Jun 10

1. Firstly, open one of the pdf files in Preview. Preview is the default application that a pdf will open into.  If you just double click on the pdf file it will open in Preview.



2. Now go to the menu at the top of the screen called ‘View’ and click on ‘Sidebar’ (or  ‘Show Sidebar’ if you have Snow Leopard). Alternatively, press Shift-Command-D to show the thumbnails. This will make a sidebar appear on the right side of the window with thumbnails of all the pdf pages in it. (See the pictures below).


In Leopard select ‘Sidebar’

In Snow Leopard and newer versions of Preview select ‘Sidebar’ then ‘Show Sidebar’

NOTE: In Mavericks (OSX 10.9) and newer you need to go to View:Thumbnails not View:Sidebar. For full Mavericks instructions see here.


3. You can now drag the second pdf file (from a folder or from your desktop) or even a page from within the second pdf file (from thumbnail view)  into this sidebar window, and it will be added to your pdf document as an additional page.


Drag the new pdf (here it is called page 3.pdf) from the desktop onto an existing thumbnail.

In older versions of Preview like Leopard, you get a red line to show you the pdf will not be merged. (See above. The red line disappears when you drag the icon over the existing page icon to show they will be merged.)

With Snow Leopard you get a blue bar to show they will not be merged.

In Lion no lines appear at all if they are not going to be merged.

In all cases you get the second grey border  to show they will merge.


The grey double border to show you the files will merge.


You can now save the new merged file – use ‘save as’ to save a new document with the merged fles, or you can use use ‘save’ to save over the existing document, adding the new pages to it.



That’s it!

A faster way for multiple files.

Here’s an alternate way suggested in the comments below. It’s much faster if you have multiple files to merge.

From “Finder”, select and click all the pdf’s you want to assemble.
This will open them all at once in “Preview”.

Pick the “File” dropdown menu .
Pick the “Print” dropdown menu.

In the lower left hand corner, click the arrow next to “PDF”.

Click “Save to PDF”.

This will save all the separate pdf files into one pdf document.



Here are some more Macintoshhowto articles to do with pdf documents:

Click here for how to reduce the file size of a pdf file.

Click here for how to edit a pdf document.

Click here to for how to make a pdf booklet.


Macintoshhowto is hosted by bluehost.com


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581 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.

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