How To: Combine multiple PDFs in Preview

When someone at work recently asked me if there was a way to combine 6 separate PDFs into 1 PDF for emailing a proposal to a client, I realized two things. The first is, sometimes when you do something every day you take for granted that everyone knows you can do this quite easily with the Mac OS X Preview app. And second, I realized that I’m awesome.

Actually, I already knew that.

But if you’d like to feel as superior to YOUR colleagues as I do to mine, here’s how to do it :

Step one: Drag all 6 PDFs onto the Preview icon to open them.


Step Two: Click the ICON view option in the bottom right (Top Right in Lion).


Step Three: Make sure they are in the correct order, from top left to bottom right, as that is the order they will be combined in (you can drag the pages around in this view to reorder them).

Step Four: Command click (or Shift click) all the PDFs you’d like to join, EXCEPT THE FIRST ONE.

Step Five: Now drag those PDFs on top of the first one.

Step Six: Release and you will see that your first PDF now has the Spiral Notebook binding on the left, indicating it is now a multi-page PDF document.

Step Seven: Save it.

And that’s it, you should be good to go.

Comments
6 Responses to “How To: Combine multiple PDFs in Preview”
  1. Chris H says:

    Nice advice Doc, I’ve been using the same technique for a while. Another option which may be a bit simpler, is the “free for a limited time” app Gelatin (in the Mac App store). I haven’t played with it much, but it seems to work pretty smoothly, though there are a few reviews in the App store indicating some potential issues. But for free the price is right and hopefully future updates can resolve the issues that have been noted by others.

  2. Kenneth says:

    Doc, I find it much easier to accomplish this task using the Thumbnail/Sidebar view since it’s an icon on the Preview application to turn on the view. Once the sidebar is open, you can drag files in from finder and rearrange pages easily. One step and no file combining…

  3. Ryan says:

    This is a bit quicker in Automator:

    Ask for Finder Items (Allow Multiple Selection)
    Combine PDF Pages (Appending Pages)
    Move Finder Items

    Click on the Results button in the second step to see what Automator called it.

  4. Eric says:

    Or select all, then print selected, then save as PDF.

  5. hanguolaohu says:

    This tutorial should be updated with Lion screenshots as the methodology and buttons are different than Snow Leopard Preview

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