Feb 10


Combining pdf documents on an Apple computer is easy.

There are lots of websites offering software to merge PDF files, but you don’t need a third party program to do it. It’s built right in to OS X for free.

OS X comes with a free application called ‘Preview’ that will open automatically whenever you click on a pdf file. It turns out that Preview can edit and merge pdf files!

Preview app

You can merge PDF files using the built in ‘Preview’ application that comes for free with OSX.

Exactly how you do this varies depending on which version of OSX that you have. The concept is the same but the step by step pictures will look slightly different.

Please click on the version of OSX that you have to find out how to merge a pdf file:

How to merge PDF files in Mountain Lion 10.8 (2012)

How to merge PDF files in Mavericks 10.9 (2013)

How to merge PDF files in Yosemite (10.10) (2014)

How to merge PDF files in El Capitan (10.11) (2015)

For all versions of OS X prior to Mountain Lion (10.7 and earlier)  just follow the instructions below.

To join two or more pdf files together using Preview:

1 Open the pdf file in preview.

2. Open the thumbnail view (Shift-⌘-D)

3. Drag a second pdf ON TOP OF an existing page  thumbnail.

When you drag in step 3 it must drag to on top of the thumbnail, as in over it, not above it.

This is a bit hard to explain, the best way to grasp the concept is to look at the pictures below.

WRONG WAY: If you drag the new pdf file underneath (or above) the existing pdf they are not merged – it will only insert a thumbnail link to the pdf.

RIGHT WAY: Drag the new pdf file on top of the existing one and they will merge into one – creating one pdf document out of the two. (Notice the extra grey border compared to the left photo.)




SUMMARY: To combine two separate PDF files into one document you need to drag the new pdf ON TOP OF an existing  thumbnail until the grey border appears – then it will merge the two pdfs together.  (You can then save the new merged pdf.) 

If you drag it into the sidebar but not on top of an existing page the new file will be added as an external link – not merged into the original pdf document.

Read on for how to do it step by step.


577 Responses to “How to merge two pdf files in OSX 10.6 – 10.11”

  1. Glen says:

    That is brilliant! I used to use a program called Combine PDFs, but it is much better built into the system.

  2. wieske says:

    thanks! perfect explanation

  3. Chris says:

    This is awesome and so simple. I knew Leopard had something like this up it’s sleeve, I just never imagined it’d be so easy. I was able to drag multiple PDF files in and I just closed and saved with no hassle at all.

  4. Luffemann says:

    Thanks you´ve just saved my day !

  5. Rob says:

    Cool! Thanks very much.

  6. Moz says:

    This is really cool – spent a while finding software to do this, was even considering paying, but there it was already on my Mac!

    One slight problem though – it seems to massively increase the size of the file. I added a file of 104KB to one of 105KB and it ended up being 4.7MB! Yes MEGA!

  7. toni says:

    thank you so much for the hint!
    but yeah mine got pretty big, too!
    is there a chance of resizing it?

  8. Sara says:

    Thanks! Amazingly simple.

  9. CW says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I can finally do what I’ve always wanted to do! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  10. Lidwien says:

    Thanks much!

  11. Fabio says:

    Thanks a lot! This is an example of the reason for more and more people becoming Mac users.

  12. adela says:

    you can merge pdf files using ghostscript, it is fast and easy, read more here: http://www.csnotes.net/?p=96

  13. JT says:

    I find that it won’t save the document wilth all the new pages. It just saves the first page.

  14. Bob says:

    Excellent! THanks for this posting. Solved a problem for us… !

  15. Josh says:

    This was fabulous, easy and quick! Thanks for the pointer!

  16. Loren says:

    Life Saver! Why is this information not more easily accessible on the net, so many google searches for how to combine pdfs, but only after a lot of digging did I find this resource. And I was going to buy acrobat, not now!

  17. James says:

    Awesome, cheers for the tip!

  18. Sheethal says:

    Thanks! Worked liked a charm.

  19. Bronte says:

    After fruitless searching I find this tip. Excellent – thank you.

  20. Jim Smith says:

    Thanks, this was great. Now, is there an easy way to convert .pdf files to .txt files? I much prefer these for my ebook reader as they can be edited, re sized, formatted, etc. and require less space in my memory card.

  21. Oliver says:

    Awesome info, thanks. I always thought Mac would be that easy but I just could not get it to work, almost bought a program then saw your posting, and I was right Mac is that easy.


  22. John says:

    Thanks…that helped alot!!

  23. Kavi says:

    Thanks a million… almost downloaded a 780MB PDF merge tool!!

  24. Peter Collins says:

    Mac OS 10.6 seams to have killed this :(

  25. Martin says:

    This now doesnt work the way you suggest. Snow leopard handles preview differently and it only saves one of the pages if you do it this way. This works for Leopard only.

  26. wayne says:

    It does work but you need to drag the new document inside the old one (between the existing pages) not to the end, and then save it. (Strange!) Note you can then drag it back to the end and it works.

  27. Bruce Ward says:

    Thankyou very much. This is a real winner, and so elegant.

  28. Rob says:

    That’s a life saver – Thanks Wayne. I was considering going back to previous version of preview. I’ll try this when I get home.

  29. Simon says:

    You may need to go to “Edit” –> “Insert Blank Page” first (I did) before you can drag pages into your document.

  30. Jon says:

    This works on Snow Leopard too. Instead of dragging new pages below the first page, drag them onto the icon of the first page in the sidebar. Annoying change i’ll admite

  31. Pirko says:

    If you have a problem saving all individual pdf files into one file, do this: 1/ select all files you want to merge; 2/ open all in one go with Preview; 3/ re-arrange if necessary in the sidebar and make sure all files are selected (highlighted); 4/ print, but make sure to print to a pdf file !!!! (this is an option in the print pop-up menu). Done.

  32. Andrew says:

    I’m running 10.5.8 and I couldn’t get this working at all. Absolutely nothing happened when I dragged the second file into Preview.

    Any ideas, please?

  33. Pirko says:

    To Andrew: I’m running 10.5.8 as well. Select all pdf files and open with Preview. If the files are opened each in their own Preview window, then make sure sidebar is active in all of them (see View menu item), and you can simply drag the different pdf files into the sidebar of one and the same Preview window. Now you have all files in one Preview window, you can close all the rest except this one, and you can re-arrange in the sidebar by dragging and finally print to a pdf file.

    P.S. 1. Whether a group of files are opened in one Preview window or in several is an option you can set in Preview references; but it doesn’t really matter for this exercise as you can drag them into one window as you choose.
    P.S. 2. The print menu is a great tool for creating pdf or other image files from text files or any other formats.

  34. Nate says:

    Make sure you select “thumbnails” and not “table of contents” at the bottom. If you aren’t looking at thumbnails nothing will happen.

  35. Jon K. says:

    Why does Apple do weird things like this? Just when we get used to doing one thing – they go and change it on us. Grrrrrr.

  36. Andrew says:

    10.6 / Snow Leopard has not killed PDF merging. Delighted to just discover that it’s simply a case of dropping the imported page ON TOP of the page to be merged with.

    If you just drop it in the side bar, it assumes that you are just gathering documents to view together.

  37. Bob says:

    Great tip! Tried to find this in the Help on my Mac, but no dice. Had to go to the Wide World of Web.

    Kavi, the file size is probably a result of how the files were created. I scanned seven pages on a Brother MFC, @ 100 x 100 DPI (sufficient to make a legible copy of the doc) and ended up with 432 kb.

  38. Andrew says:

    Okay – no idea why, but it all worked this time. I even found that I can drag a JPG which I’d opened in Preview onto the sidebar of the PDF I’d opened there and save the modified PDF.

    Good stuff, Apple!

  39. dimisec says:

    Wonderful and very useful – did not know that feature before – thanks!

  40. Henrik says:

    Thanks – a great tip – it just helped me a lot. However, I need now a tool to reduce the size of the resulting pdf-file…

  41. Chensong says:

    Very nice post. Works for Snow Leopard for sure.

  42. Jeanette says:

    Thanks Andrew. Now I get it! Yes you have to drop it ON TOP of the existing page like pasting over it, and not insert it on top of the page! I’m using Snow Leopard10.6 and it worked!

  43. Andrew says:

    ah…! great tip … and i finally read the instructions properly … i had the same problem with dragging the various pages and then saving only to find that only one page had saved.

    so in snow leopard, you really do have to drag successive pages on top of the first page.

    cheers and thanks for the tip

  44. Joe says:

    Something very odd is happening for me. I’m using Snow Leopard. I can drag the thumbnail of a one-page PDF and combine it into other PDF’s but it doesn’t work with multi-page PDF’s–I can’t combine them into other PDF’s. I can’t get it to work any way I try. Help!

  45. Helen says:

    Thank you so much, Pirko. After struggling for hours, I finally read your suggestions. Two minutes later, I had my combined PDF file. :)

  46. Umair says:

    Thanks a lot dude.. it just awesome. i have been trying since couple of hours. but eventually u have save my day..

  47. Pete says:

    Thanks for the tip. I had spent some time trying to find how to merge files before going on the net. So easy, when you know how!

  48. Dan says:

    The above tip to drag the documents to the preview in the sidebar is the right answer. It creates a PDF binder icon then and the files stay together when you save. Just dragging it in uses preview to ‘view’ all the documents together.

  49. Gunnar says:

    Thanks a million! I thought this would be a real pain but Mac has it built into the system. The brilliance of Apple again. Thank you so much for sharing!

  50. Happy once again that it switched to mac!

  51. Dawn says:

    I was enjoying this feature and then I had to download adobe reader for business reasons and a nonexistent plugin for my OS, now Sidebar is gone and only Pages exist and I no longer know how to combine documents. Just as I was comfortable now something new does not seem to exist for Adobe reader as in PDF Viewer. Help Please!

    • Anthony says:

      Had the same problem but I found a solution.
      Google for RCDefault and you can download an app that will install in your preferences pane. With the app you can set the preferred application again and eliminate the Adobe overwrite.

  52. Carolyn says:

    Wow….that’s fantastic – converting my thesis to pdf kept separating out pages formatted in landscape from portrait but your instructions made it possible for me to merge it all as one pdf document. THANK YOU!

  53. mark says:

    thanks everyone… i have spent so long on trying to work this out… well until I reached this board.

  54. John Sal says:

    i am so frustrated! this doesnt seem to work with my computer….and i have snow leopard

  55. GAby says:

    Awesome tip, I’m everyday more into Mac… (Just converted)

  56. Rod says:

    Thanks for the tip and the clear explanation. I read about this on another site, but the reference was vague.

  57. John says:

    Here’s a challenge for some brave soul. I am trying to combine PDF text files and am encountering difficulties with the search function once I have saved the new, larger file. Upon putting two pdf’s together, I can search them and there’s no issue. After saving the file however, the search function is lost (or, to be more specific, goes awry: for example, I’ll type in an “m” and it highlights “t”s instead). Why the search function should be lost after saving is a total mystery to me. Any thoughts/suggestions?

  58. John says:

    In my last point, immediately above, I meant the “Search” function.

  59. Jordan says:

    Simon, thanks for your comment; didn’t work for me until I did the “insert blank page” as you suggested.

  60. JoeLee says:

    I am using Snow Leopard, and can combine pdf’s to view, but whenever I save and re-open – only the original page will show. I have tried the tips above, once I close it after saving I am lost what I have added.

  61. Dean says:

    I am experiencing the same problem as John. I am combining multiple pdf’s all of which are searchable in the Acrobat Reader. After I combine all of the files with Preview, the merged document is no longer searchable. The Acrobat Reader always returns the “no match found” message. Any thoughts?

  62. washtook says:

    This does work. If you want to combine multiple images into one document;
    1. Open 1st image.
    2. Save as PDF
    3 Drag 2nd image onto 1st image in drawer.
    4 repeat with all images and the save.

  63. Aman says:

    Awesome! Almost there…only one problem after combining PDF’s the the first PDF shrank..then if I zoom in on the first one the following PDF’s become oversized! Not sure how to solve the problem. Any help would be much appreciated!! Thanks

  64. Steve says:

    Wayne, you’re a genius. Thanks for sharing this tip. I was trying to work this out this afternoon, searched on Google and you were first! Nice work on the search rankings!

  65. donna says:

    I find I can only search and annotate the first part of the document – but not the added sections. Any ideas?

  66. Rhonda says:

    Thank you! This saved me so much time! I learned that I have to be in “thumbnails” view and not “table of contents”.

  67. Joe says:

    I have the same problem as Anon. The pdf page I insert is a different “size.” I have to zoom onto the other pdf pages. Any thoughts?

  68. Thankful says:

    Thanks so much! Appreciate the article :)

  69. Manu says:

    Thanks so much for your help. Mac is definitely a better world !

  70. zack says:

    I added my pdf files to the side bar, but at the end i can;t save it. when i try to save it … there is only “Save As” option and tht saves only single page not the whole document… please help me!

  71. SRP says:

    Awesome tip – thanks! I used to use PDFLab to do this but now it crashes every time I try. Don’t need it any more!

  72. Adam says:

    Thanks for this tip. You explained it in a very clear way and it worked on the first attempt.

    What this really points out, though, is that Preview is a very capable little program that doesn’t get enough credit or use from a huge number of mac users. I’d love to hear more tips for using it.

  73. Halie says:

    The ability to merge PDF Files built in. It’s good to own a MAC!!

  74. Michael says:

    For JOE and others struggling with DIFFERENTLY SIZED pdfs/images needing to be merged……

    Use the instructions above to merge/rearrange the files….. then go to PRINT and in the page set up select the correct orientation for your files and select “scale each page to fit paper”…. this will make everything letter size (or whatever paper you have…..

    This worked for me to mix a word doc title page, with other random sized photoshop files…..

    only works for reducing big files though… haven’t worked out how to increase sizes if necessary….

  75. AlvaroJL says:

    YES!!! So darn easy!
    And ot think I was thinking of downloading a program,etc. etc.
    We sometimes forget how simple Apple makes things for us!

  76. Lisa says:

    Thank goodness there are clear, concise instructions for techno numpties like me. Knew apple would have a way!!!

  77. domenica says:

    this is great … only: I am unable to merge pdfs that I have produced from word myself. I can only merge the pdfs I had scanned on a pc system. any ideas, any one?

  78. Elizabeth says:

    I can drag all my files into the sidebar as explained, but when I save it, only the original document is there. I see others had this problem too. Has anyone figured out how to deal with this situation?

  79. visitor says:

    thank u very much

  80. peter says:

    @Elizabeth. You have to drag it onto the first page, not just into the sidebar. Thanks a lot for the article, I had this problem as well, as it changed from leopard.

  81. jeff says:

    This is a lifesaving tip — I was going crazy trying to get Word (Mac or PC) to produce a PDF for my wife’s thesis. The Word on Windows was producing PDFs with fonts incorrectly rendered (in some places) in Preview but not Acrobat Reader. The Mac Word was producing a PDF file for each section (due to page orientation changes). The last straw was when the trial version of Acrobat crashed my Windows machine, or at least is taking more than 18 hours to format the PDF. I was going crazy… thank you. With this tip I was able to do it all on a Mac.
    One note is that the resulting PDF is 12x the sum of the individual file sizes. Not a problem in itself (it becomes 12MB instead of 1) but makes me a bit nervous. Some black magic in there somewhere.

  82. Beth says:

    Yes! Thank you. This help was great. My file was too big for E-mail and I had 16 pages that showed as individual PDF documents for iDisk. Now I have one document with 16 pages that I can send as one link.

  83. Amit says:

    Super. Very helpful thanks,

  84. VCM says:

    Man, did I waste time to find a free app that does this job. Excellent! For search engines: join pdf, merge pdf

  85. Seth says:

    How do you change from table of contents view to thumbnails view in the sidebar?

  86. Seth says:

    Nevermind. I always have way too many applications open.

  87. zaco says:

    Thanks! in my mac the red line and box appears blue, but it works just the same! great tip!

  88. marzook says:

    I can’t make this work. i am using 10.5.8. i am following directions, but when i drag the second pdf over to the side bar it just bounces back it does not go into sidebar. any idea what could be wrong?

  89. marzook says:

    found what i was doing wrong. if you double click on a pdf if opens in preview, and you can create the sidbar. but for this to work, you have to open preview as an application first, then use it to open the first pdf, then drag the second one. did it this way and it worked.

  90. NB says:

    I made the switch to Mac from PC just this past Saturday and I’m just AMAZED at how easy it is to do things, once you know how. This post was exactly the information I needed at exactly the right time – “thanks” just doesn’t say enough, but just the same, THANKS!

  91. Cynthia says:

    Thank you so much. I was tearing my hair out.

  92. Mark says:

    Wow thanks a lot for this! Thought I was going to have to purchase Adobe Acrobat or something, you saved me!

  93. Pat says:

    Awesome. I had trouble too, but like Marzook says, you have to open the file in Preview first. Then the sidebar option will show up.

  94. JThomas says:

    I also thought this was going to be a huge hassle. Not with Preview on the Mac! At least once a week I find something I think is going to be difficult made simple and straight-forward with Apple software. What a treat.

  95. Tanya says:

    Wow that was so easy, I love my Mac!

  96. Jerry says:

    thanks for the instruction. a bit complicated but it’s the direction that the mac user interface is heading. though it’s a lot more stable than the original, it’s not as intuitive and user friendly.

  97. Phil says:

    This works fine with single page docs. But if you have several page PDFs you want to combine, you need to ensure they are expanded – press option command right arrow. then you can drag and drop the files where you want and save as a merged PDF.

  98. John says:

    Excellent advice! You don’t need to merge the files to save it as one. I couldn’t get the red box when I was trying to merge them. But, I could add them into the sidebar and save the whole thing as a pdf afterwards. That seemed to work. Thanks again!

  99. Derek B says:

    Worked perfectly. Thank you!

  100. Carlos says:

    Thank u for the advice dude!!!
    You’ve saved my life!!!!!!!

  101. Jes says:

    Brilliant! So easy – thanks for the tip!

  102. Joe says:

    Thanks so much. Clear, accurate and helpful.

  103. Aga says:

    This is great. Easy way to combine pages. I’ve been needing this little trick for a while!

  104. PDF files says:

    cool advice, works like a charm

  105. Scott says:

    In Snow Leopard (10.6.3), Preview no longer behaves all that logically when trying to combine images. If I try to drop a jpg onto an opened jpg, as the author notes, no red box or line appears (it’s gray), and the second jpg doesn’t get added. After messing around, I’ve found that I needed to first turn the first image into a PDF, then the process works. However, you can’t add more than one image at a time. Trying to drag and drop multiple images (any format) doesn’t work. You’ll know it finally worked because the first thumbnail image (in the Sidebar) will change its appearance to have a left-hand spiral bound icon (see here: http://img.skitch.com/20100516-25ftjfn1fqw3xe9w121xyt7p3.jpg )

    Leopard’s Preview worked much better for combining multiple images. Not sure what happened in SL, but it’s currently a convoluted and non-intuitive method.

    • Vkalei says:

      Hey, thanks soooo much Scott! I’ve been playing around with this for about an hour given the above advice – no red box, no nothing. I was about to give up and just scrolled down to your post. I have a big grant due tomorrow and was dying! Thanks! Hope everyone else gets to you!!

    • ht says:

      Yes, this is a very important step. Make sure your file is in PDF before you try to merge anything. It does not work otherwise!

    • Laura says:

      Thanks Scott! their tricks worked like a charm… but I’m not computer savvy and It would never have occurred to me to change the format! Thanks!

    • holly says:

      Thanks Scott – I thought I was the only one who couldn’t get this to work – your advice helped out so much!! (mine were saved as jpegs)

  106. Kady says:

    We are running 10.5.8 on this iMac, and do not have the menu option illustrated above; under View, there is no mention of Sidebar ?

  107. Dana says:

    Brilliant…I am creating a school yearbook with comic life magiq software, it will be almost 100 pages and the program cannot have so many pages so I was breaking into smaller files and saving to pdf file, could not figure out how to put them all back together for the printer. Thanks soooo much!!!

  108. Jan says:

    Excellent step by step instructions and visuals. Thanks!

  109. Gwig Loes says:

    I followed Scott’s method (16 May), and it worked. Having installed the first image in the Sidebar I selected 159 other images in Finder and dragged them over all together onto the 1st, and they all appeared in the right order, but above the 1st. When I dragged the 1st up to the top in the Sidebar it was still just a single image, unconnected with the rest. I then found that I had to drag it down slightly from the top to just above the following (original) 2nd image) and a blue line appeared within a sort of cartouche containing all 159 images. It then went in properly, as part of of the 160. But when I saved the result, I had to be careful that I was saving the new combined file (which I had apparently renamed) and not just the original 1st image. Perhaps I should have deleted the separate 1st image after putting it within the cartouche. It worked perfectly, but I suspect that there must be a less laborious way. I have Snow Leopard v. 10.6.3.

  110. DW de Bruin says:

    Works, but why do I end up with a 2.5MB file when I merge ten 15kB files? This is a >10X bloat. In general, the Mac generates pdf files easily but they are WAY bigger than those made by Adobe or windows. Why???

  111. Tia says:

    Worked like a charm!

  112. Christian R. says:

    Excellent, thank you for sharing!

  113. DH says:

    THANK YOU so much…this was so easy and worked perfectly!! :)

  114. Audra says:

    You have changed my life.

  115. AG says:

    Great!!!! Thanks a lot!

  116. Gleb says:

    Thank you. That’s exactly what I need.

  117. Rafael says:

    …why didn’t I think of that, that was easy!

    Excellent instructions.

  118. illuminata says:

    However, when you open the resulting file in Adobe reader, Preview has messed with the fonts. Don’t know why it does this, but most annoying…

  119. Natalie says:

    Brilliant instruction – just saved me from buying some expensive software to achieve this!

  120. David says:

    Scotts’ advice of 16 May is VERY helpful in addition to the original advice – would be great if it were moved to the top of the list.
    But the tip was exactly what I wanted to know and most helpful.

  121. benraymond says:

    Thank you greatly. Concise, very helpful. Love to have netizens helping people like this!

  122. Ramesh says:

    Great tip. Simply superb!!! Thanks a ton dude ;-)

  123. Alex says:

    Great tip and many thanks !
    Comparing this “complicated” solution to all the other tools you have to buy and install (usually for Windows machines) – reinforces the reasons I LOVE the Mac!

  124. Tim Lant says:

    There is a better way to combine multiple files (and it also works for two files).

    Select all the files you want to combine and then command-click, select “open with preview”. All of the files will be combined, and you can drag-and-drop the order in the panel on the right.


    • admin says:

      Tim, that won’t work. What it does is it opens all the files in preview but it does not merge them. You can change the order on the right and won’t do anything. If you save it will only save the page that you are looking at, not all of them. Which is what you would expect, you don’t want it to automatically merge files every time you open them! It will only merge the files if you drag one on top of the existing thumbnail and get the red border like I was talking about in the article.

      • Tim Lant says:

        You are correct. Sorry if I confused anyone. (I was also using the print-as-pdf trick below as ana-cap suggests).

  125. math_lady says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve been trying to figure this out for ages.

    I also found that if you (accidentally) dropped the pages in the wrong spot, you can also sort and move them around in the sidebar.

    Not that anyone would ever drop in the wrong place…..

  126. dinerdon says:

    Thank you. It was easy to do and worked flawlessly. It saved me from having to attach multiple individual documents that should all be connected.

  127. Erin says:

    WOW thank you! I tried this one my own and couldn’t figure it out. Really appreciate the advice!!

  128. ana-cap says:

    Actually, it’s easier than that. All you have to do is drop each document in the sidebar and then select all the documents in the sidebar and select Print selected Images. Then instead of printing to your printer, hit the PDF drop down and it will save everything into another PDF.

  129. xhosa says:

    Can you also split pdfs?

  130. vicpop says:


  131. Meta says:

    How to make outlines? I want to combine 20 to 100 PDF files into one but i want to keep each of the PDF outlines (bookmarks) so its easy for me to locate the file name i want on the sidebar.


  132. Dianne says:

    Wow, thanks!

  133. DIane says:

    Thank you SO much! I’ve been banging my head against the wall and pulling my hair out trying to get this to work. The help in Preview is NO help. It fails to tell you to drag the icon “on top” of the other to combine. I’ve been using a PC forever with a full version of Acrobat so I actually hate this Mac (my husband’s idea).

  134. Edwin says:

    Lovely, it was a wonderful tip, thanks so much,

  135. Bigi says:

    This was easy. Thank you so much. I spent hours before I found this help to make it work. This made my day. Thanks again

  136. GWR Golfer says:

    This is great – I have another related question….. Anyone know how to reduce the size of a pdf file yet keep a reasonable quality?

  137. Brent says:

    Now that was awesome. Macs ROCK!

  138. admin says:

    To reduce the file size and keep good quality – that’s what Adobe Acrobat Professional does, and very well.

  139. noob says:

    Thanks! Worked like a charm combining 24 pages into one document – just remember to add them in REVERSE sequence so the last one you drop on the stack is the first page of the document. Super easy, and built-in to OS-X. Eat that, Windoze!

  140. Tiago 'Tix' Carvalho says:

    That’s another reason why I love Mac OS :)

  141. Very helpful to know selection of all documents in the drawer and option-cmd-P will then allow you to print or save to a file name of your choice. Great feature, very easy to use, super powerful.

  142. Rose says:

    Fantastic instructions and easy to follow, its really easy and quick to do and was just what I needed. So glad I came across this tip so I didn’t have to find another application to do it.

    Some others have said its complicated but it really isn’t, it may sound like it but its actually very simple. You simply drag the other pdfs you want merged into the sidebar and save. Simples ;-).

    Thank you!

  143. This worked like a charm and saved me a ton of headaches! Love the tip. Thanks :-)

  144. Erica says:

    This is amazing and TOTALLY saved me today. Thank you sooo much!!!

  145. jack says:

    worked fine….thanks mate………….

  146. Ima_User says:

    found this on the Mac website.

  147. Richard says:

    NOTE: the dragged file will be inserted after the page that it’s dragged onto; so, if you start with a multipage file, drag the second file to the _last_ page of the first file if you want them appended.

  148. Anna says:

    I have been combining pdfs on my mac for over a year but now it suddenly won’t work. I can open the docs in preview and then drag and drop them into one document, so that it LOOKS like it is working. But when I try to save them it turns out that they are not really combined. Any idea what is going on? Thanks!

    • Barbara says:

      I don’t know if you have resolved your problem by now or not. I noticed when I would first start combining two pdf documents I would sometimes put the second one just a little too low. Then it showed me on the title at the top that it was two documents, not one. So I closed it and chose not to save it. I reopened the first one, and then I made sure I could see the blue line at the bottom of the one page where I wanted to insert the new page. It was numbered page one. I did another page for the same document and it was numbered page two. So I might have page one and two from the first document and page one and two from the second document. When I did “save,” it renumbered it from one to four. If you don’t have Snow Leopard, I would recommend upgrading. It is not really very expensive, and it works great for this process.

  149. VALERIO says:


  150. For those using Tiger on Mac OS X 10.4, this Preview trick won’t work. You can try Batch PDF Merger which will combine PDF files on the mac into one large PDF file. You can arrange the files in any order you desire. Neat little app!

    • gelberaupe says:

      thanks for the tip. you should have mentioned though that if you want to merge MORE THAN TWO files you need to “upgrade”, which costs.

      • GrayMac says:

        I just merged 3 files on Leopard, but I had to merge 2, save it, then re-open and merge the third. Does that work for you?

  151. ah says:

    Thank you. I thought I had to pay $ to adobe for the full Acrobat or take time googling for software. Stupid Apple doesn’t make it more obvious. I was under the impression that Preview was powerless as Acrobat Reader.

  152. Thomas says:

    I have the same problem that Anna has. It always appears to work but too often it doesn’t actually merge the different PDFs. VERY frustrating.

  153. Thomas says:

    Okay … my bad.

    The files I was working with were JPEG files, not PDF files. Both types open in Preview so you need to be sure they are really PDF files before you try to merge them.

  154. Andy says:

    Are you dragging it ON TOP of the previous pdf? That is, when you drag and drop, do you just add the new pdf directly below the old pdf or do you literally “cover up” the old pdf file with your new one? I kept running to this too; just be sure to see the green (+) sign to be sure you’re actually combining the pdfs; if you’re just adding below the original pdf image it’s just adding it to the queue or something.

  155. Carl says:

    With the latest update to 10.6.5 it seems preview has added something like stacks to the thumbnail view in the sidebar. You now have to unstack the PDF so you see the pages individually and drag the PDF you want to merge into the expanded stack. If the stacks aren’t expanded or you don’t drop the new PDF inside the existing stack, they remain separate PDFs in the sidebar.

  156. Rabone says:

    The combination using preview does work, and you can order you documents very easily. However it seems that once this merged pdf is created, the contents of this merged pdf is not searchable by Finder or Spotlight. Any suggestions on how to get the contents searchable?

    • admin says:

      Very interesting, as anyone else found this?

      • ignatius says:

        I too have run into search problems within a merged pdf file. I have a mechanical drawing set for a custom built machine with approximately 600 individual pdf files distributed in 20 folders. If I open the documentation top folder (containing the 20 sub folders) in preview things work beautifully. Preview searches are fast and I can zip right through a search list. However, if I open the merged file that contains all 600 pdfs the search does not work at all. Also, if I copy some text (e.g, drawing number) and paste this into the preview search panel it comes across as garbage. For what it’s worth I experience similar behavior with the meta file on my iPad with the GoodReader and iBooks app.

        A work around would be a Preview equivalent for the iPad that would allow me to open the top folder of the document set without having to merge all into a single file. searchable

      • ignatius says:

        A bit more info on the search problem within merged pdfs. I’ve found that the original page in the merged document (always the first in my tests) is searched without a problem. However the search is oblivious to subsequent, added pages. Re-indexing hasn’t helped.

    • Rabone says:

      I still have no luck getting a contents search to work on a merged pdf file. Created several test pdf’s and as stand alone file able to search inside on test words, but once merged using preview and saved, finder does not seem able to look inside the file and find the same test words. Anyone have a solution?

  157. Mary says:

    Thanks a ton for this! I tried to figure out how to do it on my own, but couldn’t quite figure it out.

  158. Tyler says:

    I followed these instructions to the letter, yet it won’t let me combine the two PDF files, only queue them.

  159. Setbo says:

    You also need to place them in reverse order i.e. page 4 is first followed by page 3 and so on. In Snow Leopard a little ring binder appears on your PDF to show you’ve created a booklet. The images must be added directly on top of each other and not below.

  160. Bloom says:

    You probably know this already, but you can reduce the file size of the new PDF document (for free!) by opening it in ColorSync Utility and applying the ‘Reduce File Size’ filter. Ros M.

  161. Maya says:

    Thank you soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much! I’ve been looking for something like this. You helped me a lot!

  162. Margaret says:

    Thanks for advice on merging pdf files into one – worked very well after a bit of practice. And thanks Ros M for the tip about reducing file size using ColorSync. Margaret

  163. Redhedhs says:

    AWESOME – thanks so much for this info!! Worked like a charm.

  164. Mina says:

    Thank you very much for this precious piece of information that I couldn’t find anywhere.

  165. yayasfilm says:

    Is there not any way to reorder the pages within the merged PDF once you’re done merging? As someone mentioned, having to combine them in reverse order is ridiculous. Old preview used to do this no problem… I’m rather disappointed with the Snow Leopard version that is more complicated to combine and doesn’t seem to reorder?

  166. Jack says:

    FANTASTIC! thank you so much for this helpful tip! I was laboring over this for a while, then I followed your instructions, and WHAM!! Ready to go. Awesome. thanks for the concise and detailed instruction!

  167. Patrick says:

    “No – you can’t reduce the file size of the new PDF document – you can’t get everything for free! To do this you [need] Adobe Acrobat Professional.”

    Actually, there is a way to reduce the file size. There is a “Reduce File Size” Quartz filter that can be applied in the Save prompt window within Preview. This doesn’t have very useful settings but you can create new quartz filters in the Colorsync Utility where you can specify downsampling of images, jpeg compression, etc. Once created this will be available in the Quartz filter drop down in Save prompt windows. It takes some trial and error, and does not have the optimisation of paid apps but can still help.

  168. martin weiss says:

    One aspect of the merge that is not apparent is you cannot merge two multipage (more than one page) docs with each other unless you open them both and select all or some of the pages you wish to merge and then merge them. There is no problem merging single page pdfs or a single page pad with a multipage pdf.

    None the Apple instructions make this clear.


  169. Ivan says:

    Martin: thank you for this. I was going crazy until I saw your post. It is absolutely right. Multipage files do not work at all if you follow the HELP directions. One thing to add: It works if you open the two multipage files in the same window but I was merging 8 different documents and I found it was easier to keep track of them if I opened each in a different window. If both the “merger” and the “mergee” are open, then you can drag BETWEEN windows just as easily as within a window and I found it was easier to keep track of all the different file.

    Another point that is not (I think) in the Apple Help instructions is that you have to close the expanded combined file and then reopen it before it appears as one file.

    Then save.


    • Barbara says:

      Ivan, I did not have to close it and reopen it to get the merge to be complete. Each time I added the pages from a new pdf document, I just did “save” and it renumbered all of the pages I had put on the bottom. I just finished merging over 30 documents, a total of 108 pages, and did it in about an hour. Hope this is helpful.

  170. Lidia says:

    Thank you so much! This saved me today! My home scanner can only scan 1 page at once, so my document consisted of 5 SEPARATE pages. I is so perfect now!!

  171. Katie says:

    So happy that I found this – worked (almost) perfectly! Thank you!! :)

    I do have two problems though –

    1. I have 7 pages that I want to merge into a single file. I can get pages 1 through 6 to merge, but page 7 refuses! Any ideas on how to get that last one added? I tried adding them from the same bar, then different side bars (like Ivan), and clicking “save as” with both thumbnails (in the same sidebar) highlighted, but nothing worked. I hope I’m not missing anything obvious! When I drag the mutli-page file over the last page, the little green “plus” bubble pops up like it’s about to work, but nothin’ once I lift my finger off the mouse.

    1. The pages, which should all be the same dimensions (each page was printed up and made into a single bound packet), are showing up in different sizes once I merge them. I can’t zoom in on one without zooming in on all of them – is there a way to make the pages uniform in size?

    Thanks again! Such a handy trick to know!

  172. Lee says:

    thank you so much for an easy and elegant solution! it couldn’t have been done in a way any simpler than this! =)

  173. hasan says:

    thanks so much so useful, i liked the fact that there was a delete page available, very useful when your given pdf’s to join with blank pages!

  174. Robin Shane says:

    Wow, I’m new to MAC and I’ve been really struggling. Thanks so much for the help. It was easy and fast. YOU ROCK.

  175. ROCKBOY says:

    I have had this issue for some time. Problem Solved with NeoOffice – Freeware for Mac OSX – YAY!

  176. Joy says:

    This was so easy – thanks

  177. Easy says:

    That was very helpful. Thank you.

  178. Greg says:

    This was a great help. Thanks for the post!

  179. Jules says:

    This has been so so helpful, just fantastic. Thank you.

  180. Wonderful! I thought it was impossible and kept sending files to my other computer with Acrobat.

  181. Barbara says:

    I just upgraded to Snow Leopard OS X 10.6.3 tonight. I publish books and I need to send one big PDF document with the whole book saved for the printer. I could not connect the pages with MS Word because some pages are across and some are up and down. So tonight I started saving one whole book. I saved the first document as the book name in PDF. Then I opened the next document and drug each page over to the bottom of the thumbnail column. A blue line appeared where the new page would be placed. If you get it too close to the top of the last document, it will put the new page above the last page. But if you place it toward the bottom, it will place the new page at the bottom. I would add all pages of one document in order, and then save the book document, which would cause all the new numbers to be added as pages at the bottom. Once I goofed and there were two pages in the wrong spot and I just had them highlighted and hit delete, and they were gone! Then I found a page that needed to be at the top, so I put it barely above the first thumbnail on the book document, and it inserted it at the top. I pressed “save” and it became the first page and all the other pages were renumbered. This is a GREAT feature for anyone who publishes books, and probably many other practical uses. I’m so glad I upgraded and I’m happy to have a Mac!!!

  182. MJ says:

    Thanks – life-saver comments, and thanks to Apple for making the Preview do something useful.

  183. Barbara says:

    It is totally amazing. I just finished putting 61 documents of 201 pages into ONE long document! From the original instructions I did not think it would be possible to put so many PDF documents into ONE big document. I’m very thankful because my printer will love this! Snow Leopard is great! (You might be able to do this on Leopard, too, I’m not sure…) Once I got a couple of pages in the wrong order, and it was simple to just move the one to where it would be inserted above the other one rather than below. Then I saved and the numbering was all correct. Happy day!!!

  184. trixie says:

    ok i give up! i just plotted all my pdfs into powerpoint and save it as a PDF lol….

  185. Richard says:

    If you want to combine lots of pdfs, just select all in the side-bar (I use shift-click) then print and save to pdf – gives a single file.

  186. Cotomelon says:

    Thank you EVER so much!!! :)

  187. Leena says:

    Thanks so much for the pointers; this couldn’t be easier :)

  188. Kenny says:

    Thank you so much~
    It really helped me.

  189. Irma says:

    super. this was really helpful. thanks

  190. Daniel says:

    Awesome. Thx 4 the 411.

  191. GKR says:

    amazing! ridiculously easy. thanks for posting.

  192. Bruno says:

    Awesome feature !!

    Very useful thanks a lot !

  193. Sam Brasfield says:

    Will this work in Lion? I can’t get it to work and I just installed Lion…

  194. JC says:

    Thank you so much~
    After quite a bit of searching on how to do this (for free), this was definitely a relief!

  195. Virginia says:

    Thank you SO much! I was looking for a tool to do this on the Mac and you saved me from purchasing an unnecessary tool. Again, thank you for the step-by-step instructions!

  196. Neri says:

    Thanks, proved to be very useful tip!

  197. Karen says:

    how about splitting into separate pdf files?

    • Mark says:

      Just open the multi-page document, Select a page in the sidebar and hit the delete key on your keyboard.
      The page will be deleted from the document.
      Save the document with A NEW NAME.
      Now go back and open the original document again and delete the alternate pages and save it with a new name again, if you want to do that.

  198. craig says:

    Thanks very much, searched for a while and your post did the trick! great!

  199. Thelma says:

    You saved me a $9.99 monthly fee. Your instructions were easy to follow. THANK YOU!

  200. somenath Jalal says:

    @Karen, just in the preview go to file> print selected pages> and you can split it in how many pages as you want.

  201. somenath Jalal says:

    @Karen, just in the preview go to file> print selected pages> and you can split it in how many pages as you want.
    By the way. Dont print in you printer. Save it as pdf file. Understood?

  202. Laura says:

    So glad to have found this. Just want to share this extra bit of info for other boneheads like me. Everytime I doubled clicked on Part 1 of my divided PDF, Adobe Reader would open. To my great frustration I found you can’t do the merge in Reader. The Shift-⌘-D did nothing but take me to my desktop.

    Finally I thought to right-click on my PDF icon and then clicked on “Open With” and found Preview! From then on it worked like a charm.


  203. Polly says:

    What do I do if there are no thumbnails in the sidebar?

    • George says:

      In that case, you give up and get a third party product.
      I found that the only thing that you see in the sidebar is the individual pages of the document you have open. You can collapse it into a single thumbnail, or you can see thumbnails of the individual pages. You CANNOT look at thumbnails of other files, so you CAN’T drag and drop to merge.
      Buy Adobe – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. :(

      • mac says:

        When this happens, I look for another pdf (any will do) where the thumbnail DOES show and open that one in preview. Then I add the pages that didn’t show thumbnails AFTER that one, then delete the first one and save.

  204. Hugh1700 says:

    This worked great for me. I was really struggling with how to get this accomplished so thank you for sharing. I then used a suggestion by Henry on the “how to reduce the size” thread to dramatically shrink the size of the pdf file. As a Mac newbie this forum is a great source for help.

  205. Mark says:

    Hey George,
    Just go to View -> Sidebar -> View Sidebar (3 Steps) and you can see the sidebar even if there is only one page to the PDF.
    Also, you do not need to drag a PDF from one place on the sidebar to an image on the sidebar – you can grab an icon from a finder window and drop it onto a page in the sidebar – so basically you can merge anything.
    All of the things you need to do are easily done!
    Great article, very helpful!

  206. Ellen says:

    THANK YOU!!!! This made it so much easier. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  207. Michael says:

    Cool! The only issue I had was that I had to open the last pdf in the list 1st, and then stack them in the reverse order I desired to make the final combined pdf be in the proper order. Thanks for the tip!

  208. Raj says:

    These options are shown in Adobe 9. Please help me to merge pdf files in Adobe 9 versions.

  209. Richard says:

    I followed all these instructions, but when I reopened the saved document, only the last page I dropped in appeared. I repeated the process and the same thing occurred. Why is this and how can it be overcome?

    • Becky says:

      I had this problem and EVENTUALLY made it work…so…..
      1 Open one of pdfs with preview
      2 Click sidebar button
      3 Drag all other PDFs that you want on one document onto sidebar
      4 Order them
      5 Select THEM ALL – so each has blue box round it
      6 Go to FILE – bottom option is “Print Selected Pages”
      7 choose that option
      8 Under “PDF” button there is the option ” Save as PDF”
      9 Choose this and it should work – it did for me but must remember to save the new PDF via the “print selected pages” option

      • Hina PaPa says:

        this works, thank you so much.

        Just wondering, How come it wouldn’t merge as stated by other posters….

  210. Sally says:

    This didn’t work for me! I can easily drag the file into the other one and they appear to be there, but I don’t get an option to just ‘Save’, (ie the same file with an additional page) only ‘Save as’ – but having done that, once I have returned it to Finder, the next time I open it the additional page isn’t there. I have done this now about 6 times each time with the same result. Help someone please! What am I doing wrong!?

    • D says:

      The same thing is happening to me…

    • Yesbee says:

      It is happening because they are not pdf files. Lets say you were able to save one of the page as pdf file, then open that file as preview file (by right clicking then “open with” then choosing “preview”. Once that pdf file is open in preview then now you can drag other files into it and save it just as explained above.

      Hope it helped.

      • STEVE says:

        YES thanks, this particular answer helped a lot. I thought I had two PDF files from my Canon MP620. The files were both xyp.PDF, BUT apparently they were not true PDF files. When I opened each of them and resaved (same name with same PDF extension), and afterward followed the instructions given, I had no problem merging.
        A couple of years back before Snow Leopard with the same MP620 I never had such an issue.

  211. Mike says:

    This was so helpful, thank you for posting it.

  212. Michelle says:

    I’m having the same problem as Sally. I have merged them all, and have hyperlinked it into my blog, but when I open the file only the last page opens and I cant get the other pages. When I open the original file I can’t easily scroll from page to page.
    I tried to drop the new page on top of the original but I’m not sure if it worked properly, but when I dropped it underneath it worked.
    I am a bit confused now on how to drop it on top of it and make it work?
    Thanks for the help tho, this will be really useful for me once I figure out how to use this!!!

  213. Any idea how this can be done with Lion?
    It worked great with Snow Leopard.

  214. justGOTTAsayit says:

    Wow. Works great with Lion, but the shortcut to open the thumbnails is option-cmd-2. Just drag & drop. It was INSANELY easy. I could get used to this new mac thingamajig.

  215. Omar says:

    I also have trouble when dragging the image to the sidebar (the second file seems not to merge but to insert beneath the first). After saving the file I only end up with a single page. This sound similar to the problem some people are having.

    My solution is this:
    1. Drag the two files until they are merged in preview
    2. Instead of clicking “save as…” go to File->Print
    3. When the print screen comes up, there should be a total of 2 pages ready to print
    4. Click the pull-down button that says PDF (at the bottom left of the print screen) and then select “Save as PDF”

    This should give you a merged PDF file with both pages

  216. Donna says:

    Thank you so much! I was using third party sites for this since I didn’t know any better. Thanks for making me smarter!! :)

  217. Sabrina says:

    Thank you soooooooooooooooooooo much! :)

  218. Steff says:

    Thank you!!! The third party sites wouldn’t work for me, so this saved me from a breakdown. Can’t believe how easy this is.

  219. Circle3 says:

    I love that Mac Incorporated this function in the operating system. Free merging of just saved me $40.00 in a software programme. I had to read instructions t3 times because I am a man and figured I could do it if pointed in right direction. If all else fails… read instructions. Thanks for great tip!

  220. Necator says:

    Thank you so much! Great! I almost downloaded some software to accomplish this task – turns out, I don’t need it!

  221. Pistache says:

    I can easily merge 2 files… But can you merge 4? I tried merging 2 files, and 2 files, then merge those doubles together… but that didn’t work. Any suggestions?

  222. Mel says:

    When I am selecting and dropping pdf pages into preview most of them are different sizes. Any ideas on how to make them the same? Or do I have to use a different program for that?

  223. David Tartakoff says:

    All very helpful. But once I merge several files into one PDF and save it, and open it later in Preview, I can no longer remove one page. Why not? Any work around? What does saving and closing do to destroy the editing possibility?

  224. tudor says:

    same problem as Sally, Michelle, and Omar: followed the instructions, dropped the thumbnails from the new files on top of the one from the old file, but then when i went to save the file, i could only “save as”, and only the last document was saved under the new name. tried it multiple times with the same results.

    i was about to try Omar’s solution, but before i got a chance to, i realized there was an extra copy of one of the files already open in Preview; i closed all the Preview windows, started from scratch, and it then it worked like a charm!

  225. Melanie says:

    Having difficulty. I drag the one pdf on the thumbnail. I see the green + but nothing happens. They never actually merge. It is the same as it was. Any troubleshooting for me?? Thank you.

  226. Norbert says:

    This note was extremely helpful. I append documents and wonder why they didn’t merge; dragging it on top of the other document is the solution. Thanks!

  227. Amit says:

    Excellent tip ! Thanks

  228. Liu says:

    Thank you :)

  229. ID says:

    This is great information. Thanks a lot!

  230. Roger Gentile says:

    Thank you for this. I don’t know why updates to programs must “improve” things that aren’t broken, but you have saved the day.


    Badd, BADD on Apple OSX document writer nerds. Need to step up yer game to include useful task instructions in the Help menu !!!

  232. Robert says:

    Thank you for stressing the docs must be dropped ON TOP of existing files. The previous version of Preview did not have such a requirement and without knowing this, one is only displaying a bunch of individual files (though it looks like the doc has been assembled). As such when you try saving, you only save one of the files instead of the assembled doc.

  233. Numeracy says:

    This did not work for me. First, the doc saved as 3 separate pdfs at section breaks like everyone is finding (can’t get rid of section breaks because I have different page orientations. Then opened first pdf in Preview, no problem. Dragged other pdf file on top, all okay, but the on preview, the added file was a black page. Same for all the files I tried to add, regardless of orientation.
    I also noticed that I do not have the option to open the second two files in Preview (Preview appears as a selection, but is pale and cannot be selected.) Ooh boy!

  234. Juli Chamberlin says:

    This process also works in Lion. Amazing that i didn’t know about this feature in any version of Preview until now. Thank you so much for posting this!

  235. Loops says:

    Merging more than one file – I held down ‘command’ and clicked the 4 files I wanted merged with the original one and it highlighted all and I was able to drag 4 files in together. Now my problem is that it’s put page one last………lol, nothing is ever simple. I’m now off to search for how to change the order of them.

    Good info though for the first step, thanks :o)

  236. Luis Barreto says:

    Thank you so much!!

    Easy to follow instructions and the best part… for free!

    Appreciate it!

  237. Cameryn says:

    When I attempt to merge the two, it makes them into a book-like thing. What am I doing wrong?

  238. Dj Alex says:

    I’m experiencing the same problem as Melanie and Creg, it’s impossible to place a pdf-thumbnail on top of another. There’s no middle ground between placing pdf 2 above or below pdf 1. So I’m just rearranging them till kingdom come here. If I press alt while dragging, a green plus appears but it doesn’t change anything. I have snow leopard 10.6.8.

  239. Patrick says:

    Plenty of thanks here. No surprise. This is a really good note. Plse add my thanks for this valuable contribution.

  240. erika says:

    you answerd my question when nobody at Apple could, and it is so simple.
    Thank you so much. I will share the information with my friends. Hope to get more Tips from your webside. Erika

  241. Samira says:

    Thanks a lot! it was quick and easy :)

  242. Toby Montezuma says:

    Oh my goodness! THANKS! I was going nuts; Preview must have changed a bit since I last merged pdfs

  243. Lynne says:

    I got them to merge, but they are magazine pages coming out in different sizes. I tried to hit “make all same size,” but it didn’t work. Can you help? Thanks.

  244. cpltd says:

    Excellent description, very helpful. I had my pdfs combined in a couple of minutes.

  245. Steve Webster says:

    This is such a clumsy procedure. I find it difficult to believe that Apple makes this necessary. Surely when converting a word doc either by the “save as” or “print” functions, a real PDF can be created!
    Very frustrated with my Mac at the mo!

  246. Steve Webster says:

    I’m really struggling with this. I’ve been able to drag a couple of sheets onto the first one but after a few, the line is either above or below the thumbnail and won’t combine. Anyone know what I’m doing wrong?

  247. Steve Webster says:

    Got it fixed! Downloaded BATCH PDF MERGER! Works a treat too!

  248. JP says:


    Using Preview to merge PDF files or re-order pages really couldn’t be any easier than dragging them from one window to another. You’re likely accidentally getting it to do the wrong thing. I have had trouble too. I find that opening the pdf files singly (so they don’t open in the same window) and dragging from sidebar to sidebar makes things much easier.

    As for getting multiple PDFs when you print from Word, this is a Microsoft issue. Word will create multiple print jobs from a single file if the formatting in the document changes in such a way that it is needed. It’s the only application I can think of that does this.

  249. DEANNE says:

    I wish I was as successful as the last few posters seem to be. I followed the instructions, dragged the 2nd pdf on top of the 1st thumbnail in the sidebar and NOTHING. I even tried closing and re-opening both files and still nothing. I drag & release right on top and nothing happens.

  250. Paul says:

    I’m surprised people are having difficulty with this, it’s a pretty straightforward procedure.

    The only thing I can think might be going wrong is you’re opening the second PDF file when all you have to do it drag ‘n drop the file itself on top of the thumbnail. I’ve done this several times and never had any issue.

  251. Natasha says:

    thank you very much! it is really helpful when have to edit scanned images of the book and then save them as one document!!!

  252. Paul says:

    Is anyone running 10.7.2? Dragging a PDF file onto a PDF thumbnail in preview only lets me insert the PDF in front of or behind the opened PDF. It is impossible to drag and release the file overtop the preview PDF (as explained in this article for Leopard).

    • admin says:

      I have 10.7.2 and it works as described. Maybe the pdf you are trying to merge into locked?

      • dan says:

        I was having trouble on 10.7.2 with the same problems you described, but solved it by clicking “Thumbnails” from the “View” menu, instead of “Sidebar.” Then just drag the new file wherever you want the new pages to go. Works like a charm!

        To the admin/blogger: thanks for posting this how-to!

  253. Court says:

    This is not working for me at all. I have OSX and my Preview is version 5.0.3. I have followed exactly what is written above and nothing happens when I release my mouse as I am hovering over the first page. Nothing pops up in the sidebar, no error message appears, it doesn’t do anything.

  254. Titik says:

    Does anyone know how to preserve the page number as it was in Word? I managed to combine the pdf files (the multi pdf files created from a single word document) but I need to preserve the page number. Can anyone help.

  255. Karen says:

    Very clear, thank you!

  256. yavuz says:

    thanks a lot. description is very helpfull. ı achieve it at the end :)

  257. Chris says:

    Ok, I think I know the problem.

    If you are trying to merge two .pdf documents with multiple pages you cannot just drag one on to the other using the thumbnail. Instead, you have to expand the preview in the side-bar (click on the thumb nail once) and then drag the pdf into the newly expanded area.

    I hope this helps.

  258. Rolf Raess says:

    iMac 21″ Lion 10.7.2
    It does not work in Lion to merge 2 pages on one…
    Any help?

  259. Maria says:

    Worked perfectly for me, thank you!!

  260. yurixi says:

    Great, worked for me, thanks life saver!

  261. Rebecca says:

    Is it possible that Preview won’t do this for jpg files? I’ve merged PDFs before but when attempting to do the same w/2 jpgs, Preview simply refuses to do so.

  262. Andrew says:

    Rebecca, I’m almost certain that you’re correct. Using Preview, I have tried to do merge 2 JPG files before and have also been unsuccessful.
    You could probably open the JPGs (individually) in Preview, then save them as PDF then combine them that way.

    • Katarina says:

      Andrew, thanks a lot! I had all my scanned documents saved as JPGs and could not figure out why the files would’t merge. After exporting them all as PDFs it worked like a charm. Thank you!

    • Jeff F says:

      Rebecca – It does work so thanks for figuring that out. My only gripe is that when I convert the JPGs to PDFs the resolution is worse and the file is virtually the same size. It’s annoying b/c what was crisp and clear as a JPG is now slightly fuzzy. It’s very subtle but it’s noticeable.

  263. lisa cross says:

    I figured out how to merge more than one document into one pdf file by using the “thumbnails” instead of “sidebar”….but, now how do I save this file? I used the “save a version” link, but when I click back onto the file, it only has one document in the file rather than all of the files I added. HELP…..

  264. Chaz says:

    This just saved me hours of combining PDF’s online, THANK YOU

  265. Sid says:

    Thank you sooooooo much, you saved me a big headach. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOUUOUUUUU

  266. maharith says:

    thanks for such info, however this definitely will be a pdf, cause I have multiple documents/images in my macbook pro (Lion OSx) and want to merge them in ! pdf file, in save there is an option for “save as a version”, is that it, cause Its working in mac environment, how about windows (wait answer ASAP and thanks)

  267. Aaron says:

    Thumbnails! Thanks for that tip on the newer system. That worked when sidebars did not.

  268. Dave says:

    Hugely helpful, thanks!!!

  269. skbecker says:

    Ditto Sid! I spent hours yesterday following the directions on Preview Help, which does not make the point about overlaying the thumbnail on another in the sidebar. Let’s just say that the blue line showing that the files haven’t merged is not unfamiliar!

    Your style is a pleasure: everything needed and nothing unnecessary.

  270. Anonymous says:

    Ensure you’re trying to merge PDFs, and not PNGs or any other document format

  271. Barbara says:

    I am merging many older pdf documents into one very long document in order to send it to the printer. I have MacBook Pro 10.7.2. I know how to use the thumbnail to move each page into the new longer document. It shows the + in a green box and then I let go and it is placed where I want it. I do save as, and it is saved with the original page number, but I want the pages all numbered consecutively, so I do Revert to, and then when I click on the revert button it renumbers them all. BUT I have one page that goes across whereas the others were up and down. I can’t get it to change directions, and I must do this to send it to the printer. All pages with the 11 inches up and down, none sideways.

    • David says:

      Barbara have you yet had any success with the portrait v landscape issue? I am trying to merge 7 files into one and the orientation gets lost. What I end up with is a landscape type image running out of available ‘paper’?

      Thank you

  272. Phil says:

    Thanks! Way better than doing it through automator.

  273. Thank you very much, this is makes things a lot easier. says:

    I initially had troubles when i dragged two pdf documents from desktop. It didn’t work. Later understood that the dragging should be ONLY after opening both the documents in preview. As others explained the view should in Thumbnail and then just merger (it indicates a plus sign).

  274. ST says:

    The ease with which I combined three multi-page pdfs into one…oh! the joy! Just another reason why I love Apple stuff.

    Thank you!

  275. Ritika says:

    Worked great! Exactly what I wanted. Thanks!

  276. Chris says:

    Thanks, worked a treat on Lion. And the revert idea to renumber pages is brilliant!

  277. James Pendergast says:

    One small thing: as a long-time editor, I proofread everything; and in the Summary instructions, “separate” is misspelled “seperate.”

  278. PDF Guy says:

    Very helpful post. Thank you!

  279. Jean says:

    I have OSX 10.6.8 and Adobe ( using my Imac i followed everything on here and it will not allow me to merge documents together or even drag pages from one pdf document onto another pdf document. I tried several pdf docs in case they might be problematic. I also don’t have a right thumbnail bar , mine is on the left side and is automatic. Any help would be great. thanks.

  280. Jeff Singleton says:

    What a brilliant simple operation. Care is needed to place files on top, but apart from that, simple. Once all pdfs are combined, you can easily reorder the pages or even delete or add to the combined file.
    Super explanation, clear and concise.

  281. jay says:

    i feel dumb

    I have 2 jpg files which i converted to pdf by “export”
    now that I have 2 pdf files I want to merge them
    I open both pdf’s on preview (5.5.1) and I drag from the thumbnails view of A to the top of the other thumbnails B pdf
    these are the option that I now have under FILE of preview:
    save a version

    When I use any of these option, it just impost one pdf, not both as I have set

    any ideas as to what I am doing wrong?

    another thing is that the file is way too big
    I try to export and change the quartz filter to “reduce file size” but it does not drop the size of the file by much…. wondering if the size of the files have anything to do with this

    • Tara says:

      I actually had the same problem. I just commented on a post above with a solution that I found. Here is the gist of what I said above:

      “I ended up following the steps above where I did the thumbnails and moved all of my documents into one pdf, then to save it I had click on “print” and “pdf” and then “save as pdf.””

      When I opened it up again it had saved all of the files together. Hopefully this helps!

  282. Dimitris says:

    First test was more than succesfull !!! I have OSX 10.7.3 (Lion), I’m new in the Apple family and still can’t believe these guys were made to make us live our lives with computers in such an easy way!! Coming to think I lost so many years in Windows…

    Many many many thanks for the original author of all these simple instructions!! God bless you!!!

  283. Mark says:

    I’m pretty sure in Lion you have to open up the first page in preview. Then take the second file from outside preview and drag it onto the thumbnail of the 1st page of the first document in preview.

  284. dave says:

    I have the latest Mac OS and Adobe reader but it won’t allow me to attach pdf files to other pdf files. Help!

  285. dave says:

    just figured it out on my own….it doesn’t work on the Adobe reader application, but it does work on the Apple Mac “Preview” application. Another reason why I am happy I converted from PC to Mac……

  286. C. Herrera says:

    Any chance the original article can be updated to mention up front that .png/.jpg fils have to be converted to .pdf format first before this will work? This is 3/4ths the way down in the comments, but it’s very useful as these extensions normally open in Preview but aren’t .pdfs even though one might easily forget this fact (and thus go through a lot of frustration wondering why the tip does work).

  287. Richard says:

    Using OS X 10.7.3 following the instructions supplied in this article; all works splendidly. The possibility to rearrange a multitude of PDF’s after stacking, is also present. In addition, I did tick ‘Show sidebar when opening single file’ in Preview – Preferences – PDF.
    Thank you very much.

  288. Marc says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this up.
    Just the instructions at the top made it So clear what I needed to do and saved me a lot of time.


  289. Ulo says:

    This process works fine and it is piece of cake. Just focus and follow the instructions

  290. Bo Huge-Jensen says:

    Thank you. Seems like a workaround to something that should be enabled in the HP printer/scanner itself. Nonetheless, after many months, this was the solution that worked. Great screen caps.

  291. JoeB says:

    I finally got this to work in Lion but it took some trial and error. First, the scanner I use makes jpeg documents so I had to convert them to pdf format. Second, “Save As” doesn’t show up in the Preview menu so I had to use “Print” then “Save as pdf”. I also tried the “Export” menu which seemed to work as well.

    Two requests: Is there a good article somewhere that explains how Preview works? And, is there a good article that explains the different formats (pdf, jpeg, etc.) and where each is used?

    I’m just glad I finally found this website.

  292. Brandon says:

    Just so everyone knows, the files that you want to merge MUST be in PDF format. I had JPEG documents that I was trying to merge in Preview and it wouldn’t work until I exported them as PDF’s. Also, after you have merged one file into another, and you want to merge more, you DO NOT have to keep dragging the files on top of the first (merged) file! Actually, if you do this, the merge will not work, all that you need to do is drag the additional files above the little line that appears after you have merged the first two.

  293. Ramana says:

    Thank you very much. This saved me a lot of work. OS X rocks.

  294. jill4prez says:

    When I put the pdf file over the other file nothing happens. Any suggestions about how to troubleshoot this process?

  295. Larry B says:

    May have missed something in this long list of comments. However, I’m not needing to drag the pdf on top of existing pages – I’m simply dragging the added pdf from Finder to the sidebar (Preview 4.2) – it shows a red line, drops the pdf in including multiple pages. I do a Save As and it’s fine. Opens in Adobe Reader just fine. Can also delete pages and move them around. I don’t have page number issues so that makes it easier.

  296. JC says:

    I had the same problem with dragging sidebar thumbnails to another sidebar and nothing happening. What I discovered to overcome this was to:

    1. Have all your PDF’s you want to combine in one folder
    2. Highlighting all those PDFs and open them at the same time with Preview.
    2. Now you have all the documents in a single sidebar but each one as a separate PDF file.
    4. To combine them, drag them all onto a single document and into the desired order.
    5. ‘Save As’ to save the document you dragged them all into a single PDF file.

    • Nicole says:

      That didn’t work. I have a yearbook to post as a PDF and it’s saving the last PDF clicked as the file under SAVE AS.

    • Nicole says:

      I have to apologize; I was pretty frustrated. The yearbook is due in 2 hours!

      But I realized I hadn’t dragged and it was treating all my individual PDFs as one file; so when I would “save as” it would save the one that was clicked.

      But when I redragged or placed on top of it, you have to look at the top to see that PREVIEW will start to say 2 out of 2 or 5 out 5 and see that the application is “adding the pages”. Thanks again1

    • Elsa says:

      This is the answer i was looking for…. Thank you so much!

    • mrebbel says:

      UHG…its not working. The documents won’t combine. When I try to drag them on top of one another in the side bar they don’t combine.

  297. Hushero says:

    Thank you very much, you saved my day :-)

  298. jebowers87 says:

    Just a note to everyone, I tried this trick and was running into problems merging…While I was able to merge the PDF’s, I noticed that a few field vaules in one page were overwriting their values to the next page. I fixed this by printing the original pdf file (with editable fields) to just a static document (no editing possible without special software). After that, I was able to merge with no problem. If someone has already explained this, sorry for stepping on toes…

    Just my 2 cents…


  299. Mary says:

    if it’s not working, it’s because what you are trying to merge is not saved as a pdf, but instead as something like jpg. resave each of the files first as a pdf & it should work with the above steps.

    • Emmanuel says:

      Thanks! I saved mine in jpg and wasn’t able to figure out what i was doing wrong. Thanks! I finally got it together after reading you post. Remain blessed.

  300. Evan says:

    On top of? Really? All the time I wasted dragging the second file UNDER the first file. Ahhhhh!
    Thanks for tanking the time to write this page.


  301. Chris says:

    What a life saver! I am trying to get rid of paper and my Kodak All in one only scans one page at a time. This

  302. Jeanine says:

    awesome help!! Thank you

  303. Brian says:

    Thank you very much for this effort!

  304. imge says:

    Hi, I did merge my pdf files correctly and I’m not a leopard or lion user, just mac osx… Just select all the files you want to merge, right click and open with preview. While in preview, able sidebar and go and click on the little arrow that appears on every pdf file (do the same for all files, just click on em, you will see all the pages).
    Finally select all (cmmd+a), click file, click “save all” And voila! it worked for me, hope it’ll work for you too.

  305. Rebecca says:

    Thank you very much! This was extremely helpful!! So nice to have a Mac and friendly people like you who can show me how easy it is to use! :)

  306. Colin says:

    Yup, this article was a life saver for me too. Thank you. It’s appreciated.

  307. Tracy says:

    It worked but I had to do a little twist. I’m using Snow Leopard with my MacBook but for some reason I could only drag and drop one page onto another page, any more than that and it didn’t want to combine them. So to combine 6 pages into one I highlighted all six pages and then dragged these onto the first page. For some reason it worked and all six pages were combined into one document. I then saved it under a different name and closed everything and opened that new document and yup all six pages are there. This is a lifesaver as I have to apply for a job online that requires my unofficial transcripts as a single file but like others my scanner will only scan one page at a time and only creates .jpg files. So I used Preview to change the .jpg to .pdf and then used the directions above to combine them together. Thanks.

  308. james says:

    THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH, you just made my life one bit easier :)

  309. kathy says:

    Does anyone know how to either delete one or more pages in a pdf document or at least black/white out a page? I’m using a mac. Thanks!!

    • Gordon says:

      To delete a page in a PDF in Preview, display the document sidebar with the thumbnails, click the page to be deleted to select it, hit the DELETE key. Voila!

  310. Susan Sims says:

    For those who need more manipulation on PDF documents: create PDF from multiple documents, edit text and images, markup and review, fill interactive forms, there’s a great app called PDF Studio.

  311. david says:

    Wish someone would have told me this, so i’ll share . . .

    the sidebar has to have each PDF OPEN, then highlight one (will have the yellow lines over all pages), then drag and drop onto second PDF.

    on macbook

  312. Heidi says:

    Thank you so much for this!! You saved me so much time!

  313. Jackie says:

    Ok I am a total Windows user and I have trouble using Macs. I figured this out though. The original instructions are correct, but the key is placing the thumbnail document-you-want-to-add OVER TOP of the original pdf in the sidebar. If you place it directly over top, you get the gray double box around it and it makes like a book and you can save the whole thing. I had to make a 2 page scanned transcript into one pdf and this worked.

    • AppleJuicer says:

      Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4
      From “Finder”, select the pdf’s you want to assemble in one document (pdf).
      This will open “Preview”.
      Pick the “File” dropdown.
      Pick the “Printer” option. In the lower left hand corner,
      Pick the drop down arrow next to “PDF”.
      Pick “Save to PDF”.
      Voila! Eureka! Stop the Madness!

      • Aud says:

        OMG, thank you so much, AppleJuicer. All this drag on top of nonsense was starting to drive me insane, because it just wouldn’t take it….this makes so much more sense, and WORKS, the first time!

      • taz says:

        This is the best method! Thanks!

  314. Sally says:

    Applejuicer you are a superstar thank you, I have wasted most of the day on this!

  315. Barbara says:

    how do you combine jpg files into one document? I tried with the combined pdf.jpg ending but it wouldn’t work

    • Wayne says:

      You can’t combine jogs, a jpg only has one picture pin it.
      You could convert the jpg into a pdf, (For File Menu choose Print, then from PDF drop down choose Save to PDF) then merge the PDF’s.

  316. Bernie says:

    This is what I found out with OSX Lion 10.7.4.
    Open PDF in Preview
    Open thumbnail pane
    Drag other PDFs into thumbnail pane
    Put them in what ever order you require
    Highlight all PDF thumbnails
    Drag them to desktop
    Instant combined PDF document!

  317. SharkTank says:

    For those of you creating PDFs out of Photoshop or Illustrator and then following these procedures, it may not work right away, since the files coming out of both of these apps aren’t really PDF’s it seems (’cause then you wouldn’t need acrobat would you!). So follow instructions below, but before merging the files together save them out of Preview individually and “save as” PDF. I know it’s seems stupid to have to resave them as what they should already be, but Adobe has never been known for cross application commonalities. (hence Bridge – I thought we had a file system already?)
    Then take those new files, open the first one in preview, open the side bar, and then drag and drop the next file you want to add on top of the thumbnail of the first one that appears in the side bar. That first thumbnail will get a looped binder graphic added to it’s left side (it’s now a book!) and a curved arrow indicating that you could open it and turn pages. The page you added will also appear as a second thumbnail below the first “cover” page. For docs where you want many pages, just keep dragging and dropping the next page you want to add onto the last thumbnail that appears in the side bar (not the cover page). A line will appear indicating whether the new page will appear before or after the current thumbnail (dropping on the top half of the thumbnail will put the new page before and dropping on bottom half will put it after). You can always rearrange them when you are done. One thing to note is that all page numbers may say “1”. Don’t worry, once it’s all saved they will be updated. Then when done, click on the first thumbnail and choose file/saveas and save as a new doc name in PDF format. Open that new doc in preview to check that the order is correct and that the page numbering “took”. Happy non-Acrobatting.

  318. Ian says:

    Is it possible to merge the pdf, as well as add the table of contents. I have 8 large PDF files I am trying to merge, however each file (approx 750 pages each) has a large Table of Contents. When I merge, the table of contents is not included.

  319. Whitney says:

    After a couple frustrating minutes I realized that my scanner scans the files in as TIFF files! Argh! A simple re-Save As a PDF document and I was home free with my new merged PDF files. SOOOO happy I didnt have to buy Acrobat!! Yay! Thanks!!

  320. MONI for San Francisco says:

    Man-O-Man, I love you!!! Thank you! Simply, short and sweet!

  321. doc ronie says:

    thanks for the big help…i managed to combine 5 separate pdf files into one pdf file:)

  322. Debi Lu says:

    awesome! I didn’t have to scan in again to double side with doc of various types! I didn’t know it was possible or so easy, glad I did a search and found your article.

  323. Sam McCready says:

    How do you merge pdfs on the new operating system mountain lion?

  324. Peter Hartnall says:

    This advice was EXACTLY what I wanted. Wonderful. Worked like a dream

  325. Proma says:

    THANK YOU! This was so helpful — unsuccessfully tried to figure this out on Word, then read this and did it in 2 minutes.

  326. Pat says:

    These directions were JUST what I was looking for. Super directions and screen hots! Took me less than a minute to accomplish my task. Thank you for taking the time to post these directions. -Pat

  327. Cathy says:

    SOOOO GREAT!! Thanks for posting this gem! I do love how much is built in to every OS X version.

  328. Lucy says:

    Thanks so much, works perfectly – trying to combine permission slips for school to save on ink/paper!

  329. AB says:

    THANK YOU! This tutorial saved me today! I am finally submitting my final thesis draft online, and I was so frustrated.
    Great find!

  330. Melissa says:

    Hi there, I love all this, but here is my issue. I”m cutting sections from 2 different PDF’s and making a new PDF. I’m trying to put these two new sections on one piece of paper. do we know how to do this? When I combine the new edited down sections together it’s 1 PDF but 2 pages and I want it on 1 page. Help!!!

  331. kathie says:

    after I’ve merged the two pdf’s, is there a quick way to delete pages in the new merged doc? some of them will be redundant.

  332. GRATEFUL says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! The best tutorial i have ever found on how to do something. Do you have others?

  333. Rita says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! Worked like a charm =)

    Did the same with my jpeg files after converting them to PDFs. Also, it helps to drop them over the pdf and then place them in the grey area but under the initial page, so the 1st is on top and 2nd and 3rd follow right under-this way they are already in the correct order.

  334. Narayanj says:

    Best How to save a lot of effort and best of all got to use OSX functions for which Windows Dudes pay money to Microsoft and Adobe!!

  335. BenDee says:

    Thank You so much. It was very helpful.

  336. Teri says:

    This was very helpful in a pinch. Thank you!

  337. Ravindra says:

    I liked it. It was very helpful. Saved me from downloading another software to merge my PDF files
    Thank you so much

  338. Samaneh says:

    Thank you! for the information! very helpful.

    brilliant ideas of steve job’s team! well done apple!

  339. Mauro says:

    Thank you very much! Very useful tip. Worked perfectly.

  340. mrebbel says:

    I have tried all of these and nothing works. I can’t file print / PDF: the Save to PDF is greyed out. I can’t drag them on top of each other in the side bar. When I try they just keep bumping below or above the file. I’ve tried organizing them all in the side bar, selecting all of them and dragging them to the desktop…nothing happens. GRRRR…any other suggestions?

    I am using Preview 6.0.1 and OSX 10.8.2 Mountain lion leopard (Actually I could do this before I was forced to upgrade to mountain lion.) I’ve checked for new updates and there are none available.

  341. Heather says:

    Thank you so very much! We are super grateful for your extremely clear and concise instructions!!

  342. Kyle King says:

    For Mountain Lion, I combined my documents by clicking on the “VIEW ICON” in the top left corner and selecting “THUMBNAIL”.

    From this view, the instructions are the same if you click and drag the thumbnail onto the list to merge multiple PDF’s.

    • Nando Rossi says:

      Actually, it does not. Mountain Lion has apparently removed this entire functionality. When you drag images on top of one another, it basically stacks them up on the sidebar, and when you export, you get separate files as well.

      • Andrew says:

        Nando, I’m not sure what you’re doing, but when I do what Kyle described, I get a PDF of the merged pages.

        For safety’s sake, I then print, and select the PDF drop down box, and save as a PDF and give it a new name.

      • Douglas Freer says:

        I have the same problem with Mountain Lion and Preview 6. Thumbnails wont let you drag and drop and there is no sidebar button. Under View > Sidebar the options are drained out.

  343. Drag ON TOP, ohhhhh… Thanks!!!

  344. Jeffrey says:

    This works, however it keeps changing the size of my documents to 8.5X14″. How do you preserve a custom size with this process?

  345. lily says:

    Hi, thank you, this was very helpful

  346. Natalie says:

    I’m having trouble getting this to work. One of the PDFs has editable fields and checkboxes (employment application). Whenever I combine it with another PDF, all of the fields and checkboxes are empty when I re-open the document. Thoughts anyone?

  347. Aracely U. says:

    Thanks!! I had been emailing my docs to work merging and resending back to save. Have had my MAC for over a year and still learning the tricks it can do!!


  348. Jim says:

    Fricken fabulous! Combining PDFs worked for meI Thank you Thank you.
    Can’t wait to see what else this web site can offer me.

  349. Lesley says:

    Is there any way to preserve the names of the individual PDF files that are being merged? It defaults to labeling each sheet 1, 2, 3, etc. but for what I’m doing it’s critical that the sheet name remain what is was before the merge. Anyone have any ideas?

    • Wayne says:

      I didn’t know you could change page numbers to be named? Are you sure you can do that?

      • Wayne says:

        I just checked in Adobe Acrobat Pro and even there it won’t preserve file names, but you can manually apply a prefix to a page number of a document in Adobe Acrobat Pro which may help.

  350. Bill says:

    I have tried both methods (dragging over the thumbnail an opening both and print-save pdf and cannot get it to work. TRying to merge two pdf’s in Snow Leopard 10.6.8

  351. Jsy says:

    One addition to this: If you want to merge multiple pdfs into a single document in Snow Leopard, if you drop the 2nd into the 1st, then you won’t be able to drop the 3rd, etc. into the first. The trick is to open them all in Preview, then select all the other documents (2nd,3rd,4th, etc), and then drag and drop the whole group into the 1st in one shot. Preview knows to keep them in the same order they were in.

    • Tom Winn says:

      No matter how I try it, I can’t get this to merge. I’m on a Core i7 MacBook Pro with 16MB memory running Snow Leopard 10.6.8. My Preview app is v 5.0.3.
      Any idea why this doesn’t work?
      I opened one file, opened the sidebar, then opened the rest, each in its own window, and tried dragging each thumbnail onto the first thumbnail. There was no indication that anything happened, and when I saved, then reopened the file, there was still only one page.
      Am I doing something wrong?
      Thanks for any help with this.

  352. Bolortulga says:

    Hi everyone help me. I have to merge 2 sheet files in 1 sheet. That would be locate by horizontal 2 pages in 1 sheet. Help me plz.

  353. Annie says:

    Thank you. This is really helpful.

  354. alan says:

    so unbelievably simple and useful.
    thanks so very much for posting this.

  355. Jacquie says:

    This post was so helpful and relieved so much frustration! Your instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Many thanks!!!

  356. kyra says:

    So very helpful!

  357. Steve says:

    The only save option under “file” on my mac-air is “save a version”. And this does not save the merged document shown on the “Preview” sidebar. So, how can I save the merged document?

  358. Wendy says:

    Very helpful article! Saved me a lot of time! THANKS!

  359. Jen says:

    Thank you! All these years had no idea Preview had a PDF file merge feature. This was very helpful.

  360. Patricia says:

    Brilliant – I’ve managed to merge several PDF’s – but now I have a document that is way bigger than the combined actual size of the PDF’s!!! Aaargh – any help for this Mac beginner greatly appreciated! :)

  361. Petri says:

    Why didn’t I know this before!

    I’ve been using my ancient Acrobat 5 full version until today… It may have avantages in complex situations – like combining a hundred Word-generated PDFs – but we’ll see. Maybe I can even contemplate Mountain Lion now.

    Thank you!

  362. Diana says:

    Thank you so much! For many years mac-user and never knew! Amazingly easy!

  363. jayanth says:

    I have OSX 10.6.8. The preview I have is not showing the grey back ground and the double grey background. Now how do I merge the PDFs.
    Thank you

  364. Rogue says:


  365. Zannie says:

    Thanks for this- I’ve had a mac for years and have always wondered how to do this.

  366. Susan says:

    THANK YOU!!!!

  367. Hayley says:

    Thank you so much!! Xx

  368. Ashley says:

    Excellent explanation :) Thanks!

  369. Iris says:

    Thank you, big help!

  370. you just totally saved my life man. thanks!

  371. Andi says:

    Cool! Thanks.

  372. John says:

    Very helpful tip

  373. Laura says:

    This was so easy! Thank you for this tip!

  374. Vtgeo says:

    Great to find this help to merge several pages (scanned as single pages)/pdf files into one multipage pdf. After some online researching and your helpful directions, I ended up scanning from my HP all-in-one printer/scanner directly into Preview (I’m amazed at how much is hidden in PREVIEW & what it can do besides display files) then combined the single pages back into one PDF just like the stapled, hardcopy stack of 11 pages I started with. Ended up scanning the text at 150 dpi to try to keep the file size down. Good quality & readability. Also instead of emailing all the files, I started a new Google Drive folder to share the PDFs with family. I did also try scanning with Image Capture, another free program on my old MacBook Pro -OS X 10.6.8. It worked well with my scanner too.

  375. Angela says:

    In Preview, Edit –> Insert –> Page from File also worked for me.

  376. Jasper says:

    Thanks, this emphasize* worked it out!

    ON TOP OF an existing thumbnail

  377. Lisa Currier says:

    This information was very helpful and worked like a charm!
    Thank you!

  378. Karolina says:

    is it possible to merge more than 25 pages? Mine only allowed up to 25. I’m using Mountain Lion.

  379. Renata says:

    Thanks so much for this! Came in handy while sorting my portfolio.

  380. Cat says:

    Thanks, worked like a charm!

  381. Keith says:

    The instructions for merging pdf’s on Snow Leopard worked like a charm. THANKYOU.

  382. Danjel says:

    I didn’t know this trick, it works perfectly. Thanks!

  383. Linnea says:


  384. Beth says:

    Thank you!!! So, so helpful!

  385. marz says:

    worked like a charm – but on 10.6 osx i didn’t get the icon double border when laying the next pdf over the last page of the previous. just a blue bar where i wanted to put it.
    did a print -save as PDF to combine several into one single PDF. opened it and none of the hyperlinks work. they still appear blue/underlined, but no longer retain the web addresses. I checked the individual pdfs and they have the links intact. What happened to them when I combined them and resaved as a single PDF? did i save it wrong?

  386. marz says:

    ok, i just answered my own question. If I print and select save as PDF – it throws out the links. But if I do a save-as and rename the combined files, it creates the new Single PDF with links intact.
    maybe my goof will help others who make the same mistake

  387. Richard says:

    Thanks for the detailed instructions. I couldn’t get the drag and drop method to work, but I used the print method successfully. Today I had a neighbor come over to my house frantic about how to merge over 2,000 small pdfs into a single document. We came across this post, and a few minutes later: bam! We were finished.

  388. Kim says:

    OK, so this does NOT work for me at all. I have tried it both ways and they will not merge. I am running 10.7.4. If anyone has another suggestion, I would welcome it!!

  389. Ross says:

    Thanks ver much for posting… way easier than the adobe equivalent method on adobe

  390. Eliza says:

    Extremely helpful article! Thanks very much :D

  391. Paul says:

    This method worked really well in Snow Leopard, but having upgraded to mountain lion having similar problems to KIM. Tried the print route, but the dialogue box would not give me the save as pdf option, only post script.

    I have 3 pdf docs of 1 page and trying to create one doc. Any ideas


  392. Terrys says:

    Thank you! Saved a lot of time…

  393. Amanda says:

    Perfect! Thanks!!!

  394. Caroline says:

    Felt like a dummy asking anyone ;) thanks buddy.

  395. zakira says:

    fantastic, thank you!!!

  396. Brandon says:

    You can also use PDF Burger to merge PDF files online – http://pdfburger.com
    It is a free service.

  397. Kam says:

    Thank you!!! You saved me so much money!

  398. pipe says:

    Thank you very much! It’s so simple and yet so hard to do it when you don’t have the knowledge. THX!!!

  399. Victoria says:

    This is amazing and I definitely didn’t think of it! So simple! Great post!

  400. Art says:

    Yes, I used to be able to do this in earlier versions of preview by “dragging on top,” as these instructions suggest.

    But NO!!!!..these instructions NO LONGER WORK: I’m on a MacBook Pro, 10.8.4, running Preview, 6.0.1.

    Is there another way?

  401. Wayne says:

    Yes, this still works in 10.8.4 so you must be doing something wrong. Make sure the pdf file is not password protected.

  402. Robert Freeland says:

    If you don’t have any joy with Preview then there are plenty of apps on the app store for joining, splitting, extracting pages from PDFs for example: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pdf-basics/id711503268?mt=12

  403. Mathis says:

    A nice alternative to the Preview app you find on Smallpdf’s Merge PDF. It’s a nice tool that feels similar to the preview app but it gives you a few more options for the format and it doesn’t require any download.

  404. Daisy says:

    So easy!! I didn’t even need to read the step by step. :-) Thank you!!!

  405. Daisy says:

    So easy!! I didn’t even need to read the step by step. :-) I’m on iMac 10.8.5 and it worked. Thank you!!!

  406. Ronixus says:

    It works, however the output results into insanely huge files. Converted 2 3MB JPG files to PDF using Preview and merged them: result 25 MB. Deal breaker.

  407. Maja says:

    Thank you soooo much!!!!

  408. AJD says:

    That is not true. That used to work on previous versions. I have upgraded to 10.8.5 and there is no longer any way to merge PDF files.
    Mac is getting as primitive as PC.

  409. VSW says:

    Thanks, you put in crucial details that others left out.

  410. John says:

    Another thing – the one you start with (add to) has to be a pdf.

    eg – I wanted to string a set of jpegs into a single pdf. I opened jpeg #1 in one window and the rest in a second window. I dragged #2 on to #1 but it would not add. I had to save #1 as a pdf and reload it. Then I could add the jpegs to that.

  411. Julia says:

    Thanks so much! As already mentioned: without the crucial details I would’ve spend another lost hour to get the PDFs merged. THANX !!! ;-)

  412. Rakesh says:

    Thanks so much, this was really useful

  413. Catia says:

    I followed these instructions, but ….!!!
    Now in my Preview, in the thumbnails’area, i see my ​​3 pdf pages, that I want to merge, but then, there is no way to merge them really: if I save this file, only the first page is saved, if I try to print it, only the first page is printed.
    How it works??? Please…I feel so stupid…

    • Catia says:

      I tried again!! We must put the new pdf NOT ON THE TOP (as these instructions say) but just OVER the existing page! OK, so it works

      • Wayne says:

        Yes ‘over’ as in put it right in the middle of the thumbnail, as if you were putting one piece of paper on top of another piece of paper in a pile of paper… not ‘above’ it as in ‘up’ the screen. English is a bit ambiguous at times!

  414. Joseph says:

    Awesome article. Thanks! The print-to-PDF solution was perfect and simple.

  415. Bill says:

    Coolio. Works a treat and saved me loads of time. Cheers.

  416. Janos says:

    Very good explanation, It helped! thanks

  417. Katrina Currier says:

    Thanks for these helpful tips! Can you explain how to undo these actions? I have merged too many pages and now want to delete a few of the pages I dragged in, without deleting the whole merged file. Is this possible? Thanks!

  418. Mary says:

    Great!! Thanks a lot, the process is way to fast and easy :)

  419. Rubi86 says:

    Thank you! it worked :)

  420. Ian says:

    This is great and worked perfectly. I became an Apple convert some years ago, in a computing context it was the best thing I did.

  421. Ade says:

    thank you so much. this really helpful !! :)

  422. EFalk says:

    Such a small detail, but figuring out the right way such that you can actually save the combined document was SO helpful!

  423. Lisa says:

    At midnight and after hours of frustration, this was a God-send! Thank you so much.

  424. SK says:

    Thank you SO much! I kept putting the thumbnails after the original (like on a PC) and it obviously didn’t work. I’m so thrilled and grateful!

  425. Otto the Automator says:

    The ability to combine (merge) multiple PDF files into one file in the Finder is built-into OS X, you just have to turn it on:



    • Wayne says:

      Looks great. Although that’s a very complicated way to do a very simple task that can be done much more simply in Preview. But, it might be good if you have a lot of pdf files to merge or you do this task on a regular basis. Thanks for the link.

  426. Richard says:

    This is not working for me, no double border appears, files don’t merge, remain as 2 documents

  427. TYBAN says:

    This article is worthless, doesnt work

  428. Keith says:

    I usually consider myself savvy when i read these tips, but I’ve spent 90 minutes trying to make Lion do what this article says it will do with absolutely no luck.

    The sidebar method doesn’t work either. When I click on “view” and scroll down to “sidebar”, I’m offered two dead grey choices, neither of which are clickable (“collapse all” or “expand all”). No sidebar appears anywhere.


  429. Mariana says:

    Thank u very much, saved my life, I was going crazyyyyy

  430. Ken says:

    Thanks for taking the time to put these steps on the web! I’m not sure why some are having problems. It worked perfectly for me. I really appreciate the detailed instructions.

  431. Park says:

    Thanks! . . . Works easily.

  432. Danny Coyle says:

    I used this and it worked except it changed the landscape pages to portrait and messed them up, help?

  433. Hannah says:

    I can easily follow the steps and drag one file ON TOP of the other and I see the double boarder. But once I release the second file on top of the first, nothing happens…? I’m lost what to do next! I tried to Save As and reopen, but its only the 1st file. Any suggestions?

  434. Lanelane says:

    Worked for me. Thanks

  435. Dunks says:

    So simple, so obvious.
    So simple and obvious that it needed to be pointed out!

  436. Jakob says:

    This was soooo helpful. Can’t thank you enough. After spending hours trying to find another program, sometime it’s the simplest solutions. Many thanks!

  437. John Satan says:

    Excellent tip! Took some doing, though…in my version of 10.6.8 I had to ‘select all’ pages in the sidebar and then click ‘Print Selected Pages’ in order for all to be merged into one file. Thank you.

  438. Tonya says:

    THANK YOU! After many web searches for answers and tons of waisted time trying to combine PDFs – finally you have provided a real solution that WORKS.

  439. ruth says:

    very helpful, thanks

  440. CRSmith says:

    Glad I read this, as I didn’t know this was a feature in Preview. However, after many futile attempts, I discovered the following:

    If you are trying to merge a pdf into a second pdf, and THE SECOND PDF HAS MULTIPLE PAGES then you must expand the second (multipage) document so you can select where in the sequence of existing pages the first document will be placed. If you don’t expand it, Preview won’t allow you to merge. In the thumbnail view, click the up/left arrow to expand. Happy merging!

    Preview v5.0.3, OS 10.6.8

  441. Sonya Martin says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! Really helpful!

  442. NK says:

    After many tries, I finally figure this out using guidance under “An alternate way if you have lots of pdfs to merge.” Combined 5 scanned documents into one pdf from jpeg’s and pdfs.


  443. Scott says:

    I can’t get the Alternative Method to work as described at the end of the article, but there’s an easy workaround that might work in any version of Preview:
    Instead of opening the files from the Finder, do this:
    1. set Preview – Preferences – General to Open all files in one window
    2. open all your pdf files from Preview
    3. set to Thumbnail view
    4. select all the thumbnails
    5. File, Print…, PDF, Save as PDF, (give it a new name)
    6. open the new pdf and edit page order and rotation
    7. Save

    • Joe says:

      YES! This was the only method that worked for me. Thanks.

    • Dale says:

      Re the alternative method …I had to use File … Print … PDF … select all thumbnails … then Print Selected Pages (not just Print) – else you only end up with the first page. Maybe it was obvious – but just in case anyone else missed it too… ps – thanks for the tips

    • Edward says:

      Much easier (at least for me) than any other method I’ve read about.

    • Kelli says:

      This method worked to some extent however any hyper link embedded in the original pdf pages do not work. Do you have any suggestions for preserving the links

  444. Scott says:

    Append to my previous comment…
    8. if your Preview Preferences were not already set to Open all files in one window, remember to set this back if you normally prefer separate windows (it’s a lot easier for merging selected pages from two pdf files).

  445. Henning says:

    Awesome, thank you!

  446. John says:

    This is the closest I have been to actually getting my multiple PDF files into one large file after days of trying to figure it out, but when I go to print and then go to the pdf button at the bottom left the “save to pdf” option is not clickable. Help please!

  447. Lynn says:

    Thanks so much! This was so helpful and it worked!!

  448. Anne says:

    Thank you so much! Saved me tons of $’s.

  449. Dan says:

    Thank you very much. Really helped.

  450. Eny Osung says:

    Thanks very much, you are an absolute star! The Alternative method worked for me after several failed tries due to instructions from other people.

    Can’t thank you enough!

  451. Lea says:

    None of this works for me! Help! I’m using OSX 10.6.8

    • Lea says:

      I’ve figured it out. I’m using the Alternative Method. You need to select ‘Print Selected Items’ not just ‘Print’. Worked!

  452. Caitlin says:

    Thank you so much! I could NOT figure out what I was doing wrong until I read this article.

  453. Thomas says:

    Drag and Drop with new OS El Capitan. I
    1/ open preview with first pdf document.
    2/ open finder,
    3/ click and drag the 2nd document Over the thumbnail area, on top of the last page of the first document (or current document).
    4/ the last page will show an + sign (in Green)
    5/ Drop 2nd document. Done3

  454. Kelli says:

    Help i have spent 6 hrs with apple senior specialists . I created 50 individual interactive pages in Pages. I exported each page individually as a pdf. The individual pages with embedded hyperlinks to you tube videos work great. I then proceeded to merge all the PDFS into one pdf document by opening thumbnail and dragging thumbnails of other pages underneath the page one thumbnail. when i export out it saves as one page . Then i tried going to file print choose export as pdf and all the live links disappear. I am currently on yosemite version 10.10.5 I used this same process exactly one year ago with mavericks and it worked . I can export out single pages and the links stay. Ultimate goal is to have a interactive pdf in my ibooks / on iPad . All senior mac support can’t figure out and they are taking to mac engineers . Any help would be grateful. Thanks

    • Wayne says:

      I would try and get hold of Adobe Acrobat Pro, it’s not cheap but maybe you have a friend with a copy and they could try do it for you. It has an option on the menu to ‘Combine files into a single PDF’. It would be worth checking whether that works!

      • Kelli says:

        Thanks Wayne . So it is not possible to do this any more ? I can combined the files its the links that do not open in the combined file pdf. I down loaded a program called pdf pronto for free it worked . Then i paid for the full version and was never sent a code for the full version . Hope it is not a scam .

      • Wayne says:

        Kelli you can still use Preview, but if it’s not working because your file is so complex and you need to get the job done I’d try Adobe Acrobat. Maybe get a friend who has Acrobat to do it for you!

  455. Qazi says:

    Thank you very much!!!!! Helped me out a lot.

  456. Marcelo Olivares says:

    Hi, i’ve got troubles using the “preview” App. i was trying to merge 3 pdf´s of 1 MB each. but using “preview” App, the resultant file reach a size of 12MB. so i´ve started to look into the AppStore and I found 3 options very interesting:
    1. “MergePDF”.
    2. “Gelatin”.
    3. “Merge-PDF”.
    The third one was the better: high quality images and low file size.
    Totally recommended…

  457. Will says:

    pure disaster to merge pdf in apple.

  458. andy kearns says:

    Please tell me why this does not work for me on 10.6.8. is it because it is opened by adobe reader? if so, what do i do please? thanks, andy.

    • Wayne says:

      Yes you need to open it in ‘Preview’ not “adobe Acrobat Reader’. Just right click the file (option click) and select ‘Open With Preview’.

  459. Corey says:

    Thank you!! The two document thing was driving me crazy.

  460. andy kearns says:

    I can’t thank you enough! Brilliant, thanks again, Wayne.

  461. Jordan says:

    Thank You!!

  462. Silviana says:

    Thanks a lot!!! I tried countless times, succeed once and have no idea how I did it

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2013 Wayne Connor. All rights reserved. | Hosted on bluehost.com Click here to find out why.