Google is working to bring a dedicated two-page view for PDF files to the built-in PDF viewer in Chrome via a new icon in the tool's UI. Spotted by TechDows, the feature does precisely what its name implies. At the tap of a button, it showcases two pages of a PDF at a time in a more booklike fashion.
Typically, PDFs opened in Chrome are shown with a single page occupying the primary viewing area. Users must effectively scroll down to access further pages. Conversely, the down-arrow keyboard keys can be used to that same effect. But users are ultimately stuck looking at a single page at a time.
With the new feature in place, Chrome's PDF viewer operates more like a full-fledged PDF viewer. The feature won't necessarily be the most useful for every user but it will give those that need to review more than one page simultaneously that option.
You can use two-page view right now if you're not in Chrome OS
Now, turning on a two-page view for PDF files in Chrome presently requires the Canary version of the browser. That's because it's still in testing. Getting into that is going to be straightforward for those who really need a two-page view. But that's not going to be the case for Chromebook users since getting to the Canary Channel requires some work. It's also going to be too unstable for most to use as a daily operating system.
Users on Windows, Linux, or Mac desktop platforms will simply need to download the Canary version of Chrome directly from Google. That will install alongside the standard version of Chrome, so users can still access that as needed to offset any bugs they may find.
Once Chrome Canary is installed, users will need to visit the "chrome://flags" experimental settings page via the URL Omnibox. Then they'll need to search for "#pdf-two-up-view" before setting the resulting flag setting to "Enabled" via the drop menu. The browser will need to be restarted.
Then, after opening a PDF in Chrome, users will be able to hover over the PDF page to reveal page interaction options and features. Those appear at the bottom-left-hand side of the PDF with a mouse hover in that vicinity of the page. The icon to enter a two-page view resides just above the zoom icons in that UI. That's just below the "full page" option and under a pen-shaped icon.
When will this feature arrive in stable Chrome?
As noted above, this feature is still relegated to the unstable Canary versions of Chrome for the time being. But it isn't a big feature that should have any impact on the stability of Chrome itself. So, as with other recently-added PDF features, it shouldn't remain stuck in that version for long.
If everything goes smoothly with testing, the PDF two-page view feature should arrive for all users without the need to turn on an experimental flag or download Canary Chrome within the coming weeks. That's as opposed to how things work with bigger features, which can take months to arrive.