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When viewing PDFs that are setup for print, I often want to view facing page spreads. Typically PDFs are typeset such that the first page of the file/part/chapter always starts on a right page so facing page spreads are always even-odd number pairs. Unfortunately Zathura's "dual" display mode shows everything in odd-even pairs starting with 1-2.

Is there some way to setup display of facing-pages much the way most PDF readers default to in 2-up modes?

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Yes this is possible, it's just not well documented. Or documented at all for that matter. The only reference I found was in an issue report.

  • Once a file is opened, you can change the first page location by running :set first-page-column 2 from the command line.
  • This same line can be added to the rc file at ~/.config/zathura/zathurarc to make it the default.

Note: Since zathura 0.3.5 the format for this setting has changed. It is no longer a fixed value for all page configuration but can be set independently for different numbers of columns. As a result in order to set this for a two column layout you actually need to set the second column of the setting, the above format will have no effect. The new format looks like this:

:set first-page-column 1:2

Or if you want to set layouts for 3 and 4 column views as well:

:set first-page-column 1:2:1:2

That will start three column views with the first column but use skip to the second column to start 2 and 4 page spreads.

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