Preview in Mountain Lion (10.8): Now lets you specify default viewing options for PDF files

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
September 19th, 2012 • 10:19 am

Once of the long-standing annoyances in Mac OS X’s Preview for me has been the fact that, by default, the viewing option when you open a PDF file for the first time is something called “Continuous Scroll“. Why Apple considers this the preferable default setting is beyond me. Most of the PDF files I view are formatted as series of 8.5×11 sheets and it makes much more sense for me to scroll up and down such documents page by page, keeping an entire page visible at all times.

In Lion, there was no way to change this default setting. When you opened a PDF document for the first time, you could use a toolbar button to switch to the “Single Page” viewing option and then save the PDF with that setting, so that it would remember it the next time you’d open it. But still, it was a significant annoyance to have to do this once for each and every new PDF document.

When I first opened Mountain Lion’s Preview, I discovered that Apple has changed the toolbar options and that it is no longer possible to have a simple button for switching to “Single Page” view. You now have to use a pop-up menu:


I was mightily pissed, because it meant that the process described above, which I had to repeat for each and every new PDF file, would now be even more cumbersome. But then I discovered this new setting in Preview’s preferences:


Yes! Finally, someone has seen the light at Apple and realized that the default viewing option in Lion was not to everyone’s taste. Thanks to this new preference setting, I can now instruct Preview to open all new PDF files in “Single Page” view mode by default.

It’s a major relief for me. I am still somewhat annoyed by the changes made to the toolbar options, but I cannot deny that this new preference setting (which, if I remember correctly, is actually the restoration of a preference setting that used to exist in older versions of Preview) makes the changes much less of an annoyance than they otherwise would have been.

I don’t know if the introduction of this new pop-up menu in the toolbar has to do with Apple’s current focus on small, portable devices with smaller screens, but I don’t see why they couldn’t have left the separate, individual buttons for the various viewing options as separate buttons in the “Customize Toolbar…” dialog. This dialog already contains all kinds of button options. What harm would there have been in adding/keeping a few more?

One Response to “Preview in Mountain Lion (10.8): Now lets you specify default viewing options for PDF files”

  1. Michael Tsai - Blog - Mountain Lion says:

    […] that I like Single Page mode, and it still isn’t AppleScriptable. Update (2012-09-20): Pierre Igot notes that there is a new preference where you can choose Single Page […]