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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs Apps
The new Preview.app in 10.5 has many new features. One that appears to be undocumented, however, is the creation (merging) of multi-page PDF documents. It's simple:

Use Preview to open up the two PDFs you would like to merge. Choose View » Show Sidebar (or click the Sidebar button). Make sure both PDFs are visible on the screen at the same time. When the Sidebar pops out, you will see a graphical representation of the pages in your PDF document. Simply drag the page, or pages (use Comand to select multiple pages) from the Sidebar of one PDF to the Sidebar of another. You have now merged pages from two separate PDF documents.

Two related hints:
  1. You can use the proxy icon in the PDF window's title bar if you want to copy one entire PDF to another PDF. Just drag the proxy from the title bar of one PDF to the Sidebar of another.
  2. You can copy some types of files directly from the Finder to a new PDF using Preview's New From Clipboard (Command-N) feature. Go to the Finder, select an image file such as JPEG, and copy it (Command-C). Now go to Preview and do Command-N. Your JPEG file will show up as a new PDF document. This seems to work for many graphic types, even the Adobe PSD Photoshop format. I couldn't get it to work for MS Word (DOC) or other types, though.
[robg adds: This actually is documented, as a queue commenter pointed out. It's also similar to this hint, but the general opinion on the queue site was that it was different enough to publish, so here it is.]
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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs | 29 comments | Create New Account
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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: robleach on Nov 29, '07 08:10:40AM

This is such a coincidence I read this today because I was just trying to do this exact thing. I couldn't get it to work, so I'd used GraphicConverter's "print folder" feature and chose the option to save as PDF.

However, since I saw the hint, I tried to do it in preview thinking maybe the resolution would be better. I could not get this hint to work. Perhaps I've got some settings in preview which are thwarting this strategy. Here's what I tried.

I have a series of 43 PNG images which I would like to save as a series of pages in a PDF. I can open all the images with Preview such that they all appear in one drawer, but if I try to save it, it only saves the currently displayed single PNG in PNG format. If I try to print to a PDF, it only stores (again) the single PNG which is displayed (in PDF format).

So I tried copying all the files in the finder and doing command-n in Preview, however I end up at the same point as above: I can save 1 PNG or print 1 image to PDF. How do I save them all as pages in 1 PDF document using Preview?

So then I tried taking one of the actual PDF files I'd printed a single image to and tried dragging (from multiple sources, including the finder, another preview window's drawer, and the title bar icons) images into the PDF I'd created (i.e. dragging into the drawer) with the first image. Preview would not let me drop them into the PDF. They'd either jump back to the source drag location or poof away.

What am I doing wrong or are there any required settings for this to work?

Thanks,
Rob



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: robleach on Nov 29, '07 08:17:41AM

Oh sheesh. Could somebody (i.e. Rob) delete my previous comment (and this one)? I just realized this is a 10.5 only hint. I'm still on 10.4. My bad! *smack* Well, I look forward to being able to do this in the future with Preview!



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: wjv on Nov 30, '07 12:39:28AM
On 10.4, you might like to try the a great little app called PDFLab:

http://www.iconus.ch/fabien/pdflab/


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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: robm on Nov 29, '07 08:50:49AM

I ran into an issue yesterday that after merging two pdfs created by Indesign in Preview, the saved pdf looks fine to us on Leopard and Tiger, but in Acrobat Reader 7 on a PC the program claims there are fonts missing - and it displayed only generic, wrong fonts. But the original pdfs display fine on a PC - so the re-save feature clearly changes something to the pdfs' internal working.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: robm on Nov 29, '07 10:03:11AM

Actually, upgrading to Reader v. 8 on the PC fixes this problem. Great!



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: grossman on Dec 01, '07 11:38:17AM

This is great to know (I ran into this problem last week and didn't find this solution), but it really shouldn't require v. 8, right? There's no reason Preview should save PDFs that are weirdly incompatible with v. 7.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: bengarland on Nov 29, '07 09:07:42AM

Funny that it would be documented on that Apple page, but searching the Preview Help for "combine pdf" or "merge pdf" shows 0 results. That's what I meant when I said it was undocumented. There is also no menu option to do it.

Ben

PS: robg, I apparently mis-typed "Command" as "Comand" in the hint. Can you fix this?



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: sig eigei on Nov 29, '07 10:00:34AM

you can also drag the pdf file's icon in from the Finder directly onto the drawer of an open PDF in Preview



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: sezme on Dec 07, '07 09:52:46AM

Good hint. I wonder if there's a way to use Preview to save just one page of a pdf as a new pdf file. Anyone know?



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: MartiNZ on Dec 07, '07 11:08:32AM

For that you can go to print the file, choose the page range and save as PDF.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: iwein on Apr 06, '09 02:00:03AM

Only works if you have the thumbnail view in the sidebar selected. That should actually be mentioned in the hint imo.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: bobluttman on Dec 06, '07 05:03:36PM

You can also drag individual pages from sidebar to sidebar.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: luhmann on Feb 14, '08 06:58:18PM

A big problem with this is that when dragging and dropping a whole bunch of files from the finder, Preview won't respect the sort order in the finder - even if the files are named sequentially: 01.pdf, 02.pdf, 03.pdf etc. The only way to do it is to drag them in one-by-one. Apple can do better...



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: kingpix on May 03, '08 09:35:47AM

I've been trying to do this, but only succeeded when I realised that at the bottom of the sidebar is a button to change from the Table of Contents (which seems to be the default) and which the above methods don't work with to thumbnails which do.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: jasonhavens on May 06, '08 07:52:51AM

When I dragged files, Preview seemed to add them in the correct order.

However, I have another issue regarding creation of PDF files using Preview. I compared using Preview to create a PDF file from a Word document (86Kb), and then used Adobe Acrobat Distiller (18Kb) version 7 to do so. The Preview-created PDF file was nearly five times larger. Does anyone know why this is or how it can be changed? Please note that I have both set to 300 dpi. Thanks in advance.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: dbrownstone on Aug 09, '08 07:43:56AM

The simplest (and least expensive) way is to create a 2-step Automator application that containds the following automator steps:

1: Ask for Finder Items (allow multiple selection) - to select the images/pdf files
2. New PDF From Images or
2: Combine PDF Pages

This will save a single file with all your desired scanned images into one file.

---
D. Brownstone



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: mxgale on Jan 26, '09 09:44:38AM

Merge PDFs? Not really. Sure you can drag multiple document together but you can't save them off into one document. Seems like a dumb feature without the save capability. Please Apple... think about usability... and close this feature out by making it savable!

I chatted with apple support and they didn't even know you could drag multiple documents into one preview window.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: Mattyp on May 11, '10 12:54:15AM

You can save them all into one PDF document. I had the same issue, and then relised I was doing this slightly wrong, you need to drag and drop the additional PDF files 'onto' the first PDF document (a little plus symbol should appear). If you have done this right then the first PDF file (in the sidebar) should now look look like a binded document.

You need to do this to 'Merge' the PDFs into one PDF file, otherwise you are just looking at multiple PDF files in the one Preview window.

You could also select all the PDF files (CMD + click) and right click to select open in Preview. Then sort the order of the PDF's as you require via the sidebar. Then Select all the PDF's in the sidebar except the first one, and when all are selected drag and drop the selection onto the first pdf - this should do the trick. Now Print > Save as PDF.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: elias on Mar 11, '09 10:04:00AM
The only part of the directions that is missing is the Saving as One PDF.
1. Get the pdfs in the right order
2. File - Print
3. PDF - Save as PDF
4. Name it
5. Save it
Now you have one PDF from all of the multiple PDFs

Further directions:
http://classroom.leanderisd.org/webs/wms.tech/upload/pdf_merging.mov


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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: petrafan on Mar 24, '10 07:16:44AM

very good. thanky you.
just one doubt: can i rotate the single PDFs i want, just before merging them? sometimes one of the pages has to be diplayed on landscape view.
ty again.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: rleonetti on May 04, '11 05:10:50PM

The key ingredient I missed all afternoon, is to "select" (blue outline) all the parts and then Print (not save). Print to PDF finally got the job done. Thanks.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: doctorcaligari on Mar 30, '10 07:36:25AM

After 30 minutes of trying the directions in the above comments in Snow Leopard, I found out that you have to drag the new PDF on top of the existing one in the thumbnail bar. It then merges the files and you can just hit "save".

---
15" Macbook Pro (Santa Rosa)
2.2Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
nVidia GeForce 8600GT-M
Mac OSX 10.5.6



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: tamara.b on Apr 08, '10 06:15:09PM

Hey

you could drag the PDF pages into the side bar. And then select all of the pages in the side bar, and then go to File > Print Selected Page > Save as PDF

There :) But remember to "Print Selected Page" and not just Print!



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: pgall on Apr 12, '10 03:18:25PM

Worked great - thanks!



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: ct05 on Aug 15, '10 12:58:42PM

Thank you much for that comment. I was having a hard time because I was merging a book that was already "spiral bound" in preview on the thumbnails. This made it impossible to drag and drop the additional pages into it. I saw the green + sign, but apparently that only works when merging single pages. I spent a good 20 minutes monkeying around before reading the full thread. In my case I could not print to pdf, it was greyed out, so I did postscript and hope to change it to pdf after the fact.

I would have been at it for ages if I hadn't read your tip. Hope this helps someone else.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs
Authored by: SamJordan on May 12, '10 02:22:50AM

I was unsuccessfully trying to follow the instructions, and then had a d'oh moment. I was trying to combine .tiff documents within Preview, which wasn't working. You have to print them as .pdf. And then you can merge the new .pdf documents.



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10.6 update for merging pdf in Preview
Authored by: briansteere on Jan 19, '11 07:16:03AM

In 10.6.6 I note the following:
Though one can add pdfs to the sidebar this merely makes a pdf browser out of Preview and they still cant be 'saved as' - or published via print pdf - as a MULTIPAGE file - UNLESS when dragging a pdf into the sidebar - you hover over the icon of the page thumb that you want to merge with - and THEN see a blue outline. Further drops are similar and you can drop within the blue outline so as to be in the order you require. When the pages are grouped thus the thumb shows an arrow - which if clicked displays the other pages.
hope this helps - Brian



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10.7 update for merging pdf in Preview
Authored by: beej69 on Aug 09, '11 05:27:52AM

thanks, brian!

your hint pionted me in the right direction :) the updated directions for merging pages from multiple PDFs into a single PDF using Preview 5.5 which comes with in 10.7 are:

Use Preview to open up the two PDFs you would like to merge. Choose View Thumbnails. Make sure both PDFs are visible on the screen at the same time. When the Thumbnails sidebar becomes visible, you will see a graphical representation of the pages in your PDF document. Simply drag the page or pages (hold Command while clicking to select multiple pages) from the Thumbnails of one PDF to the Thumbnails of another. You'll see a green plus icon when Preview is ready to add the content from one to the other. Choose File Duplicate and then Save and you wil have now merged pages from two separate PDF documents.



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10.5: Use Preview to merge or create multi-page PDFs- problems with fields overcome
Authored by: autiger86 on Jan 24, '11 09:28:36AM

I was trying to combine PDF files that have form fields that are editable, but the form field information was being lost. I tried to save several different quarters of IRS Form 941, but every time you drag and drop another quarter's file into the first quarter file in Preview, the field data disappears because both files have fields with the same name. This can be worked around by creating PDF-x files using Preview from the print menu. Click File > print > click on drop down "PDF" and then choose Save as PDF-X. The PDF-X version no longer has the fields, so they won't cause problems with each other.



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