Switch to single-page view in Microsoft Word and the Preview app

Decades ago, early “personal” word processors were awkwardly dedicated computers. Yet they introduced a strikingly modern concept that we continue to use: infinite scrolling. Instead of being stuck to a page like a typewriter and paper, a word processor disconnected a stream of words from the pagination.

Modern users can find more or less the same distribution in many apps, and some readers get caught in the wrong mode. Here’s how to switch between a continuous scroll mode and a page-oriented view in Microsoft Word and the Preview app. (Why not include Pages? Because Pages is always in a continuous scroll preview mode with page breaks, essentially Word’s print layout mode, described next.)

Switch to single page view in Microsoft Word

Word offers a choice between Print Layout and Draft. With a document open, click the View menu. You can now click Print Layout on the far right edge of the ribbon toolbar or click Draft just a few icons to the right of it. These choices are repeated at the bottom of the page in the status bar: click the icon that looks like a Page Layout page or the icon that looks like a paragraph with uneven right-hand lines for Draft.

You can also switch to Print Layout by clicking the Single Page, Multiple Pages, or Page Width icons in the center of the ribbon. These options resize or rearrange pages to fit in the window: One Page and Multiple Pages zooms in on a single page or two pages side by side; Zoom page width to fit the column width to the width of the window.

Word offers a page-based print layout that is somewhat page-oriented, and a less page-dependent draft view.

Word is always “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG): the text size, styles, width, and other elements appear exactly as they would print, even if you’re not looking at individual pages. You can use outline mode to focus on paragraphs or points without most of the line and page formatting of print layout or draft.

Switch to single page view in Microsoft WordPreview

While you can’t use Preview for word processing, it still follows the conventional of infinite scrolling and page rendering with a PDF. In the View menu you can choose:

Continuous Scroll (Command-1) adjusts the width of the PDF to the width of the window. The Page Up and Page Down keys or the scroll bar move through the document without interruption. Drag the window smaller or larger and the magnification factor will match. You can use Command-minus and Command-plus or the magnifying glass icons in the toolbar individually to resize separately from dragging after you open the document. Choose Zoom > Fit to Width (Command-9) to reset. One Page (Command-2) frames each page in the PDF as a single item in the window. Resizing the window changes the magnification as with Continuous Scroll, but always maintains a single page. You can also use Fit to Width to restore the window size view. Two Pages (Command-3) juxtaposes PDF pages, which is often useful for documents or books designed to work with a two-page spread when created for printing. Preview can be continuous through PDF pages scrolling (left) or displaying as single pages with window lock (center) or two-page spreads (right).

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