the commuter's eye

Displaying PDF pages like a book (or magazine)

Posted in how tos by martzipan on October 23, 2015

This evening I’ve (re-)made a marvelous discovery. I’ve been using Adobe Acrobat for about ten or twelve years by know, and – at least in theory – I’m supposed to be some sort of guru. However, since the days when I was working in the publishing business are long gone, I’ve somewhat forgotten how to make PDFs display like books.

To be more specific, books written and printed in Europe and Americas always start with a right-hand or odd page after the cover. The second page is always a left-hand or even page, the third is odd again and so on.

The problem is that when you normally open a PDF and choose to display it in a Two Page View or a Two Page Scrolling View in Acrobat, it nudges the first page of the document to the left, transforming it into a left-hand/even page, as shown in the screenshot below:

Two Pages View Continuous - First page nudged to left

Two Pages View Continuous – First page nudged to left

If you have a document consisting mostly of text, it shouldn’t normally bother you too much, unless you have some obsessive-compulsive thing for page numbers that display on the inside of the page rather than on the outside, as it would normally be.

However, when dealing with illustrated content that spreads on two pages – like in magazines, for instance – things are a bit nasty, because the left half of your photo would get on the right page, and the right half on the next left page, as shown below:

Left pages go right, and right goes left, messing the two-page illustration.

Left pages go right, and right pages go left, messing the two-page illustration.

Or, the idea is to display them side by side, like this:

Two-page illustration properly displayed - even goes left, and odd goes right.

Two-page illustration properly displayed – even goes left, and odd goes right.

The solution would be to tell Acrobat to put the first page back in its place, on the right. Luckily, someone from Adobe has thought about the obsessive-compulsive readers and the illustration amateurs and came up with a solution.

So, to display the pages properly, choose from the main menu: View > Page Display > Show Cover Page in Two Page View, as shown below:

Choosing to show a Cover Page in Acrobat from the View menu

Choosing to show a Cover Page in Acrobat from the View menu

When applied to our first example, the result in the Two Page View should be something like this, with the cover – in this case – displayed all by itself on the right side (that is where the cover of your printed version of the magazine would actually be):

Magazine Cover Page properly displayed

Magazine Cover Page properly displayed