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I have a wide screen that has enough space to show more than 2 pages side by side. In MS Word, zooming out seems to achieve this, but I couldn't find a way of doing the same with PDFs. This is on Mac OS X, and I tried Preview and Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. Both can show 2 pages side by side, but nothing more than that.

Any ideas on how to do this with these tools, or any other tool that would work on Mac OS X?

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7 Answers 7

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Use Wrapped Scrolling option in Mozilla Firefox's built-in PDF viewer.

example with ">>" menu open

  1. Open your PDF file in Mozilla Firefox browser.
  2. On PDF document toolbar (above the document view) open menu >>. See the screenshot.
  3. Select Wrapped Scrolling menu item.
  4. Zoom your document out to see as many pages as it fits into width of the view.
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    This is great! I mean, it is an embarrassment to PDF viewers, but yay, great! Solves my problem!
    – Ozgur
    Oct 14, 2018 at 18:31
  • Why is this not the default!?
    – reukiodo
    Nov 19, 2019 at 5:20
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Use Horizontal Scrolling option in default Firefox browser PDF viewer PDF.js

PDF.js is also available as a plugin for other browsers.

Example with ">>" menu open

  1. Open your PDF file in Mozilla Firefox browser
  2. On the PDF document toolbar (top right above the document view) click on >>
  3. Select Horizontal Scrolling

miroxlav already pointed to the use of PDF.js but I think that horizontal scrolling is a more appropriate answer because the question asked about side by side views.

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Two ways to work-around the issue:

  • Print the PDF document to a PDF file with multi-page layout per sheet. (This worked well on my monitor, giving a readable view of 8 pages at a time.)

Print to PDF - multi-page layout

  • Start a second instance of the Adobe viewer, or, if that's not possible, use the installed PDF viewer and also a third-party reader. Of course, that means trying to sync reading in both, but on the other hand, it allows comparison of different sections within the same document or of multiple docs.
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  • Given that this is trivially possible within MS Word for Word files, I cannot believe no PDF reader will support it! Thanks for the workaround suggestions. My current workaround is splitting each page into a PNG image and displaying them in a custom HTML page. Not great, but at least automatable.
    – Ozgur
    Oct 10, 2018 at 14:50
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Option 1:

This is not close to something I would call THE solution, due to a number of factors (I will play down my own answer itemizing these below). But it is the closest I got when trying to do the same thing! In particular if trying to change the view on-the-fly.

You need Microsoft Word (#1). Open the pdf file. There may be some things that do not show up exactly as in the pdf, in particular if it has many images (#2). But it may give you a good bird's eye view of the document, which may be your main target given that having several pages side-by-side does not allow for much more than this.

Go to View -> Multiple pages (in Spanish here).

enter image description here

Then set the Zoom level that gives you the number N of side-by-side pages you want, depending on your monitor size and resolution, and Word reading pane size. Say you have 3 side-by-side pages at the current zoom level, your pdf will be displayed 3 pages per row, and you will scroll down across this layout. You will not be scrolling horizontally across pages in a continuous manner (#3?). This may or may not be what you want.

Option 2:

Generate a pdf N-up file. There are a number of ways to do this. It will create a "fixed" view (with fixed number N of side-by-side pages), and you would have to generate a new pdf N-up for each N.

Adobe Acrobat allows for this printing. There is also pdfnup. I do not have MacOS, but I guess it should work. Its advantage over Adobe Acrobat is that you can do batch processing. This may make your life easier.

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The Okular app has an overview mode that enables multipage views side-by-side (View > View Mode > Overview).

5 pages side by side

In the preferences, you can set the desired number of side-by-side pages that you would like to view.

Okular preferences

You can download the latest version for Mac from https://binary-factory.kde.org/job/Okular_Release_macos/

If you get a message "The app can’t be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software." after installing Okular in the Applications folder try the following: right-click on the Okular icon and press 'Open', a pop-up will appear and click 'open' again. (from https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250425993).

I can finally use the whole area of my 40" 4k monitor for PDF reading and annotating!

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Skim can do this. Select PDF > PDF Display > Horizontal Continuous

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    Welcome to Super User. Please read How do I recommend software for some tips as to how you should go about recommending software. You should provide at least a link, some additional information about the software itself, and how it can be used to solve the problem in the question.
    – DavidPostill
    Jun 11 at 15:40
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To do this, I use Acrobat Reader.

Go to:

View > Page Display > Two Pages View

enter image description here

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    "more than 2 pages side by side"
    – harrymc
    Oct 13, 2018 at 8:28

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