For years now, I’ve wanted Google to implement a side-by-side two page view for PDFs in Drive. It’s probably not for everyone, and one page at a time with a vertical scrolling behavior likely helps some users focus on the content more.
However, because I’m accustomed to and more comfortable reading physical media like books, which are laid out exactly this way, being able to ingest and parse horizontal information this way feels more natural to me.
Two-page width PDF view has finally been added
According to The Keyword – Google’s very own blog, the company is finally adding the aforementioned two-page width view for PDFs in Drive. Yep, the Google gods do exist! As you can see in the image below, a standard ‘.pdf’ file opened in the online viewer not only allows you to fill and sign at the bottom right, but now also features a toggle at the top right for a two panel view.
Taking cues from chromeOS
Anyone using a Chromebook will be familiar with this as it was added to the inbuilt PDF viewer on chromeOS not long ago. This change is being rolled out to Android users making use of the Drive app on their tablets and foldable devices.
For my personal usage, it feels odd to have to go back to a one page width view on the web after I’ve spent some time viewing PDFs locally on my Chromebook, so this change will give me a more consistent workflow through the app, though I hope Google adds this to the ‘Preview’ mode on the web next.
You can try it right now
Unlike most updates Google performs a ‘staged rollout’ for, you should have access to this feature right this moment. Simply visit Google Drive via the Drive for Android app on your Pixel Tablet or Pixel Fold, for example, and navigate to a PDF you can open. From there, just tap the top right two page view icon as previously mentioned to see the result!
This is also available to all Workspace customers regardless of your license. Luckily, anyone with a personal Google Account can also enjoy this new view as it’s literally rolled out to absolutely everyone! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Do you prefer one page PDF view or two?
Do you think that two-page width more reflects the feeling of reading a book or do you prefer to scroll? I know that on a foldable, which feels more like a book to begin with due to its form factor, this may feel pretty great. It’s clear that Google specifically designed this for its larger screen revamp initiative, but I’m glad nonetheless.