How to Combine PDFs on Mac using Preview or Third-party PDF Utilities

Merge PDF files on Mac with ease

by: - Last updated on: March 18th, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • You can combine multiple PDF files into a single PDF document on a Mac using either Preview or some third-party PDF manipulation utilities.
  • If you have a subscription to any of the third-party PDF manipulation utilities, you can use them to merge PDFs on your Mac.
  • On the other hand, if you do not have such subscriptions, Apple’s built-in utility, Preview, does the job in pretty much the same way. And you can even use it to combine part of a PDF into another PDF.

Working with a PDF (Portable Document Format) file has several advantages: you can conveniently present your documents featuring text, images, and rich media in them and can instantly share them with other people over the internet. However, having said that, a PDF also comes with its share of problems. For one, PDF documents need to be password-protected to prevent unauthorized access and modification. And in the same vein, they also have a few other problems around creating and manipulating PDFs, which you might struggle with figuring a way out.

Combine multiple PDFs into one PDF on Mac

Of these, one such problem is when you have to deal with multiple PDF files — that too individual ones — where you need to edit and transform them into a single PDF, or where you need to extract some part of a PDF file and merge it into another PDF file.

In either case, though, if you are a Mac user, you have a few different ways to combine PDFs. You can either use Apple’s native utility, Preview, to merge multiple PDFs into one PDF or utilize some third-party PDF manipulation software.

How to Combine PDFs using Preview

Apple’s Preview is a very useful utility on Mac. As we already mentioned, it lets you perform a bunch of different operations on various kinds of files and documents without requiring you the need for third-party software. And the best part is Preview comes pre-installed and is absolutely free to use.

Combining multiple PDFs into one

1. Open the PDF you want to add other PDFs to in Preview.

2. Head over to View > Thumbnails to enable thumbnail view in the sidebar.

3. Select the page you want to add new PDFs to.

4. Go to Edit > Insert > Page from File.

5. Next, select the PDF document you want to add and click on Open.

Combining PDFs using Preview

IMAGE: Apple

6. All your PDF files should now be arranged one below the other. If required, you can change their order by moving them around.

7. Finally, go to File > Export as PDF, choose the location to save the PDF, and hit Save.

Combining part of a PDF into another PDF

1. Open the PDFs among which you want to move content in Preview.

2. Enable thumbnail view on each of these PDFs by going into View > Thumbnails.

3. Now, hold down the command key, click and drag the content you want to move to the other document, and then release the key. If required, you can click on the pages from the sidebar to reorder them.

Combine part of a PDF into another PDF

IMAGE: Apple

4. Finally, go to File > Export as PDF, choose the location to save the PDF, and hit Save.

How to Combine PDFs using third-party PDF software

If you already use third-party PDF manipulation software like Adobe Acrobat or PDF Expert on your Mac for all your PDF creation and manipulation needs, you can also use them to merge multiple PDFs into one single PDF document.

Combining PDFs using Adobe Acrobat

1. Open Adobe Acrobat.

2. Go to File > Create > Combine Multiple Files into a single PDF. Alternatively, if you already have the file open, choose Combine Files from the right-hand menu.

3. Click on Add Files or Add Open Files, and add the PDF files you want to combine.

Combining PDFs using Adobe Acrobat

IMAGE: Adobe Acrobat

4. Finally, click Combine to merge your selected files into a single PDF file.

Combining PDFs using PDF Expert

1. Launch PDF Expert and open the PDF file.

2. Click on View settings on the top-left and choose Split View mode.

3. Now, open the second PDF file that you want to merge, and click on the thumbnail icon.

4. Put your PDFs side-by-side and drag and drop pages among the PDFs you want.

Combining multiple PDFs using PDF Expert

IMAGE: PDF Expert

Combining multiple PDFs into a single PDF

Of the three different software that we demonstrated how to merge multiple PDFs into one, Preview definitely comes out on top as the better option. The reason being that Preview is free to use — unlike the other two software — and that it makes the process of combining PDFs on Mac quick and easy. So if you do not already have a subscription to any of the third-party PDF manipulation software and want to merge PDFs on Mac, Preview is the way to go.

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