Viewing two pages side-by-side in Word can be very useful for a variety of tasks. For example, you may want to compare two versions of a document, view facing pages of a book or magazine layout, or simply display more content on your screen at once.
Luckily, Word provides several straightforward ways to accomplish this dual page view. In this comprehensive tutorial, we’ll walk through the various methods so you can leverage them for your own projects.
Why View Two Pages Side by Side?
Before jumping into the how-to, let’s first understand some of the major reasons you’d want to use this feature in the first place:
- Compare documents or versions of files. Viewing two files or versions of a file side-by-side makes it easy to visually compare changes and differences.
- View facing pages. For book layouts, magazines, catalogs, etc., seeing consecutive pages together is useful for editing and layout purposes.
- Fit more on your screen. You can view more content at once instead of a single page filling the screen.
- View references or sources side-by-side. Place your main document next to reference material for easy access when writing papers or articles.
Clearly, the dual page view unlocks several helpful benefits. Now let’s look at the various ways to enable it in Word.
Method 1: Open a New Window
The quickest way to view two pages side-by-side is to open a second window of the document:
- Open the Word document you want to view as dual pages.
- On the View tab of the ribbon, click the New Window button. New Window button on the View tab
- This will open a second instance of the document. You’ll see two separate windows.
- Hover over one window, then click and drag it to the left side of your screen.
- Hover over the other window and drag it to the right side of your screen.
- The two document windows are now side-by-side!
You can also right-click over the windows and select View Side by Side to have Word automatically align them next to each other.
The benefit of this method is speed and simplicity. Within a few clicks, you can view any document as dual facing pages.
Method 2: Insert a Table
Another approach is to insert a one-row, two-column table and type content into each cell:
- Position your cursor where you want to display side-by-side content.
- On the Insert tab, click the Table dropdown and hover over Insert Table.
- Select the 1×2 table option to insert a table with one row and two columns. Insert 1×2 Table
- You can now type or paste different content into each table cell to display the information side-by-side rather than stacked vertically.
Tables allow you to manually position two blocks of text/images right next to each. It essentially splits the page into two mini pages.
The advantage here is you can precisely control the content in each column. The disadvantage is inserting and positioning the table takes more work compared to the previous method.
Method 3: Use Columns
For an entire document, you can also split pages into two vertical columns:
- On the Layout tab, click the Columns dropdown and select Two. Two column layout
- This will divide each page into two columns. Anything you type will now flow between the left and right column.
- To go back to a normal single-column layout, return to the Columns dropdown and choose One.
Columns are best when you want all the pages in a document to display as two columns instead of standard single pages. It lets you type content naturally without having to format tables or text boxes.
Method 4: Print Two Pages Per Sheet
Finally, you can print pages in a side-by-side format:
- On the File tab, click Print (or press Ctrl + P).
- Under Settings, click on the Pages per sheet dropdown.
- Select 2 Pages per sheet. 2 Pages Per Sheet
- Click Print.
When using this option, Word will take each pair of pages and shrink them to fit side-by-side onto a sheet of paper.
Do note that the pages will become smaller in the printing process to fit them together on one sheet. So this works best for reading rather than as a usable layout.
Once you have two pages viewed side-by-side using any of the above methods, Word provides additional options for customizing the dual page view:
- Zoom in or out of each pane separately
- Scroll pages individually
- Display different numbers of pages in each pane
- Reset windows to view same page numbers
- Switch to four pages up view
Take advantage of these options to tweak the pages to best fit your particular needs.
Recap and Use Cases
As you can see, Word provides a few straightforward ways to enable a dual page view:
- Open a new window – Fastest method to quickly view any two pages side-by-side
- Insert tables – Precisely position content in a split two-column format
- Use columns – Split all pages into left and right vertical columns
- Print two pages per sheet – Best for printing book/magazine layouts
Some example use cases where this can help:
- Compare two versions of a document
- View facing pages of a book or magazine
- Display more content on wider screens
- View references side-by-side while authoring papers
- Any task requiring viewing two pages simultaneously
So next time you need to view two pages at once in Word, leverage one of these techniques to customize your document view.