Control how PDFs look when you open them
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Over the months, we’ve seen a few questions come in via Twitter and the blogs asking us essentially the same question: “How do I control how my PDFs look when I open them in Reader or Acrobat?”
It’s a simple question that has a slightly complex answer. There are actually two settings that can control how a PDF looks when it is opened. One setting can be set by the PDF author. The other setting can be set by the PDF consumer.
Let’s start with the consumer…
Reader (and Acrobat) has a “Select and Zoom” toolbar which controls the magnification of the PDF you’re viewing.
There are a few tools shown by default. But if you want to display additional Select and Zoom tools, you can right-click on the toolbar and see additional tools.
Similarly, Reader (and Acrobat) as a “Page Display” toolbar which controls how many pages you see on your screen at once and how those pages behave when you scroll. And again, you can right-click on the toolbar to see additional tools.
|ADDITIONAL POWER USER FEATURE: If you want to see all of the tools you can display on your Reader (or Acrobat) toolbars, choose “More Tools…” at the bottom of the right-click menu. This will reveal all of the tools which can appear on your toolbars. You can select the ones you use most frequently so they will always be visible. Choose “Reset Toolbar” to return the toolbars to the default state.|
However, it can get annoying resetting the magnification and page display settings each time you open a PDF file. For that reason, under Preferences (Edit > Preferences > Page Display), we give you the ability to control the default magnification and page display settings for every PDF file you open.
If you prefer that every PDF opens at a zoom level of “100%” or “Fit Width”, set it here. Then, every PDF file you open will open at this zoom level. Even if you open that PDF file in the browser!
More information about Page Display Preferences can be found in the Acrobat Help File here.
However, that takes us to the author…
There are cases where the author of the PDF file feels that his file is best consumed with a certain page layout or magnification. For example, if the file is a 75 inch by 100 inch map of the United States, he may want to make sure that you don’t open it at “100%” (which would likely only show a portion of the map). Instead he’ll want you to open it at “Fit Page” so that you’ll be able to see the entire map by default. An Acrobat user can specify the magnification and page layout for his PDF file by going to Document Properties (File > Properties > Initial View) and setting these properties.
When he saves the file, the file will inherit these properties. Then, when the PDF is opened by someone else, the file will open with the author’s properties. In other words, the author’s properties will override the consumer’s preferences for that particular file.
|ADDITIONAL POWER USER FEATURE: Did you notice all the other Initial View properties you can set as the document author? You can control which Navigation Tabs are open by default. (For example, maybe your PDF as bookmarks and you want the Bookmark Tab to be open so your document consumer can see these bookmarks easily.) You can have the PDF open to a certain page. And a lot more!|
More information about Initial View properties can be found in the Acrobat Help File here.
There you have it. A complex answer to a simple question. But now you’re better armed (as an Acrobat or Reader user) to control exactly how your PDFs look when you open them.
Let us know what you think. There’s already a discussion on this topic on the Acrobat User Community Forum here. And let us know if there are additional questions which we can help answer for you.