Keeping Documents at a Single-Page View

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 12, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Wendy just got a new computer with a new install of Word. When she opens existing documents, it automatically defaults to view two pages, side by side. Wendy goes through the steps to change the view back to her desired single page, but sometimes the document will revert to two side-by-side pages as she's typing! This only happens with existing documents; new documents seem to open properly.

Based on the problem description, it sounds like (for whatever reason) Word thinks that you now have a large enough monitor to display pages two-across. If a document loads this way, you can set it back to single-page by displaying the View tab of the ribbon and clicking on the One Page tool in the Zoom group. (Clicking the Multiple Pages tool would, again, display the two pages that Word thinks it should display given Wendy's monitor.)

If clicking two buttons is not to your liking, you can make things one button faster by using a macro:

Sub MakeSinglePage()
    With ActiveDocument.ActiveWindow.View
        If .Type = wdPrintView Then
            .Zoom.PageColumns = 1
            .Zoom.PageRows = 1
            .Zoom.Percentage = 100
        End If
    End With
End Sub

Assign this macro to a toolbar button or to a shortcut key, and you are set. When you open a document and it shows two pages, then click the button or invoke the shortcut key. The macro checks to make sure that you are in Print Layout view and only adjusts things if that is the case. This is because setting single or multiple pages only works in that view. If you are in any other view, then no changes are made.

By the way, the single-page vs. multiple-page view in Word depends on what it was when you last exited the program. For instance, if you load a document, set the view to multiple pages, and then exit Word (even without saving the document), then the next time you start Word, it will start with the multiple-page view active. Any existing document you open at that point will be displayed in multiple-page view, regardless of how it was viewed when previously saved. In other words, the setting stays with the program, not with any particular document.

Since it stays with the program, you could go a different macro-based route entirely. Add a macro such as the following to your Normal template:

Sub AutoOpen()
    With ActiveWindow.View
        .Type = wdPrintView
        .Zoom.PageColumns = 1
        .Zoom.PageRows = 1
        .Zoom.Percentage = 100
    End With
End Sub

This macro makes sure that Print Layout view is active and then sets single-page view. Since it is run anytime Word starts, it won't matter whether your previous session ended with multiple-page view in effect or not.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12855) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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