Feb 10

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Combining pdf documents on an Apple computer is easy.

There are lots of websites offering to sell 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.)

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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.

 

If you’d like more information, read on for how to do it step by step with photos.

CONTINUE READING >

571 Responses to “How to merge two pdf files in OSX 10.6 – 10.8”

  1. Dan says:

    Thank you very much. Really helped.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. Caitlin says:

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

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. Qazi says:

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

  8. 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…

  9. Will says:

    pure disaster to merge pdf in apple.

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