Preview is macOS’s built-in image viewer and PDF viewer. The name is a bit misleading, though, since Preview is capable of doing some light conversion and editing tasks, such as exporting as a PDF or converting a PDF to JPG. You can even use your Mac to combine single PDFs into a multi-page PDF by merging PDF files.
Merge PDFs on a Mac using a Preview
There are two easy ways to merge PDFs in Preview to create a multi-page PDF. I’ll show you both.
Method 1: Drag and Drop Thumbnails to Combine PDFs
To add a page to a PDF, open up the first PDF in Preview, then click View and then Thumbnails to reveal the sidebar.
Open up another PDF in a different Preview window. If not already done, view the sidebar by clicking View and then Thumbnails. Now, drag a thumbnail of a page from one PDF into the sidebar of the other PDF. You can also hold command to select multiple thumbnails to drag to the other PDF.
Done! You now have a combined PDF. Save your new PDF to make the changes stick. Click the filename at the top of the window to choose a new name and save location.
Method 2: Insert Page from File
Open up a PDF in Preview. Click Edit then Insert and then Page from File…
Choose the file you want to insert. You can re-arrange them in the sidebar.
And that’s all! Click the filename to save your PDF with a new name and location.
Combining PDFs in Preview is pretty handy if you don’t have another PDF editor and you want a free solution. Use Method 2 for combining two PDF files in their entirety. If you want just one page from a PDF or a subset of pages from a PDF, use Method 1.
In fact, even if you do have another PDF program that can handle combining PDFs, Preview is a quick and free way to get the job done for very simple tasks. Anything beyond 2 or 3 pages starts to get a little clunky in Preview.
What do you use for quick PDF editing tasks? Share your tips in the comments!