Viewing PDF Files in the Window Menu

If you open a PDF file and then open a second PDF, the second file hides the first document. If several PDFs are opened, the last opened document hides all the others. Fortunately, the Acrobat viewers have made it easy for you to choose a given document from a nest of open files.

When you load an Acrobat viewer with several open files, you can use tools to help you manage them. If you need to visually compare documents, several different viewing options are available. The Window menu contains options for helping you manage document views, and in particular, multiple documents.

The options you find in the Window menu won’t be found with tools or in the status bar, so you’ll find yourself visiting this menu frequently if you work with multiple open files in Acrobat or if you need to create more than one view in the same document.

By default when you open PDF files the Acrobat window appears minimized. In other words, the application window doesn’t zoom to the full screen size. This behavior can be a blessing for those with large monitors who want to work in Acrobat and another application along side the Acrobat window or a curse for those who want to take advantage of a full screen size when working in Acrobat alone.

You have control over your work environment in two separate areas. If you want to change the default view, open the Documents preferences (Ctrl+K) and remove the check mark where you see Show each document in its own window (requires restart). As the item suggests, you need to quit Acrobat and relaunch the program for the new preference to take effect.

If you leave the preferences at the default, you can zoom the Acrobat application window by clicking the features button on the application window. Click the Maximize button represented by an X in the top-right corner (Windows) and the window zooms to a maximized view. On the Macintosh, click the plus icon in the top-left corner of the application window and the application window zooms to a maximized view.

  • New Window

New Window was a new feature in Acrobat 7 Professional. When you open a document and select New Window, a duplicate view of your existing document is opened in the Document pane. You can change views and pages in one window while viewing different page views in another window.

This feature is handy for viewing a table of contents in one window while viewing content on other pages in the same file. When you select New Window, Acrobat adds an extension to the filename in the title bar.

If you have a document open in Acrobat with a filename like Employee Application, and then select New Window, the title bar displays Employee Application:1 on one view and Employee Application:2 on the second view. New Window can be particularly helpful when viewing PDF Packages. You can create a PDF Package and view two or more files within the package in new windows and tiled views.

  • Cascade

If you have several files open and choose Window >> Cascade, the open files appear in a cascading view with the title bars visible much like you might view cascading Web pages. You can see the name of each file and easily select from any one shown in the Document pane.

Click a title bar to bring a document forward. After bringing a file forward, if you want to see the title bars in a cascading view again, choose Window >> Cascade again. The document currently selected in the foreground will appear first when you use this command.

The Window menu also lists the open files by filename at the bottom of the window. When you have multiple files open, the files are numbered according to the order in which they were opened, with the filename appearing in the list. Select any filename from the list in the Window menu to bring the file forward in the Document pane.

  • Tile

You can also choose to have your documents tiled horizontally or vertically via the Tile submenu in the Window menu. When you choose Window >> Tile >> Horizontally or Vertically, the PDF files appear in individual windows arranged to fit within the Acrobat window in either a horizontal or vertical view.

If you have more than three documents open at one time, the display for Tile Horizontally and Tile Vertically appear identical. With any number of documents displayed in tiled views, the Navigation panel is accessible for each document.

Also, when you choose Window >> New Window and open a second view of the same document, and then tile the views, each window appears in the tiled documents. In Figure below, a PDF Package is opened and a New Window is shown with the views tiled Vertically.


Tiling documents can be helpful when you need to edit documents and exchange pages between two or more PDF files or when you need to compare changes among documents.

  • Close All

Select Close All or press Shift+Ctrl+W and all open windows close.

  • Split

Choose Window >> Split and the Document pane splits into two horizontal views of the active document, similar to the way you might see a split view in a word processing or spreadsheet program. The two views are independent of each other and offer you much flexibility.

You can view the same page in two different zoom views or you can view two different pages at the same zoom level or different zoom views. You can view one pane in a Single page layout and the other pane in one of the other page layout options.

You can also combine the Split and Tile option to view two or more documents, each with split views tiled horizontally or vertically. You can adjust the window division by moving the horizontal bar up or down, thereby showing a larger view in one pane and a smaller view in the other pane.

  • Spreadsheet Split

Spreadsheet Split is the same concept as using a Split view except you now have four panes. Just choose Window >> Spreadsheet Split. Click inside the pane whose view you want to change and then zoom in and out and navigate pages as needed. Move the divider bars horizontally and vertically to size the panes to accommodate your viewing needs.

Position the cursor at the intersection of the separator bars and you can move the bars vertically and horizontally together. To remove the Spreadsheet Split view, return to the Window menu and select Spreadsheet Split again. The Document pane returns to the default view.

  • Full Screen Mode

Another viewing option found in the Window menu is the Full Screen Mode. Full Screen Mode displays your PDF document like a slide show and temporarily hides the menus, toolbars, and window controls.

You can set up the Full Screen Mode for automatic page scrolling and then walk away from the computer— you’ll have a self-running kiosk. You can give a presentation and automatically scroll pages or set preferences for pausing between slides.