Nov 12

Preview app

Apple’s built in pdf reader app called ‘Preview’ can merge 2 PDF files and edit PDF files. It used to be tricky to merge two PDF files ( read some of my old articles here)  but in macOS Sierra 10.12 it’s easier than ever.  All you need to do is drag the thumbnails that you want to merge from one PDF document to the other and then save the document. You don’t need to buy any extra software. It is built right into OS X.

Read on for some screenshots of what this looks like.

Apple have made a change in Preview in macOS Sierra so that when you drag a thumbnail from one PDF document to another, that page is automatically merged into the new PDF document.  This makes it really easy to merge two PDF files.

  1. Open the first pdf file.
    (Make sure it opens in Preview)
  2. In the View menu select ‘Thumbnails’thumbnails
  3. Either:
    • Drag the a new pdf file from the desktop into this thumbnails window OR
    • Open the new pdf file then drag a page thumbnail across into this thumbnails window.

Here is a picture of the thumbnails window open, and I am dragging a PDF document into the thumbnails window:


4. Select “Save” from the File menu to save the new merged document.


Editing a PDF.

You can also edit a PDF document in preview.

Just click on the little toolbox in the Toolbar to open an extra menu that will allow you to type, add shapes, and draw on the pdf document. See this article for more information on editing a pdf.

Clicking on the toolbox icon will open up an extra toolbar so that you can edit the PDF document.

Clicking on the toolbox icon will open up an extra toolbar so that you can edit the PDF document.

7 Responses to “How to merge and edit PDF documents in macOS Sierra”

  1. Paul says:


    In attempting this I find that Preview continues to treat the 2 documents as 2 documents just combined in the one column. Not sure my question makes sense. :)
    I’d like them to be treated as 1 document.

  2. Wayne says:

    Paul do you have Sierra? Because the way you describe (dragging on top) is the way it has worked in every OSX so far, but in Sierra, for me anyway, I don’t need to drag on top to merge, I can drag below or anywhere. That’s not how it works for you?

    I have Preview 9.0

  3. Brian says:

    I’m trying to edit a pdf document. i.e., change some words.
    I’ve opened the toolbox but none of the new menu items seem to have anything to do with actually editing words and sentences.

  4. Aaron says:

    After dragging one pdf to the open previewed pdf, it still treats the pdfs as 2 separate documents once i close preview

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