I have a 12 page brochure set up in InDesign as spreads. I want to export the design as a PDF viewable as spreads but printable only as single pages.

Can anyone help?

1 Answer 1


Export the PDF as single pages.

Then in Acrobat, set the PDF View Options to display Two-Page View

enter image description here

This changes how the current PDF is displayed. But it does not alter how the PDF will be displayed the next time it is opened.

If you want everyone to always see two page spreads when opening the PDF, then use File > Properties to set the Initial View > Page Display to "Two-Up" (with or without a cover) and save the file.

enter image description here

If you select "Cover Page" it means page 1 will always display as a single page, then pages from pg2 onward will be displayed in pairs. "Continuous" means the pages display as a long scrollable strip (in pairs) as opposed to needing to hit a "turn" page button or arrow key to see the next set of pages.

All this merely changes how the PDF is displayed. It does not alter how the PDF is printed. The PDF will still print single pages even though it shows two pages on screen.

These are Acrobat X screenshots. It is not impossible that Adobe has improved things a bit in the last few years.
Menus and windows may look slightly different or be located in a slightly different locations in newer versions of Acrobat.

As far as I'm aware, you can not set these types of PDF display options from within InDesign's PDF export for print PDFs. PDF display options for print PDFs must be set from within Acrobat. Exporting to an Interactive PDF using InDesign will show page display options in the export dialog. (All of this is as of CC2019/CS6 - It may have changed in 2020+ versions)

  • Actually, you can setup the viewing options when exporting a PDF from InDesign. For an Interactive PDF it works as expected with all layout options. For some reason unknown to me, Two-Up (Facing) and Two-Up (Cover Page) are grayed out when exporting a Print PDF, so I sometimes end up doing like you propose here.
    – Wolff
    Nov 17, 2020 at 19:10
  • @Wolff Must be a newer development - Admittedly I prefer legacy versions of the app and avoid CC, especially Acrobat DC. -- In Indesign CS6, there's no option to alter the Initial View options of a (print) PDF. There are page display options for an Interactive PDF. Not certain if this user can use an Interactive PDF.. I just assumed print since the question references printing.
    – Scott
    Nov 17, 2020 at 19:13
  • 1
    It works fine for print PDFs as well in recent versions of InDesign (not sure when exactly it was added – CC something). @Wolff, those settings require a newer version of PDF than the others, so if you’re exporting based on PDF-X or PDF/A-1 (or some of the other standards whose names all blur together for me), then they’re not available. Choose PDF 7 and they become selectable. Nov 18, 2020 at 0:24

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