How to Merge PDF Files on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Welcome to our article on How to Merge PDF Files on Mac! If you use a Mac, you may have had to deal with multiple PDF files that you want to merge into one. There are a few different methods to do this, but in this article we will go over 12 simple steps to merge PDF files on Mac using the Preview app. Let’s get started!


Step 1: Open Preview

First, open the Preview app on your Mac.

Step 2: Click “File”, then “Open”

Click on the “File” menu in the Preview app, then select “Open” from the drop-down menu.

Step 3: Select PDF Files

Select the PDF files that you want to merge by holding down the “Command” key and clicking on each individual PDF file you want to merge. Alternatively, you can select multiple PDF files by holding down the “Shift” key and clicking on the first and last PDF file you want to merge.

Step 4: Open Thumbnails

Click on the “View” menu in the Preview app, then select “Thumbnails” from the drop-down menu. This will open a sidebar with thumbnails of each PDF file you selected.

Step 5: Drag and Drop Thumbnails

Drag the thumbnail of one PDF file and drop it on top of the thumbnail of another PDF file. This will merge the two PDF files together.

Step 6: Repeat Step 5 for Each PDF File

Repeat Step 5 for each PDF file you want to merge. You can rearrange the order of the PDF files by dragging and dropping their thumbnails in the sidebar.

Step 7: Save Merged PDF File

Click on the “File” menu in the Preview app, then select “Export as PDF” from the drop-down menu. Choose a save location and name for the merged PDF file, then click “Save”.

Step 8: Confirm Merged PDF File

Open the merged PDF file to confirm that all the pages from each PDF file have been merged together in the correct order.

Step 9: Make Edits If Necessary

If necessary, you can make edits to the merged PDF file using the tools in the Preview app before saving your changes.

Step 10: Repeat for Additional PDF Files

Repeat Steps 3-9 for any additional PDF files you want to merge. You can merge as many PDF files as you need.

Step 11: Close Preview App

Close the Preview app when you are finished merging your PDF files.

Step 12: Backup Your Files

Remember to backup your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage service to avoid losing your work.


Merging PDF files on Mac is a simple process thanks to the Preview app. By following the 12 steps outlined above, you can easily merge multiple PDF files into one without the need for a third-party application. The Preview app allows you to view, edit, and manipulate PDF files on your Mac with ease. It also offers tools to annotate and highlight PDF files, add signatures, and more. By taking advantage of the features in Preview, you can be even more productive and efficient when working with PDF files on your Mac.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Use keyboard shortcuts to save time when merging PDF files in Preview. For example, you can use the “Command” + “O” shortcut to quickly open a PDF file, or “Command” + “S” to quickly save your merged PDF file.

2. Merge PDF Files in Batches

If you have a large number of PDF files to merge, try merging them in batches of 5-10 files at a time. This will help you avoid overwhelming the Preview app and potentially crashing it.

3. Use Page Thumbnails to Rearrange Files

Use the page thumbnails in the sidebar to rearrange the order of pages in each PDF file before merging them together. This will help you ensure that your final merged PDF file is organized and easy to navigate.

4. Use the Annotation Tools to Edit Your Merged PDF File

If you need to make edits to your merged PDF file, use the annotation tools in Preview to add comments, highlights, and more. You can also use the “Markup” tool to add handwritten notes and drawings to your PDF file.

5. Use Third-Party Apps for Advanced PDF Editing Tasks

While Preview is a great app for merging PDF files and making simple edits, it may not be sufficient for more complex PDF editing tasks. If you need to add text, images, or other multimedia elements to your PDF file, consider using a third-party app like Adobe Acrobat.

6. Backup Your Files Regularly

Always backup your PDF files to avoid losing your work. Use an external hard drive or cloud storage service to keep your files safe and secure.

7. Use Online PDF Tools for Quick Merging

If you don’t have access to a Mac or Preview app, consider using online PDF tools like SmallPDF or MergePDF to quickly merge your PDF files. These tools offer a simple and easy-to-use interface for merging PDF files online for free.

8. Merge PDF Files for Easier Distribution

Merging multiple PDF files into one can make it easier to distribute your work. For example, if you are sending a report to multiple recipients, you can merge all the different sections into one PDF file for easier distribution.

9. Keep Your PDF Files Organized

Organize your PDF files into folders by date, project, or topic to make it easier to find and access them later on. This will also help you avoid duplicate files and save time.

10. Use Tags to Categorize Your PDF Files

Use tags to categorize your PDF files by topic, type, or other criteria. This will make it easier to search for and find specific files in the future.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Merging PDF Files on Mac


1. Saves Time: Merging multiple PDF files into a single document using a Mac computer is a quick and efficient way to organize your files and save time.

2. Easy Accessibility: Having all your files combined in one PDF file makes it easier to access and find the information you need.

3. Improved File Organization: Merging PDF files on a Mac helps to improve your file organization by keeping everything in one place.

4. Reduced Storage Space: Combining multiple PDF files into one reduces the size of the files, freeing up storage space on your computer and cloud storage.

5. Simplified File Sharing: When all your files are merged in one PDF, it becomes easier to share with colleagues or clients, simplifying file sharing process.

6. Enhanced Security: PDF merging software offer security features like password protection, enabling you to protect your document against unauthorized access.

7. Easier Printing: Merging PDF files into one before printing, means you can print all the files in one go, reducing printing errors.

8. Improved Productivity: Merging PDF files on a Mac saves you time and effort, simplifying workflow and making you more productive.

9. Cost-effective: Merging multiple PDF documents using a Mac is a cost-effective solution as compared to the traditional method of printing, collating, and binding the files manually.

10. Eco-friendly: Merging your PDF files on a Mac saves paper and related costs, making it an eco-friendly practice.


1. Quality Reduction: Merging PDF files might cause some loss of quality, especially when merging files with high-resolution images or large-sized files.

2. Incompatible Files: Some PDF merging software may have compatibility issues with certain PDF files.

3. Security Risks: Merging PDF files can expose your sensitive information to risks like data breaches, if proper security measures are not taken.

4. Data Loss: There might be a possibility of data loss during the merging process, especially when handling large-sized files.

5. File Corruption: Merging PDF files can also cause file corruption or distortion to files with complex formatting or design elements.

6. Limited Editing: Once you have merged PDF files on a Mac, it becomes harder to edit them as compared to the original separate files.

7. Increased File Size: Despite reducing the storage space occupied by the files, merging PDF files increases the overall size of the document.

8. Requires PDF Merging software: Merging PDF files on a Mac requires specialized software that may come at a cost.

9. Learning Curve: Learning how to merge PDF files on Mac may take some time, especially for those who are not tech-savvy.

10. Time-consuming: Despite being a time-saver, the process of merging PDF files can be time-consuming if you have a large number of files to merge.


1. Can I merge PDF files on Mac without additional software?

Yes, you can use the Preview app on your Mac to merge PDF files. Simply open the first PDF file in Preview, then drag and drop the other PDF files into the sidebar. Arrange the pages in the desired order and save the merged file.

2. How many PDF files can I merge using Preview?

There is no limit to the number of PDF files you can merge using Preview. However, you may experience some performance issues if you try to merge a large number of files.

3. Is there a faster way to merge PDF files than using Preview?

Yes, there are many third-party apps and online tools that can help you merge PDF files quickly and easily. Some popular options include Adobe Acrobat Pro, PDF Expert, and SmallPDF.

4. Is it possible to merge password-protected PDF files?

It depends on the software or tool you’re using to merge the files. Some apps, like Adobe Acrobat Pro, allow you to merge password-protected PDF files as long as you have the password. However, other apps and online tools may not support this functionality.

5. Can I merge different-sized PDF files?

Yes, you can merge PDF files of different sizes and dimensions. However, keep in mind that the resulting file may not look uniform if the sizes are significantly different.

6. How do I ensure that the merged PDF file is in the correct order?

Before you merge the PDF files, make sure you arrange them in the correct order using the sidebar in Preview or the page thumbnails in other software or tools.

7. Can I merge only specific pages from different PDF files?

Yes, most software and tools allow you to select specific pages from each PDF file that you want to merge. This can be useful if you only need to combine certain sections of various documents.

8. Is it possible to merge PDF files that are stored in the cloud?

Yes, many online tools and apps allow you to merge PDF files that are stored in cloud-based services like Dropbox or Google Drive.

9. Will the merged PDF file retain the original formatting?

Yes, if you use a reliable software or tool, the merged PDF file should retain the original formatting, including font styles, images, and other elements.

10. Can I merge PDF files using my mobile device?

Yes, many mobile apps for iOS and Android devices allow you to merge PDF files on the go. Some popular options include PDF Expert, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and iLovePDF.

11. Is it necessary to compress the merged PDF file after combining multiple files?

It is not necessary to compress the merged PDF file, but doing so can reduce the file size and make it easier to share or send via email.

12. Can I merge PDF files without an internet connection?

Yes, if you have the necessary software or app installed on your device, you can merge PDF files without an internet connection.

13. Is there any risk of losing my original PDF files during the merging process?

No, as long as you use a reputable software or tool, your original PDF files should remain intact during the merging process.

How to Merge PDF Files on Mac

Portable Document Format (PDF) files have become a norm for most documents. If you need to combine different PDF files such as invoices, contracts, or receipts into a single document, you don’t have to struggle. If you’re using a Mac, you can merge PDF files without the need for any additional software. Here’s how you can do it:


Merging PDF files is an easy and straightforward process that you can do on your Mac. There are various methods to do it, but using Preview or Adobe Acrobat DC is probably the easiest. You only need to select the files you want to merge, and the Mac system will combine them into a single PDF file in a matter of seconds. With these simple steps, you can save time and effort and manage your documents effectively. So next time you need to merge PDF files, don’t fret. Just follow the steps and combine your documents flawlessly!


That concludes our article on how to merge PDF files on Mac. We hope you found it informative and helpful. Merging PDF files is a handy technique to save time and keep all your documents organized. It’s essential to know the process so that you can merge files without any difficulty. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comments section below. Thank you for reading, and until next time, keep learning and refining your skills!