One thing I dislike about Preview.app in Lion is its defaulting to Continuous Scroll as the view option when a new PDF document opens. My recollection is that previous behaviour was for the last-used view state to be honoured subsequently, and I would prefer if this applied in Lion also (my personal preference being for Single Page), or if the default could be changed.

Elsewhere, I have seen reference to a Terminal command which was stated as addressing this, but it does not work for me. The command in question is defaults write com.apple.Preview PVPDFDisplayMode 1 (with a suggested variation of defaults write com.apple.Preview PVPDFDisplayMode -int 1), which is supposed to change the default to Single Page. As I say, this does not work for me, and Preview stubbornly continues to default to Continuous Scroll.

Can anybody help?

  • Wow - I had not spotted this - you are right. Continuous scroll can only be disabled in fullscreen mode.
    – dan8394
    Aug 7, 2011 at 5:25
  • DublinJimbo - Can you even switch to Single Page mode at all? I can only do this in Full-Screen mode.
    – dan8394
    Aug 7, 2011 at 5:28
  • @dan8394 – Yes, I can switch to Single Page using the menu. It's a pain having to do this every time, however. Aug 7, 2011 at 7:51
  • Ah yes - I can too. I don't know what I was doing before. Sorry about that.
    – dan8394
    Aug 7, 2011 at 10:25
  • 2
    @randallmeadows again - I spoke too soon, I'm afraid. I thought at first it had worked, since I successfully opened a number of PDF documents in single-page mode after applying the Terminal command with Preview not running. But I still wasn't absolutely sure that the change had stuck, since I'd opened all of these PDFs previously and wondered if they were honouring my having changed them to Single Page. Now, having sourced a PDF which I hadn't previously opened, Preview still stubbornly opened it in continuous scroll. Jul 8, 2012 at 23:47

2 Answers 2


A preference for changing the default view mode was added in 10.8:

I don't know any way to change the default view mode in 10.7.


I can suggest a workaround - there is an excellent PDF viewer called Skim, which does allow you to turn off continuous scroll mode. However, sadly it does not support any Lion features yet (although has its own (good!) fullscreen implementation.


  • Agreed! I switched to Skim because of Continuous Scroll in Preview.app …
    – myhd
    Sep 7, 2012 at 12:44

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