Greetings Superusers,

I'm putting together a lengthy document in Word, and it's going to be printed and bound duplex.

I've put page-numbers "outside" etc, and all is pretty.

The problem is, in the "Two Pages" view, it puts p1 on the left, then p2 on the right, then p3 below on the left, and p4 on the right.

p1   p2
p3   p4
p5   p6

Shouldn't this be slightly different though? When I get to print it, p1 is on the right, not the left, so the preview should go

p2   p3
p4   p5

Because when I "open" the book, it's pages 2 and 3 that are side-by-side.

This makes layout tweaking confusing, because it's not instantly obvious which pages will be "visible" to the reader at the same time together. Have I missed something?

I can't just put a blank page first, because that would bugger up the printing, as the printer automatically duplexes and binds etc.

(Office 2008, by the way)

  • Is this in Print Preview? – ChrisF Sep 25 '09 at 13:36
  • 1
    No, just "View" -> "Print Layout" on the Ribbon. Although it's clearly not "Print Layout", it's just "Page Layout". – Cylindric Sep 25 '09 at 14:14
  • Print preview in two-page mode does adhere to left/right-ness of the pages. So maybe you should just use that? – Joey Sep 25 '09 at 14:38
  • 1
    Well, that would quite seriously limit my ability to make changes though, wouldn't it? I'll just have to accept that when working on a document you can't have WYSIWYG in Word unless you put in fake pages, and remember to take them out again before printing. – Cylindric Sep 28 '09 at 9:42
  • Same problem here. This seems to be an important easy fix. But you know, Microsoft ... – Pedro77 Oct 16 '17 at 13:05

12 Answers 12


The problem here is that the "two page view" you're using is just a two-page zoom, not a final print layout.

I would recommend putting the blank page in for your reviewing, and then take it out just before print time.

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    That's what I was afraid of :( – Cylindric Sep 25 '09 at 13:54
  • Not a solution if you're using "book fold" layout with different inside and outside margins, since you need that to be preserved at the moment of printing. – Aaron Campbell May 18 '19 at 15:27

Two pages are just for preview. Just be sure that you select "Book fold" in Page setup dialog under "Multiple pages" since that will produce desired effect once book is printed.

If you really need "real" page view in two page view, only solution that I am aware of is to insert blank page on start.

| improve this answer | |
  • 4
    I don't let Word anywhere near my actual book/leaflet/binding options. I let my printer do all that - it's far cleverer and can staple etc. Word just confuses the poor thing. – Cylindric Sep 25 '09 at 14:15


...if you have enabled either "Mirror margins" or "Different odd and even" headers/footers, Print Preview (but no other view) will show facing pages.


So, it doesn't work in "normal" two page view. Rather annoying indeed...

| improve this answer | |

Excellent question. I have the same problem. Here's a workaround.

  1. Insert a dummy page at the front. End the page with a section break.

  2. Renumber the pages in the document, starting with page 1 for the first real page of your document.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    This is the same as the accepted answer. – ChrisF Apr 12 '10 at 14:57

My definitive solution:

When a first dummy page contains a section-break to odd pages, the page 2 disappears but is still there (just print the absolute pages 1-3 to see it). The hidden page 2 is exactly the same as page 3. So printing from page 3 (which is page 1 of section 2) is messy because both are printed and other problems...

To solve this, we need to add another section to contain all the mess, it means 2 more dummy pages: the first dummy page contains the section-break to odd page, the second dummy page contains just a normal page-break, and the third dummy page contains a section-break to next page. With this configuration, the real document starts at section 3. This section is totally clean!; it is possible to number and print only the pages of that section (using "P1S3-" syntax for the range), to view in Print-layout the mirrored pages at their correct position, with the correct mirrored-margins, gutter, numbering, indents etc.

It was important for me to find a workaround to this 15++ year-old bug because I am working on booklets where the odd pages contain a translation, line for line, of the even ones; so a real mirrored working view was a must.

| improve this answer | |

A couple of suggestions:

  • To make sure your document is breaking in the places you want, always make sure your new section begins on an odd page. You can easily see this in two-page view in Word. If it's breaking on an even page, enter a manual page break (Ctrl Enter) on the page before.

  • If you want to see true double-sided, save the document in PDF format. In Adobe Acrobat ver. 8, choose View > Page Display > Two-Up. You will see your page 1 by itself, followed by page 2 on the left and 3 on the right.

I do agree with you: such a basic function should be part of Word. But that's Microsoft...


| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    You can insure that a section always begins on an odd page by inserting an "Odd Page" section break from the Insert menu. Word will automatically insert a blank page if necessary to make this happen. – mkClark Dec 7 '09 at 20:45

I have an intriguing addition to this Q & A. I have spent a humungous amount of time trying to find the right answer by trying different section breaks, finally hitting upon the Odd (or Right Hand) section break solution set forth above. I had the whole 300 page novel laid out, looking real nice with sequentially changing headers for different chapters, with the first page of each chapter being the right hand page, and different page number styles using lower case roman numerals for the introductory pages, and arabic numbers for the main text. Which worked fine, as long as the last page of a chapter ended on a left hand or even numbered page.

At this point I needed a half blank page. (There are two kinds of blank pages in Word and when you are looking at a lot of pages the eye sometimes becomes weary and fails to note this: (1) the back side of a page with printing on it, which is a half page, and (2) a full page front and back. Word can do either, provided you enter the right kind of section break. Which is another long story and not the point I want to make now, a point for which I have no answer. (So I continue.)

So as to not lose my work, after I had gone thru 300 pages for the 10th time (because every time you change the page sequence at the beginning, the whole document changes and headers and footers go crazy), I made a copy of my novel and worked on that. Problem solved. It printed fine. So then I went back to the original, because I had lost some header and footer settings in working on the changes on the copy, and made the odd page correction above.

But lo and behold, now the original document would not print! And I have gone crazy trying to find out why. The best advice I can give is one I read months ago. Bite the bullet and hire someone who knows what they are doing.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Well, that someone didn't get handed the answer on a tablet from god. If there's a way, there's a way. From what I've seen though, these mystical experts just do what you did though, and go through the 300 pages and put in manual breaks where required. – Cylindric May 2 '12 at 8:20

Some problems with blank page insertion are:

1) Odd pages become even, and so on. This has a dramatic effect on headers and footers when the blank page is removed.

2) "First page" header and footer configuration is now confused. You can disable this and use section breaks instead. Not sure what happens when page is deleted and section break is removed however.


| improve this answer | |

I love open source word processing programs, but I also like this behavior:

Word displays BOTH SIDES of the first page when you open a print preview, then displays FACING pages as you scroll down through your document. The secret is that as you open the print preview, the back side of the first page is displayed next to the first page, and then jumps from the right side of the screen to the left as you scroll down through the print preview.

Once you're used to it, you may find that you prefer to see both sides of your first page when you open a print preview.

| improve this answer | |

The layout is reversed in the Two Pages view. However, the layout is preserved (i.e. even page on the left side) when showing Two Pages in the Preview mode. Of course, editing is not possible in this mode, unfortunately.

| improve this answer | |

Word tries so hard to be a document layout application and comes up short with every version. (We still can't rotate tables or rotate pages without rotating the header/footer.)

Showing the correct 2-page spread reading view in 2-page view is only logical, but logic has hardly been a guiding factor in Microsoft Office development. What you can do in Word is have a Page 0 (if your page numbers are 1, 2, 3, ... and not any other format), then you can print pages 1 to whatever and avoid having to remove this dummy page.

If your document starts on page i (or a), insert a Section Break (Next Page) at the top of your document, go into the header of the (now) second page (your first page) and turn off Link to Previous and do the same for the footer (probably not necessary, but better safe than sorry). Still in the header or footer of this second page: edit the Page Number Format to Start at i (or a). Now go to the header of the first (dummy) page and edit the Page Number Format to 1,2,3... numbering and Start at 0.

When you print the document, always print Pages: 1- (no ending number) to print all but page 0.

@Cylindric Without the numbering Starting with 0, inserting a blank page will throw off numbering even though the pages will be viewed like a spread, and you'll have to remove the blank page 1 before updating TOC, cross-references, etc. and before printing. Only remembering to print from page 1 is better than all those other steps.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Isn't this just a variation on "insert a blank page"? One still has to remember to print only certain pages. – Cylindric Jul 26 '16 at 6:28

A simple (but incomplete) answer: Use a print range of "2-". Tarah! Unfortunately this doesn't print the first page, but everything else is perfect. Inserting dummy pages DOES NOT work if, like me, you need to have new sections start on odd pages.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.