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Archived - Mac OS X v10.6: How to combine PDF documents using Preview

This article describes how to copy pages from multiple PDF documents into a single document, using Preview in Mac OS X v10.6 or later.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
  1. Open the PDF documents that you want to combine in Preview.
  2. Show the sidebar in each Preview window. If the sidebar is not showing, click the Sidebar button in the Preview window's toolbar, or choose View > Sidebar > Show Sidebar.
  3. Verify that the sidebar is configured to show thumbnails (this the default view). If the sidebar is not showing thumbnails, choose View > Sidebar > Thumbnails.
  4. Drag the thumbnail of one PDF document (source) over of the thumbnail of the other PDF document (destination) and release the mouse or trackpad button when the pointer shows a green circle with a plus symbol in it. This will copy all pages from the source PDF and add them to the end of the destination PDF.
    Preview sidebar combine single page PDF
    Note: If the PDF documents you are combining already contain multiple pages, you can choose to copy only some pages from the source PDF. You can also choose to insert the copied pages between existing pages of the destination PDF. A grey circle containing an arrow will appear over the thumbnail a PDF with multiple pages. If this arrow is pointing to the left, click on it to see thumbnails of all pages in the PDF. Select only the pages you want to copy, then drag them over the destination PDF document's thumbnail. If the destination PDF has multiple thumbnails showing in the sidebar, drag the copied pages to the precise location where you want the pages added. A blue bar will appear between the pages where the copied pages will be inserted.
    Preview sidebar combine multiple page PDF
  5. If the pages in the destination PDF are shown in the wrong order, click the gray circle containing an arrow that appears over the PDF document's thumbnail, so that the arrow points to the right, and drag the thumbnails of the individual pages into the desired order.
  6. After the destination PDF contains all of the pages you want and the pages are in the correct order, you can select File > Save As to save a new PDF document containing all of the combined pages, or you can select File > Save to replace the original version of the destination PDF with the version containing the combined pages.

    Note: The Save or Save As commands will only save the document currently being viewed in the window, not all documents shown in the sidebar. The Preview window's title bar will show you the name of the current PDF document being viewed, how many pages are in the current document being viewed, how many separate (not combined) PDF documents are contained in the current window and the total number of pages of all documents open in the current window. For example, in the second screen shot above you can see that "About Stacks.pdf" is a single page PDF that is currently being viewed, but the Preview windows contains a second document with multiple pages. If you were to select Save while viewing "About Stacks.pdf," it would save this single-page document, but would not save the multiple page "About Downloads.pdf" that is also open in the same window.
Last Modified: Mar 21, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Mar 21, 2014
  • Article: HT4075
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