pick and choose which windows (containing multiple tabs) that could be selectively open.
  • I have looked at other apps including Adobe reader, PDFExpert, PDFPen, Skim, and several others… none of them including preview have the ability to save sessions.
  • I have also created a smart folder in Finder to show all the recently open pdf files in it according to a date range that I am interested in. However, this too doesn’t fit my workflow.


  • Are you aware of any app that could do this or any other work around to enable this?
  • or Any suggestion/comment on this situation?

Thanks in advance.


Please try Skim again. It has a session-like function in the Bookmarks menu called Add Session Bookmark, a somewhat misleading name. And you can mange the “sessions” in the Edit Bookmarks… window.


Hey xell!!!

You solved my problem by directing me to Skim again :+1::clap::pray:

Thank you :smiley:
Welcome to MPU :confetti_ball:



Using Skim poses another problem…

Skim does not natively save a pdf with embedded notes. This makes it impossible to read the notes/highlights I create in Skim using other pdf viewers on say a Windows PC or iPad!

The only way to overcome this issue is to create a duplicate file with embedded notes in it. This is too much work and creates redundant files.

Why can’t I have a “save session” feature in any other pdf viewer? :exploding_head:

I am looking at Apple Script as well, if something exists to meet my end goal… which is to save multiple files open in a pdf viewer as a session and restore/open them later as a batch.

Anyone out here please suggest a solution to :pray:

I think you could set the open PDFs to reopen with a single command later with a script or Bunch. Not sure if that’s what you’re looking for though.

Bunch seems a good idea.

But, How can I get file paths of all the open pdfs? Is there a script available? The apps I use Skim or PdfExpert do not seem to have an option to copy the file path of open files.
If I have to physically go to the file location and copy its path then this will be too cumbersome while working with several files together.

I am sure with folks out here, I will definitely arrive at an efficient solution for this functionality. :hugs:

Hi noddyvinod,

It seemed Skim’s untraditional annotation function, which was intentionally made in such a way by the developers, brought out another problem to you. For me, luckily my daily document-related apps including DEVONthink and BibDesk offered very well support of this type of annotation, so I can use Skim as my main PDF viewer and enjoy some of its wonderful features such as the Reading Bar, Snapshot, and sync with Vim while editing LaTeX.

However, if reading and annotating PDFs in other devices/apps which cannot handle the Skim’s annotation system are your basic requirements, then I suggest you turn to a “mainstream” PDF app and use other methods to circumvent the need of sessions. For example, without any third-party tools involved, simply making aliases of the PDF files and you can group them into a folder as a session and write a Folder Action workflow with Automator to open them simultaneously. Of course, scripting (with Bunch) is a better way, which opens to other possibilities.

Happy New Year.

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