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How to Combine PDFs on Mac: 3 Ridiculously Simple Ways

How to Merge PDFs on Mac

Technology has evolved substantially over the last few years, and “personal computing” as we know it has changed the way we get things done in our day to day lives.

The software interfaces we interact with on our computers, tablets, and smartphones have also evolved with every passing day, making them not only more comfortable to use but also more efficient and fun.

There are many kinds of file formats commonly used today, but one of the few file types that have been around for quite a few years and offered the most versatility and reliability is the PDF file format.

Today, the PDF is commonly used for all kinds of things, such as business quotations and invoices, office memos, downloadable documents from web services, banking and credit card statements, e-books, and lots more.

The PDF offers many advantages over some traditional file formats that have been typically used for document files.

Two of the most notable features of the PDF file format is its flexibility of holding any kind of data — be it text, photos, graphics, tables, or even vectors, and its extensibility — where you can modify and edit any PDF file without affecting other content it holds.

One of the things that people commonly tend to do with documents is merging the contents of two or more files.

You know how you have to scramble to ready all your monthly bank statements at the end of a financial year and send them to your accountant? Or maybe you want to combine several PDF receipts into a giant PDF that you can save in your Google Drive or Dropbox accounts for referencing later.

Well, thanks to its flexibility and extensibility, merging two or more PDF files is a piece of cake. If you need to combine PDFs into a single file, there are many different ways in which you can achieve that. Moreover, you don’t even require any specialized tools or applications.

How to Merge PDFs on Mac: 3 Ways Explained

Merge PDFs on Mac

#1: The Default Mac App to Merge PDF files

Apple has bundled Preview with every modern Mac that it has sold and Preview is the default app on macOS for many different file formats, ranging from images, graphics, and PDFs.

The Preview on Mac can join two or more PDF files with ease within minutes. Here’s how:

  • Locate the PDF file that you want to combine with another PDF and open it in
  • From the top menu bar click on View and then click on the “Thumbnails.”
  • Your Preview window will now start displaying little thumbnails on the left-hand side
  • To combine a second PDF file into this file, simply Drag it over this list of Thumbnails and Drop it between any two thumbnails in the list
  • Finally, click on File from top menu bar and then Export as PDF…
Merge PDF files on Mac Using Preview App

That’s it!

If Drag and Drop isn’t your thing, you can alternatively click on the Edit → Insert → Page from File menu option and manually select which file you want to insert into a PDF.

How to Merge Selected Pages from PDF files using Preview on Mac

We just saw how to merge two PDF files on a Mac using a ridiculously simple Drag and Drop option and also a default menu option.

But what if you want to merge only a select few pages from a PDF file instead of the whole file? Let’s say, you have a file that has 10 pages, but you only want to combine pages 2, 3, and 4 from PDF on a Mac?

That’s ridiculously simple too — just follow the steps outlined above for opening the first PDF file in and enable the Thumbnails view.

Similarly, open the second PDF file that you want to pull pages 2-4 from and enable the Thumbnails to view on it. Then just drag pages 2, 3, and 4 from it to your first file and drop them where you want, and you’re done!

How easy was that?

There’s one name that’s synonymous with PDFs, and that’s Adobe. Adobe has been the driving force behind PDFs for many years and their Acrobat Reader app is the most common PDF apps on any platform.

If you take 100 random computers, the chances are that at least 75 of them will have Acrobat Reader installed on them to handle PDF files.

Unfortunately, Acrobat Reader is also quite cumbersome to use. It takes a while to figure out how to combine PDFs using Acrobat Reader on a Mac, so let’s take a moment to dive into the details of merging PDFs using Acrobat Reader.

  • First, open Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Applications folder on your Mac
  • Then, navigate to the “Tools” option at the top left of your Acrobat Reader window and click on the “Combine Files” option
  • Here, you’ll find the “Add Files” option that allows you to select the PDF files that you want to merge manually
  • After you’ve selected the PDF file you want to merge, click on the “Combine Files” button to begin the process
Combine PDFs on Mac using Apps

As you can see, Adobe Acrobat Reader makes the process of combining PDFs on a Mac quite a bit tedious and not so obvious. Being the most commonly used PDF app doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option to combine PDFs on a Mac.

But then, which one is? Let’s take a look at one more option.

#3. The Best Option to Combine PDF Files on a Mac

If you’ve jumped directly to this section of the page, we get it. You want to know what is the best option to merge PDFs on a Mac. But before we get into that, we advise you just to take a quick look at the two options detailed above, i.e., the default option and also the popular option.

As we’ve seen, using Adobe Acrobat Reader is cumbersome. Also, on the other hand, while Preview does a great job of merging your PDFs, there are better apps available that offer many advanced PDF features and toolsets.

However, what is better than the default and popular option? Let us introduce you to the easy way to merge PDFs using PDF Expert. As the name suggests, it’s really good at performing PDF related actions on a Mac.

There are two ways you can combine PDFs in PDF Expert, and you can pick any of the options that you like and find easy to use.

A. Drag and Drop Option

Drag and Drop is the most intuitive way of merging two or more PDFs on a Mac, so that’s what we’ll look at first.

  • First, if you haven’t already, download the free trial of PDF Expert and open it
  • Open your primary PDF file in PDF Expert
  • In the PDF Expert toolbar, click on the “Thumbnails” option. Unlike a long list of thumbnails of pages in the Preview App, PDF Expert shows you a neatly laid out grid of thumbnails. This way, it’s easier to find those exact pages you want to merge into
  • Now locate the file you want to merge with the primary file and drag and drop it onto this grid of thumbnails
Combine PDFs on Mac Using Drag and Drop

How easy was that!

B. Menu Based Option

  • Open PDF Expert
  • Since we’re going to combine two “files,” let’s click on the “File” menu where you’ll find the “Merge files” option
  • Here, select the PDF file that you want to merge and click on the “Merge” button
Merge PDF Files on Mac using Menu Option

Pretty straightforward, right? PDF Expert ships with a whole lot of features that make working with PDFs easy. It’s definitely worth having installed on your Mac.

Here, we’ve seen three major and ridiculously simple ways to combine two or PDF files on macOS using Apple’s Preview App, Readdle’s PDF Expert, and Adobe’s Acrobat app.

That’s all friends!

Summing up…

Pretty straightforward, right? PDF Expert ships with a whole lot of features that make working with PDFs easy. It’s definitely worth having installed on your Mac.

Here, we’ve seen three ways to combine two or more PDF files on macOS using Apple’s Preview App, Readdle’s PDF Expert, and Adobe’s Acrobat app.

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