Use Preview to combine PDF documents

Apple’s Preview is a powerful image and PDF viewer and manipulator. In addition to allowing the viewing just about every graphics format available, you can move and delete pages inside a PDF and you can also combine other PDF documents to create a single file. Note this step MAY apply to 10.4 (Tiger) but I’m unable to locate a machine that old to test it.

Open a PDF using Preview


The Preview application is found in the Applications folder or on your Dock. You can also double click on a PDF file and it may open in Preview. If not, see this tip for information on setting default applications.

Activate the Sidebar


Activate the Sidebar by pressing the Sidebar button, clicking View > Sidebar, or by pressing (Command + Shift + D)

Sidebar actions


When the Sidebar appears you may now select pages within your PDF and move or delete them. To move them, just click and drag to change the order; to delete them, select the page to remove and press Command-delete or Edit -> Delete Selected Page.

Add another PDF to the current file


To add another PDF document and create a single file, simply drag the icon of your second document to the open Sidebar in Preview. The green circle with a + in the middle appears, indicating you are dragging from one document to another, showing the addition of the page. The red line indicates the location of where the page will appear. Drag around to change the location.

Manipulating pages


To change the order of the pages, click, hold, and drag a page to it’s new location. The red bar appears showing you the new location of the selected page.

Save the new document

"Save as…" (Command + Shift + S) to save the new document, or "Save" (Command + S) to replace the existing document.

Download this tip

Click here to download this tip as a PDF file.