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Combine Multiple PDF Files In Preview

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8/19/2013 9:05:30 AM

Ever wanted to combine separate PDF files into a single doc? OS X’s Preview app is designed with this task in mind…

Difficulty: Beginner

Time needed: 10 minutes

Once you’ve combined the pages, you can rearrange the page order and delete pages you don’t want, before finally saving the result as a separate PDF file. With every new version of OS X, Preview’s implementation of this feature seems to change a little, so for the purposes of this tutorial, we’re going to focus on how to combine documents in Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8).

When you click the small grey triangle to view thumbnails of all the individual pages within your document, the end of the current document is represented by a thin grey horizontal line.

When you click the small grey triangle to view thumbnails of all the individual pages within your document, the end of the current document is represented by a thin grey horizontal line.

Close down: If you wish to merge an entire multiple-page document rather than just individual pages, click the grey triangle to close the document down into a single thumbnail before merging together

Knowledge base - Thin grey line: When you click the small grey triangle to view thumbnails of all the individual pages within your document, the end of the current document is represented by a thin grey horizontal line. If you release the dragged document too far down below this line, the result will just be two separate documents as before, but simply displayed in the same window.

Drawer options: You can also open the thumbnail drawer by selecting View>Thumbnails or by using the Alt+Cmd+2 keyboard shortcut. Change thumbnail size by dragging the thumbnail drawer’s right edge left or right

Page count: The title bar of each window shows how many pages the document currently contains – this will help confirm that your merger has been successful

Order, order: Once merged, you can reorder the pages within the merged document by selecting the page you want to move and dragging it vertically within the thumbnail drawer to its brand-new position

Apple’s Preview app is well known in its capacity as OS X’s default viewer of PDF files. What’s not such common knowledge is that its talents are not limited to merely viewing documents. It can also be used to combine both single and multiple-page documents to create multiple-page documents of your own.

Apple’s Preview app is well known in its capacity as OS X’s default viewer of PDF files.

Apple’s Preview app is well known in its capacity as OS X’s default viewer of PDF files.

Step-by-step Preview Combine multiple PDFs

1.    Locate source files

In Finder, locate the PDF documents that you need. It’s a good idea to use File>Duplicate to make a copy first. This will end up as your merged file.

Locate source files

2.    Open copy

Double-click the copy you just made of the first file to open it in Preview. In this case, we’re working with a single-page PDF document.

Open copy

3.    Thumbnail view

Select Thumbnail view by clicking its icon in the top-left corner of the toolbar. The thumbnail drawer opens to reveal a view of the page.

4.    Second file

Now open Document B, also a single page. Once the thumbnail drawers in both windows are open, line them up so that they’re both visible.

Second file

5.    Drag and drop

Drag Document B’s thumbnail over into Document A’s thumbnail drawer and drop it on top. Release the mouse when the cursor gains a green cross icon.

Drag and drop

6.    Successful merger

If you’ve merged the two documents successfully, the result should be a single document containing the two pages one above the other, as shown.

7.    Multiples

To merge multiple-page documents, open the thumbnail drawer of the file you want to source the extra pages from. Cmd+click to select pages.

Multiples

8.    Merge documents

To merge the documents, drag the pages you’re adding into the white space after the last page in the first document, above the thin grey dividing line.

Merge documents

9.    Save yourself

Once you’re satisfied with your merged document, you can save it as a new document (overwriting the copy you made in step 1) by selecting File>Save.

Save yourself

 

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