Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to force a PDF to open at a particular view

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to set your Acrobat preferences so that all PDFs open at the magnification you want them to. Today's post is about how you as the creator of a PDF can specify the opening view of that particular PDF. I always like my PDFs to open in Fit Page view, so that the recipient gets a bird's eye view of the whole page. If I've included bookmarks in the file, I want the bookmarks pane to appear on the left side of the screen so that the recipient sees and uses the bookmarks.

1. After you've created your PDF file in InDesign, Word, QuarkXPress, or whatever, open it in Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional (you can't use the free Adobe Reader to do the steps below).

2. Choose File > Properties

3. In the Document Properties dialog box, click on the Initial View tab at the top. Then set the options for Layout and Magnification as desired. Note that you can specify which Navigation Panels open at the left side of the screen, the page layout, the magnification, which page the PDF opens to, whether or not you want the Acrobat window to resize to the size of the page, whether the window should be centered on the screen, and whether or not you want the document to open in Full Screen mode (useful for presentations).

4. Click the OK button. Nothing magnification and layout of the document will not change at this point.

5. Save the PDF, close it, and reopen it. It should reopen with the options you specified in step three. These options will override any settings specified by the user in Preferences as described in my previous post.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. Very detailed instructions and easy to follow.

nancy said...

This is fantastic! Exactly what I needed to know for my new digital magazine launching this month :) So, can another user override these settings once they have opened it? Or will the pdf always revert to this format whenever it is opened. That is, is there any way to "lock" it?

Keith Gilbert said...

@Nancy: Users with Adobe Reader can override the view settings once they have the PDF open, of course, but they cannot change the opening view. So in other words, the file will ALWAYS open in the initial view you specify for users of Adobe Reader. Users of the full Adobe Acrobat could change the initial view and re-save the file.

Anonymous said...

I don't see an OK button. I have a widescreen laptop running windows 7. maybe the bottom shortcut panel is hiding it. I can't seem to move anything around to get to it.

Virginia Cruz Carlson said...

Thank you! It was great to see exactly what I was looking for and to get such precise and accurate directions. Virginia

Amy said...

When I follow these instructions it works for my computer but when I send it to my desk top computer it does not work. I am setting it to ope at 75% but when I open it on my desk top it opens at 224% Any suggestions?

PapaDogDuvalier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I find that in a pdf with mixed page sizes and orientations, if I navigate through the file using the bookmarks, the view will resize itself following an oversized page. Is there any way around that?

DagneyT said...

Thanks for the tip. This is very helpful.

Simon K said...

Great tip! Just what I needed... But i wonder if it is possible to select a pdf to open in full page and full screen mode, and then when you close the full screen part, the pdf completely close?

Hope someone can help!

Keith Gilbert said...

@Simon K: I can't think of any way to do that.

Carolyn said...

Keith: I've specified the settings indicated in your post. Everything seems to work (on all computers it appears automatically in full screen, on all computers it fits to page). The issue that I am having is that it does not appear on any computers besides my own as two up (with cover). I have changed the setting to that view in File>Properties>Initial View and Selecting "Two-Up (Cover Page)" under page layout. After saving that option, it only works on my computer. I'd like it to automatically open in spreads on all computers. Help? I have Adobe Acrobat Pro 9, if that helps!

Jodi said...

Is there a way to force Adobe Reader to show navigation or bookmarks(i.e., so they can easily get back to the TOC or jump to another page). I know there's something in the preferences of Adobe Reader, but that's up to the user to decide. All I've found is to hit F4 and it will show the floating nav bar at the bottom ... but only after you've gone up or down a page. And most users wouldn't know to do that anyway.

(Apologies if you got this comment more than once!)

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for straightforward instructions to this easy, but hard to find out how, technique. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I was looking for this. Do you know how I can also set the pixel per inch (ppi) settings on opening the PDF file? By default Acrobat has set this to 110 ppi. But when I compile images into a pdf their 100% view is too large. I had to change the ppi to 72 ppi in the acrobat settings. Now I would like other viewers of the PDF file to automatically change this too. Or even better if you know how to let Acrobat view the images in their correct size without changing the ppi.

Mike Spy said...

Thank you a lot!

Anonymous said...

Thank you this worked perfectly. I am very surprised this "initial view" option is not available as a PDF present option in InDesign. something i think Adobe should add. as i could not find it.

Anonymous said...

As someone who reads a lot of pdfs I can tell you that this nonsense is the most annoying thing you can do to a pdf. As the reader I really don't care what the author thinks the view settings should be. I picked my defaults because that's what I prefer. My advice is that your pdfs will get better reception if you don't treat your readers like children or idiots who are too stupid to make up their own mind about how to read documents.

Jodi said...

I agree it'd be annoying for those of us who read a lot of PDFs and understand how to change our default settings, but when you're designing for an audience that likely doesn't even know there are different settings, it can be beneficial to "help" them see it the way you intend it to be seen.

Sujatha Ratnala said...

I am trying to save my pdf document with initial view page layout as 2 up. However, it does not seem to take effect. Any help will be appreciated.

Sujatha

Sujatha Ratnala said...

Hi,
I have been wanting to save my pdf doc with initial viewing option as 2 page cover up and auto flip transition. however, the 2 page effect does n't seem to take place. Any help will be appreciated.

Sujatha

Anonymous said...

You would not believe how long it took me to locate these a. correct, and b. easy instructions. Thank you!

Huang EC said...

I completely disagree with the comment by anonymous that this is nonsense. I produce pdf brochures and pamphlets and it makes perfect sense for the file open as "Fit Page" so people can see the whole page at once, and I have been doing this for years.
Now, my problem is this: I can't in my life figure out how to set this as default. I waste precious time each and every time I create new pdf having to go through the various steps of fitting the initial view to the page. Does anyone have a suggestion to overcome this?

Ion Bargan said...

Thank you so much!

Nyerguds said...

This is exactly the kind of stuff bothering me, actually. I'd like for PDFs to open as I want them to be zoomed and fit, not by some rules the author set which I may not like, or aren't applicable to the device I'm viewing them on (e.g. small laptop screen).

Is there a way to override document-defaults with user defaults? that'd be far handier.

jeanne wallenstein said...

After setting to open with 2-up initial view, is there a way to force a "secondary" view, once someone clicks into the document? Essentially, I was the viewer to realize there are 2 pages in the PDF, but not read it from the 2-up view. Once clicked, is there any way I can force a secondary view of full page, starting on Page 1?

Keith Gilbert said...

@jeanne: I can't think of any way to do this.

Anonymous said...

HI,

Am trying to find out how to save a locked pdf (so it can't be printed or edited) and make it open up as 100% in adobe acrabat rather than at 'fit window' it currently always opeens at.

Any help would be much appreciated

darkrats said...

I have to agree with "Anonymous". I enjoy reading documents in PDF format, but nothing is more annoying than to have a document open in some unexpected size, or with bookmarks showing by default. I regularly have to use a editing program to change the initial view, and sometimes even a password cracker program to get access to the creator's settings. Let the reader set his own preferences.