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
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 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
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 14:14
  • 1
    Print preview in two-page mode does adhere to left/right-ness of the pages. So maybe you should just use that?
    – Joey
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 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
    Commented Sep 28, 2009 at 9:42
  • 1
    Same problem here. This seems to be an important easy fix. But you know, Microsoft ...
    – Pedro77
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 13:05

15 Answers 15


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.

  • 6
    That's what I was afraid of :(
    – Cylindric
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 13:54
  • 2
    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. Commented May 18, 2019 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.

  • 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
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 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...

  • Do you have an update for that link? It's gone dead. Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 15:35
  • This should be the accepted answer. This is the proper way to see the page layout within Microsoft Word. The Accepted answer is ONLY "correct" in the specific case where there is only one section, and even then, it requires removing and adding dummy pages, which is a bad habit that can lead to problems. If working on a book with multiple sections, roman numeral front matter pages, or where every chapter needs to start on an odd (right-hand) page, the only way to see that is via File -> Print Preview with a 2-page view. Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 21:07

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 should contain the Section Break (Odd Page)

  • the second dummy page should contain just a normal Page-Break

  • the third dummy page should contain a Section Break (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.


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.

  • 1
    This is the same as the accepted answer.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Apr 12, 2010 at 14:57

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.



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...


  • 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
    Commented Dec 7, 2009 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.

  • 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
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 8:20

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.


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.


My solution is to show P1 in landscape:

Select Layout >>> Margins >>> Custom Margins >>> Page Set up Change P1 orientation to Landscape. The two-pages zoom view will display P1 separately:

  • P1
  • P2 P3
  • P4 P5
  • P6 P7

Before printing bring P1 back to its vertical position.

  • (1) I don’t quite understand what you’re saying.  Can you expand on your answer, to include detailed procedures and explanations?  (Please do not respond in comments; edit your answer to make it clearer and more complete.)   (2) Beware: you just might find that, when you have added enough detail to your answer to make it usable, that it turns out to be a duplicate of an earlier answer. Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 10:06

Well, it's June 2023 and I'm using Microsoft 365, and I still don't see an easy way to do in MS Word what the original post-er requested.

However, I opened a book-fold file with (free) LibreOffice, and it does have an option for showing the layout as your book will appear. Navigate to File > Print Preview, and select the icon that looks like a symmetrical open book.

How much you want to format your file in LibreOffice vs. Word, or use Word for everything except final layout review, is up to you.

  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 15:48

I think I have a straightforward solution that satisfies 99% of Cylindric's need!! In Word 365:

  1. Go to the View ribbon.
  2. In the Views section, click Print Layout.
  3. In the Page Movement section, click Side to Side.
  4. The display shows the original problem with page 1 on the left and page 2 on the right.
  5. Click the bottom scroll bar so that page 2 is on the left and page 3 is on the right.
  6. To move to the next page, click the bottom scroll bar twice (or use the mouse scroll wheel) so that page 4 is on the left and page 5 is on the right.
  7. Always click the bottom scroll bar twice to move back and forth through the document or scroll accordingly.

This approach provides the desired view of all pages except page 1 (no way to display page 1 by itself on the right) and the last page (if it is an even page). Otherwise, you see the document in its booklet format with even pages on the left and odd pages on the right. You can edit the document and tweak the layout, and you do not have to insert a blank page at the beginning or use undesired section breaks.

Did I get it right?

  • Please do not use the moderator flag system to get attention for your answers. They are intended to be used when there are issues with a post that needs handling. It might help to read superuser.com/help/privileges/flag-posts to find out when and why you should use flags. I am sorry you have not gotten any attention but "No one has upvoted my post" is not something that moderators can help with. As it is an old post it may simply be that no one is visiting this question and may have already solved their problem.
    – Mokubai
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 13:17

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.

  • 1
    Isn't this just a variation on "insert a blank page"? One still has to remember to print only certain pages.
    – Cylindric
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 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.

  • Kindly read How to write a good answer you have to write and explain your answer properly not like a comment
    – yass
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 21:52

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