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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview Apps
For those who use Preview to combine PDF documents, Snow Leopard has added a twist to the process. In earlier versions of Preview, combining documents was simply a matter of dragging the individual pages from one document's sidebar to the other document's sidebar, and then rearranging the pages by dragging them up and down in the sidebar list of the combined document.

Preview now allows you to open more than one document in a single window -- you can have any combination of PDFs, JPEGs, and whatever else Preview can open, all open at once. When used in this manner, the individual pages from all the documents will be displayed in the sidebar.

In addition, Apple added a new metaphor in Preview: a multi-page PDF is now displayed in the sidebar to look like a comb-bound book. (Preview lets you 'close' the book and reduce the display to just the first page.) You can add pages to a multi-page PDF by dragging them into the sidebar, either into an open or closed book. As we did in the past, we can control the order of the pages by paying attention to where the insertion bar appears. Preview highlights an outline around the sidebar image to let you know you're adding pages to the PDF.

The trick to combining single-page documents in Preview is to know that when you drag a page into the sidebar, Preview assumes you want to combine the pages in one window. It doesn't combine the pages into one document, and displays the insertion bar only to indicate the order of the individual documents in the sidebar.

Instead of trying to drag a page before or after a single page, you now have to drag the page on top of the other page in the sidebar. Preview will then change the page image in the sidebar to the bound book (multi-page PDF) icon. You can then rearrange the pages in the PDF in the order you want.

What's neat is that you can combine any kind of document that Preview can open. Once combined, they can only be saved as a multi-page PDF.
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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview | 23 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: Aeschylus on Oct 06, '09 09:33:42AM

I was also able to do this with TIFFs produced by my scanner. When you copy one TIFF onto a multi-page TIFF document, you can place the new page in any order within the document just by holding it over the document and dragging it until the blue bar is where you want the page to go.

The ability to do this with TIFFs is especially helpful with faxes.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: spfolly on Oct 06, '09 01:04:50PM

Excellent hint. I fell foul of this a few days ago. It took me a while to work out what was going on!



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: lele on Oct 06, '09 02:26:50PM

I do not see any way to drag "pages" in preview -- I can mark a page in the sidebar (it gets a blue frame) but I cannot drag it.



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Is your document protected?
Authored by: tb on Oct 07, '09 11:51:57PM

Your PDF document must be protected, which prevents you from editing it. To check this, open the inspector (command-I) in Preview, and click the padlock symbol.
This has nothing to do with file permissions.



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...or Encrypted?
Authored by: invisiblejon on Aug 20, '10 10:45:42AM

I had a miserable-freakin'-time with this. I followed all of the instructions. I couldn't print selected pages because the ability to print to PDF was (inexplicably) disabled. I was at my wits' end.

Then I noticed that even though the documents were not locked in the Finder or in Preview, they *were* encrypted. So I re-saved each document as a PDF *without encryption*.

Ta-dah! Suddenly, I could drag-add and rearrange pages to my heart's content, then re-save them as one whole file. So, the issue (at least in my case) was that the PDFs were saved encrypted (not with passwords, just encrypted).

(Note: I made an account just to share this tip with y'all. Odds are I'll never be back again. I hope this helps.)



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: jolipoli on Oct 06, '09 08:21:28PM

I was a bit confused by the new Preview, moving pages, adding to another document, learning the definitions of what's a document and what's a page, and how they interact. But the more I use Preview the more I like it.

One thing I noticed was that I can drag and drop PNG and JPG files directly into a PDF document and save it in the PDF. Previously I've have to use the "print to PDF" function, and then drag and drop it into the PDF I wanted to append. It is a nice refinement.

I like being able to drag a page out as well. Clippings were pretty cool back in OS 8 days, but not so much in the 7th version of OS X. I live in a PDF world.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: scooby509 on Oct 06, '09 09:29:56PM

It really is nice. My only Windows application is OmniPage because the Mac version hasn't been updated in years, but is still $500. (Nuance is still advertising OS 9 compatibility...) The PDF management tools I've seen on the Windows side are virtually unusable, and I actually use the PDFs from the Mac side mostly because the PDF readers also stink on Windows.

One of the big parts of any productivity scheme (GTD, etc) is to be able to scan random paper and stash it safely in a reference library. Better PDF management is a big step towards this end.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: glusk on Oct 07, '09 08:26:25AM

Thanks for the well-written description. I thought the new way was confusing until I read this.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: gmancuso on Oct 07, '09 01:18:47PM

Am I missing something or does this only work for single page PDF's? I have a 3 page PDF and when I try to drop a single page into Preview it will only allow me to add it to the window, not the 3 page document. It doesn't matter if the 3 page doc is expanded or not.



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Is your document protected?
Authored by: tb on Oct 07, '09 11:55:06PM

Your 3 page PDF must be protected. See reply to lele above.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: Anonymous on Oct 07, '09 02:01:30PM

Thanks for the great hint. No more Automator flows to do this task anymore.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview -- too convoluted, time waster!
Authored by: 10_6nightmare on Nov 12, '09 10:59:16PM

The article is telling in stating that with the older version of Preview it was a "simple" matter to combine PDF pages, and that the new version adds a twist -- more accurately, whoever came up with this mess is twisted.

The article states: "The trick to combining single-page documents in Preview is to know that when you drag a page into the sidebar, Preview assumes you want to combine the pages in one window. It doesn't combine the pages into one document, and displays the insertion bar only to indicate the order of the individual documents in the sidebar."

I have no idea what that means and I don't have time to figure it out. What I can tell is that Apple programmers got arrogant and started "assum[ing]" that I wanted some fussy complication to a system that was once beautiful in its simplicity.

I don't want to be an IT expert. That's why I long ago decided to use Macs instead of PCs. I profoundly resent Apple's "assumption" that something has changed in that regard.

This is just another example of the true nightmare Snow Leopard is. Yes, my computer boots faster and yes, it's brilliant that the OS takes less space on my MacBook Pro's strained hard drive, but Snow Leopard will go down as a colossal fail because Apple felt a need to beat Windows 7 to the market (as if that were relevant?!) and in its hurry unleashed a bug-ridden nightmare on us all. That Apple took the pain to convolute Preview only adds insult to injury.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: GeraintX on Dec 07, '09 12:41:25AM

Have tried the above... No luck!

I have 9 screen images i want to combine into one pdf. They are jpgs. Whenever i put them all in one document in preview and go to print dialogue there is only the one page!... The first image.

I have tried dragging, saving as pdf and reopening and adding the other images but no joy. Anyone got the patience to do a step by step idiot guide.

Many thanks



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: michaelaye on Dec 09, '09 05:09:20AM

Yeah, trying the same thing here.
Was first so amazed, that I can send a shell glob like *.profile.png to Preview just by using the 'open' command, but what do I do know with the 21 single documents, if I need to combine them into a single pdf?
A solution I found is to select-all and then use the menu entry File-Print Selected Images.
This now of course can be printed again into a PDF, but isn't there a more direct way to make 1 document out of several that are open inside 1 window?

Michael



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: GeraintX on Dec 09, '09 08:43:46AM

That has worked perfectly for my needs... thank you.

I never thought of the "Print Selected Image" command! I was simply going straight to the print dialogue box via the "Print" command.

Thanks again



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: ashtreex on Feb 01, '10 10:14:00AM

I also think the way the new Preview deals with combining pages into one doc. is a pain. It was simple, elegant and intuitive before. Please apple if it ain't broke don't fix it.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: scottith on Mar 08, '10 09:33:12PM

I too was frustrated with this bizarre new 'feature', but now I'm happy and brimming with pride for I've found a work-around, simply by pressing buttons!

Put your pdfs (or images, etc.) in the sidebar of preview, then select the documents (arranged in proper order on the sidebar), clicking the top one, then command+shift clicking to the bottom one (not simply shift+clicking the bottom one).

Then press command+option+p (not simply command+p). This brings up the print dialog. Then do the bottom left corner's "PDF>Save as PDF" option.

At least, that's what I do.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: fortegacp on Mar 18, '10 12:11:01AM

scottith: Thank you so much for your post! I wasted a good amount searching online to find the correct answer to my question.

Your instructions worked perfectly and I am now a much happier student. Thank you for taking the time to post your response, it really helped me out! Have a great day.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: cbee on Jul 29, '10 12:30:56AM

It worked ! Thanks for the combining PDFs hint.



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: scottith on Jul 29, '11 05:03:35PM
It is worth noting that the behaviour of selecting things in the sidebar varies depending upon the file format—I have inferred that the selection method is determined by the file format of the last item in the menu bar: if it is a .pdf, cmd+shift+click, else, shift+click; command click always works for selecting (xor deselecting) individual files… bottom line: if it cmd+shift+click doesn't work, try shift+click; and Apple is a strange bunch.
Edited on Jul 29, '11 05:04:22PM by scottith


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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: southbayryan on May 05, '10 06:42:34PM

All you have to do to fix this is go to preferences, and under the general tab, change it to opening each file in a new window. problem fixed!



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10.6: Combining documents in Snow Leopard's Preview
Authored by: goldfinch on Jul 09, '11 05:03:30PM

Here's what I've learned, doing this in 10.6.6:

To merge documents A and B (with B's pages coming after last page in A) , open A, view sidebar, drag title-bar icon from B (or B's pages from its own sidebar, but icon's easier) to the sidebar in A. Drag the icon or pages to be added to a spot near the last page of A, and watch for a blue rounded box to appear. That box means that the new pages will actually be added instead of merely opened in the same window as A. The location of the new pages is determined by a horizontal blue line---before the last of of A or after it, for example. Drop you pages within the box at the line where you wish them to appear. Check the title-bar of A now; it should reflect the new total number of pages. BUT if it says something like "2 documents, 8 total pages" then you have not merged successfully. Choose undo and do it again. Failure to drop added pages within the blue box results in failure to merge.



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Pathetic convolution
Authored by: maclunar on Aug 06, '11 01:22:55PM
“I too was frustrated with this bizarre new 'feature', but now I'm happy and brimming with pride for I've found a work-around, simply by pressing buttons!”

Very bizarre work around.

“The article is telling in stating that with the older version of Preview it was a "simple" matter to combine PDF pages, and that the new version adds a twist -- more accurately, whoever came up with this mess is twisted.”

Thank you very much.

“That Apple took the pain to convolute Preview only adds insult to injury.”

Thank you very much.

Absolute dismal usability failure. It’s a bloody nightmare working with multi-page docs now. I love it when you “carefully” drag a new page in, it screws up the page numbering (shows as though it is two documents with pages out of order).

I work with large multi-page PDFs on a daily basis. It is totally unclear if I can even use Preview any more. If you screw up, there goes the 100 page doc. Here's to great software improvements!

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