Whenever I open a pdf, Preview.app opens it in "continuous scroll" mode. However, when going into fullscreen mode, it switches to "two-pages" when, really, I want it to use whatever view mode I had it, in this case: "continuous scroll".

Anyone know how to remedy this? Or perhaps suggest an alternative to Preview.app?

I'm on Mavericks OSX 10.9.2.

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    Maybe you can do something like here It is at least worth a try to look for something similar – Mathias711 May 15 '14 at 6:47
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    I am annoyed by the same thing. Sometimes I wonder what the heck the developers thought.... – Damn Vegetables Apr 7 '15 at 16:44

As you know, per your question, the preferences in the Preview app only apply to documents when first opened. It seems that OS X has a built in default view for full screen documents. I tried a couple things...

  1. I opened a PDF to Full Screen and set the view to Continuous to see if this would stick and that view would be chosen next time I went full screen. Not the case.
  2. I searched every preference file related to Preview (also using 10.9.2) and found no setting even indirectly related to a view setting specifically when in full screen.

I'd say, doing what you want is either not possible at all or at best it'd require getting into a preference setting somewhere you wouldn't want to poke around with. My guess would be it's a setting inside Preview.app's package contents. Fooling around in there can get hairy

As an alternative to setting a new default, the keyboard shortcut to switch to Continuous view is:


So you can just quickly hit that each time you go full screen and the view changes immediately. It's not exactly what you wanted, but it's a very fast alternative.

Hope that helps!

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    Thanks for the investigation. I tried searching for anything from defaults read com.apple.Preview to no avail. I'll opt to use the shortcut: CMD+1. Hopefully this is resolved on the next major OSX release. – Dashed May 16 '14 at 3:50
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    Fwiw, if there IS a setting inside Preview.app's package contents (or any other location I "shouldn't be messing with"), I would very much like to know about it. – Wowfunhappy May 20 '16 at 0:39
  • This is such a good answer. – nekodesu Sep 20 '18 at 1:09
  • Also, well not exactly, but pressing CMD+1 changes the default to continuous scroll for full screen, for that file! – Chaitanya May 29 '19 at 23:56

This worked for me.

cd ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Library/Preferences/
defaults write com.apple.Preview kPVPDFDefaultPageViewModeOption 1
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defaults write com.apple.Preview kPVPDFDefaultPageViewModeOption

this setting is the same as "Opening for the first time" setting in PDF pane of Preview's Preferences.

0 Continuous Scroll

1 Single Page

2 Two Pages

It didn't work for me in macOS 10.15.3 (19D76) as change this setting doesn't affect fullscreen PDF display mode. And I doubt this would work in other macOS versions as well.

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I do realise this is an old question, but I managed to solve this at least on Catalina (10.15.4) but probably on older versions too.

If you try to enter full screen using the shortcut CMD + Option + F, you are actually entering presentation mode. You will notice that the slides flow automatically (or you can pause this) and you can also switch which pages you are seeing, but other options you can normally do are not available.

Instead, if you use the correct shortcut to enter full screen Ctrl + Cmd + F you enter full screen while respecting your preference, whatever that might be.

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You're better off opting for Cmd+1 than Cmd+2.

Cmd+1 would change to continuous scroll, while Cmd+2 changes to one-page.

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Pressing Cmd 2 at the beginning of the presentation in Full Screen Mode seems to solve this problem

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CMD+2 will show one image per screen.

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    There's already an answer that suggests exactly what you suggest. – John N Mar 22 '17 at 20:06

MacJournal is an exceptional blogging application, that I use for gathering snippets because it's far superior to Evernote, that has scalable and editable full screen viewing (light blue and dark grey or whatever combo you wish. You can drag and drop a PDF or highlight and right click text to add content to a Library.

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