Whenever I open a PDF file in Ubuntu, the document viewer shows that file zoomed so that the page width fits to the screen width (and the lower part of the document is not visible). Due to the large monitor I would really prefer to have it show the full document with a smaller zoom instead (I think that might be called "fit to page size" in English).

I found no preference in the document viewer to change its startup behaviour. Is there any preference for that which I missed? Are there alternative PDF viewers which can be configured to fulfill my needs or which have this setting as default?

Thanks for any suggestion.

2 Answers 2


Evince (default PDF viewer) should automatically remember individual display settings for different documents. However, in 10.04, there doesn't appear to be a preference for the default view mode.

In Ubuntu 10.10+ (GNOME 2.30+), Evince has an option on the Edit menu for this: "Save current settings as default".


In that case you would change the zoom to Best Fit and set up all of your display preferences, and then activate that option which would apply to future documents. There are other PDF viewers out there that also do this, but I haven't found any as simple to use as Evince.

  • I just tested that in a virtual machine - works as described. I can wait until the distribution update. Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 20:17
  • 1
    You are my saviour. This has plagued me for 2 years of Ubuntu use, just yesterday I upgraded to 10.10. Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 21:58
  • 2
    The same option is available for Atril Document Viewer. Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 21:34

You can also run the following command in the terminal to change the default setting:

gsettings set org.gnome.Evince.Default sizing-mode 'fit-page'

If you also want to have all windows maximized by default, additionally run the following command, replacing 1920, 1080 with your screen size:

gsettings set org.gnome.Evince.Default window-ratio '(1920, 1080)'

After the first launch of Evince after that, it rewrites that ratio to something else (that still works).

(Tested on Ubuntu 20.04 with Evince 3.36.10.)

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