How to Combine PDFs on Mac: A General Guide

Welcome to our article on how to combine PDF on Mac! If you’ve found yourself with multiple PDF files that you need to merge into one, you’re in the right place. Combining PDFs can save you time and make it easier to manage your documents. In this article, we’ll provide you with simple steps, explanations, and tips on how to do it on your Mac.


Step 1: Open Preview

The Preview application comes pre-installed on your Mac. To open it, click the Spotlight search icon and type in “Preview.” Once the application is launched, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Drag and Drop Your PDFs

In Preview, click “File” from the top menu and select “New from File.” You will be prompted to browse for the PDF files you want to merge. Alternatively, you can drag and drop your PDFs directly into Preview from your Finder.

Step 3: Rearrange Pages (optional)

If you need to rearrange the pages, use the sidebar to the left of the preview window. You can click and drag each page to your desired location.

Step 4: Save the Combined PDF

After arranging your pages, click “File” in the top menu, then select “Export as PDF”. Choose a filename and location where you’d like to save your new PDF and click “Save”.

Step 5: Use the Automator App (alternative method)

If you have a larger number of files to merge, you can use the Automator app. To do this, open Automator and choose “Workflow”. Then, drag and drop the “Combine PDF Pages” action from the left column into the workflow area. Follow the prompts to input your PDFs and choose a save location.

Step 6: Use Adobe Acrobat (paid method)

If you have Adobe Acrobat installed on your Mac, you can use this software to combine your PDFs. Open the software, then click “Combine Files” from the Home tab. Follow the prompts to select your PDFs and choose a save location.

Step 7: Use an Online Tool (alternative method)

If you don’t want to download any software, there are plenty of online tools that can help you merge your PDFs. Some popular options include Small PDF, PDF Merge, and ILovePDF. Simply upload your files, arrange them, and download the combined PDF.

Step 8: Preview Troubleshooting

If you encounter any issues with Preview, try restarting the app or your Mac. If that doesn’t work, try using an alternative method.

Step 9: Automator Troubleshooting

If you have issues using Automator, make sure you’re following the prompts correctly and that your PDF files are saved in a compatible format.

Step 10: Adobe Acrobat Troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble with Adobe Acrobat, try updating the software or contacting customer support for assistance.

Step 11: Online Tool Tips

To ensure your files are safe, choose a reputable online tool with good reviews. Also, be aware that some online tools may have limits on the number of files you can upload or the size of the PDF you can create.

Step 12: Deleting Your Original Files

After merging your PDFs, you may want to delete the original files to free up space on your computer. However, make sure you’ve saved a copy of the combined PDF before doing so.


Combining PDFs can be done easily on your Mac through various methods, including Preview, Automator, Adobe Acrobat, and online tools. Preview is a built-in app that allows you to drag and drop your PDFs, rearrange pages and save a new combined PDF. The Automator app provides a quicker way of combining multiple files. Adobe Acrobat is a paid software that offers more advanced features such as password protection and watermarking. Online tools are free to use and can be accessed from any web browser. Keep in mind that each method has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use Shortcuts

Using shortcuts can save you time when merging PDFs. For example, you can use “Command + N” to create a new PDF in Preview.

2. Use File Names

Before combining PDFs, make sure to give each file a descriptive name. This will make it easier to locate the document later on.

3. Check Page Orientation

If you’re arranging pages, make sure to check their orientation. You don’t want to accidentally merge a page sideways or upside down.

4. Choose the Desired Quality

When exporting your new PDF, consider the desired quality of the document. You can choose between various resolutions and compressions.

5. Password Protect Your PDF

To keep your sensitive information secure, you may want to password protect your PDF. Adobe Acrobat and online tools offer this feature.

6. Combine Your PDFs in Batches

If you have a large number of PDFs to merge, try doing it in batches to avoid overwhelming yourself.

7. Use a Fast Computer

Merging PDFs can be a processor-intensive task, especially on slower computers. Make sure your computer is up to the task before beginning.

8. Merge Different File Formats

Did you know you can also merge different types of files? Preview and Adobe Acrobat allow you to merge images and other document types.

9. Preview Output before Saving

Before saving your merged PDF, make sure to preview it to ensure everything looks correct.

10. Backup Your PDFs

As always, make sure to backup your PDFs to avoid losing important information. This can be done by saving your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage service.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Combining PDFs on Mac


1. Saving Time – Combining multiple PDF files into one document can save you a significant amount of time, especially if you need to send the file to someone else.

2. Better Organization – Having one PDF file instead of multiple files can make it easier for you to organize and manage your documents.

3. Consistency – By combining multiple PDFs, you can ensure that the formatting, fonts, and page layout remain consistent throughout the entire document.

4. Reduce Storage Space – Consolidating all the PDFs into one file also saves storage space, making it easier to manage and back up.

5. Improved Printing – You can also ensure that all pages print correctly and in the correct order when you combine multiple PDFs into one file.

6. Easy Editing – If you need to make edits to a specific page or section of a document, it’s much easier to do when everything is consolidated into one file.

7. Enhance Readability – By combining multiple files into one, you can also enhance readability and user experience.

8. Increased Accessibility – With all the information in one document, it becomes more accessible and easier to share with others.

9. Improved Security – Instead of securing multiple files, combining them into one PDF file makes the security process easy and efficient.

10. Enhance Professionalism – A single PDF file looks more professional and less cluttered than multiple files, and that can reflect positively on you and your organization.


1. Large File Size – When you combine PDFs into one file, it can result in a larger file size that may be difficult to send via email or share over the internet.

2. Complicated Editing – While combining multiple files into one can make editing easier, it can make more complicated edits more challenging, especially if it requires making changes to specific pages already within the combined PDF.

3. Potential for Errors – With multiple files, it’s easier to identify specific errors. Combining into a single file increases the risk of human error.

4. Limited Compatibility – Some programs and devices may not be compatible with certain types of PDFs, which can hinder your ability to share and send documents.

5. Unclear File Naming – If the original files weren’t named properly or consistently, the resulting combined PDF may not have a clear and easy-to-understand name.

6. Security Concerns – If the security settings are not set properly, combining multiple PDFs into one file may compromise the security of your sensitive information.

7. Potential for Information Overload – If you combine too many PDFs into one file, it may lead to information overload and make it difficult for the reader to understand the content.

8. Loss of Data – If the original files are lost or damaged, and you have only one combined PDF, you risk losing all the contents of the documents.

9. Inaccurate Output – If the PDFs aren’t properly aligned before being combined, the output may result in skewed or blurry pages.

10. Time-Consuming – Depending on the number and size of PDFs you’re combining, it can be a time-consuming process to combine them into one file.


1. How can I combine PDF files on my Mac without using any additional software?

You can use the built-in Preview app on your Mac. Just open one of the PDF files in Preview, then drag and drop the other PDF files into the sidebar. You can then rearrange the pages and save the combined PDF file.

2. What do I do if the pages of my combined PDF file are out of order?

You can rearrange the pages by dragging and dropping them in the sidebar of Preview. Alternatively, you can use the thumbnail view (View > Thumbnails) to rearrange the pages.

3. Can I add bookmarks to a combined PDF file using Preview?

Yes, you can. First, go to View > Show Sidebar > Bookmarks to open the Bookmarks sidebar. Then, navigate to the page in your PDF file that you want to bookmark. Right-click on the page thumbnail, and select “Add Bookmark”.

4. Is there a limit to the number of PDF files I can combine using Preview?

No, there is no limit to the number of PDF files you can combine using Preview.

5. Can I password-protect my combined PDF file using Preview?

Yes, you can. Go to File > Export, and check the “Encrypt” box. Enter a password and confirm it, then click “Save”.

6. How can I reduce the file size of my combined PDF file?

You can try reducing the file size by going to File > Export, selecting “Quartz Filter” from the “Format” dropdown menu, and choosing a filter that compresses the file.

7. Can I add a watermark to my combined PDF file using Preview?

No, you cannot add a watermark using Preview. You will need to use a third-party PDF editor or another method.

8. How can I merge PDF files if I don’t have a Mac?

There are numerous online tools and third-party software that can help you merge PDF files on Windows, Linux, and other platforms. Just do a quick online search to find one that suits your needs.

9. Can I merge only select pages from multiple PDF files?

Yes, you can do so using Preview. Open one of the PDF files in Preview, and then drag and drop the pages you want to include from the other files into the sidebar. You can then rearrange the pages and create a new PDF file.

10. Are there any risks associated with using third-party tools to merge PDF files?

Yes, there is a risk that the third-party tool could introduce malware or unwanted changes to your files. It is important to use a trusted tool and to scan the merged PDF file for any potential issues before sharing or using it.

11. How do I open a password-protected PDF file?

You will need to enter the password to open the PDF file. If you do not have the password, you will not be able to open the file.

12. Can I edit the content of a password-protected PDF file?

It depends on the permissions set by the owner of the PDF file. If the owner has allowed editing of the file, you can edit it after entering the password. If not, you will not be able to edit the file.

13. Can I combine PDF files on my iPhone or iPad?

Yes, there are apps available that allow you to combine PDF files on your iPhone or iPad. Just search the App Store to find one that suits your needs.

How to Combine PDFs on a Mac?

Have you ever needed to combine multiple PDF files into one document on your Mac computer? It can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. In this article, we will show you how to combine PDFs on a Mac in just a few simple steps.

First, open the PDFs that you want to combine in Preview. To do this, click on the first PDF, then hold down the Command key and click on the others that you want to add. This will open them all in separate windows in Preview.

Next, make sure that the Sidebar is visible by clicking on View in the top menu bar and then selecting Sidebar. From the Sidebar, you can drag pages from one PDF to another. To select multiple pages, hold down the Command key while clicking on the pages you want to add.

Once you’ve added all the pages you want, rearrange them in the order you prefer. You can do this by simply dragging and dropping pages within the Sidebar. If you need to delete a page, select it in the Sidebar and hit the Delete key.

Finally, save your newly combined PDF by clicking on File in the top menu bar and selecting Export as PDF. Give your new document a name and choose a save location. That’s it! You’ve successfully combined multiple PDF files into one on your Mac.


Combining PDF files on a Mac is a quick and easy process with Preview. By following the steps above, you can combine multiple PDFs into one document in just a few clicks. We hope this article has been helpful to you, and we wish you all the best as you continue to use your Mac computer.

Thank you for reading, and until next time!