How to Read Pages Side-to-Side Like a Book in Microsoft Word

Learn how the side to side page movement in Word makes reading documents easier.

Microsoft Word defaults to the vertical layout when you open a document. What if you wanted to read pages side-to-side instead? Word offers this layout too and it makes flipping through a multi-page document much easier on widescreens and touch screens. Let’s see how to use the Side to Side page movement in Word.

This feature is only available in Microsoft 365 right now.

Read Pages Side by Side in Word

The Side to Side command is another way to view your documents in Word. Follow these steps to set up the view.

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  1. Open the multi-page document in Word.
  2. Go to View. Select the Print Layout option if you are in another view like the Web Layout.
  3. Select Side to Side from the Page Movement group on the Ribbon. The Print Layout option activates this option.

Microsoft Word Side to Side Command

With Side to Side, you can now see whole pages by sliding each page from right to left or left to right. On touch screens, you can use your fingers to flip through the pages like a book. On other devices, you can use the horizontal scrollbar or the mouse wheel to move the pages into view.

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You can revert to the Vertical layout option from the Page Movement group on the Ribbon.

Jump to the Right Page With Zoom

The Side to Side option also activates another feature called Thumbnails in the Zoom group. You will see all other commands greyed out.

Select Thumbnails to display all the pages like tiles. Use the arrow keys to select any tile (or thumbnail) and then press Enter to jump to that page in an instant. Strangely, selecting with the mouse doesn’t work when Word displays the pages as thumbnails.

Microsoft Word Thumbnails in the Side to Side View

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Toggle the Thumbnail button to quickly move from the tiled pages to the Side to Side layout. You can also use press Ctrl and use your mouse wheel to go back and forth between the views. On a touch screen, just pinch to zoom out from the thumbnails.

The Side to Side feature combined with thumbnails can make reading a long document easier on a touchscreen and the larger real estate of widescreen monitors.

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