Creating Multiple Page PDF Files

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by cpjakes, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. cpjakes macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2003
    Buffalo, NY
    Hopefully this is an easy question to answer - I'm looking to take multiple documents and create one PDF file. Like scanning multiple pages of something and instead of having each page be a file, creating one file. In Preview, you can open multiple PDFs in the same window, but if you print (or Save to PDF from the print dialogue, it will only do each document as is.

    I would like to avoid loading multiple pages into Word and then exporting to PDF and I would also like to avoid having to buy Acrobat. Is this PDF function limited in OS X or am I missing something?

    Thanks all,
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    Sadly, OS X's PDF function can't combine multiple documents into one PDF. I would like to see this feature added too; I've just had to live with it for now.
  3. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Why? What's the problem with doing that? If you don't have Word, you can use almost any program to do this--even TextEdit--it's not really even an extra step, unless you already have the pages in PDF form.

    Since Adobe licenses the PDF format to Apple, I doubt you'll ever see native Mac OS capability to combine PDFs--Adobe wants you to buy Acrobat.
  4. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    I think PDF was made open. Isn't there xPDF or something for Linux?

    Anyway, Apple's save to PDF recompresses pictures. Not exactly lossless. And people complain about turning mp3 > aac. sheesh.
  5. Santiago macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2002
    Mountain View, California
    PDFMerge is a program for doing precisely that. It's free for a fully-functional 10- or 15-day trial, then costs $20 or $30 after that.
  6. cpjakes thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2003
    Buffalo, NY
    Great solution!! And it appears to be free!! Thanks!

    And wordmunger, the documents that I have are already PDFs, scanned graphical documents, but each one page in length. Just looking to consolidate.
  7. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Well, then... It looks like I've contributed almost zero to this thread. Sorry if I misled anyone.

    However, according to this PDF, PDF is not open. But you're right, 7on, as far as I can tell (from a 10-minute Web search), Apple didn't license PDF, just reverse-engineered their PDF engine. So a PDF-combining tool might be in their future. However, I still wonder if Adobe might not be too happy with Apple if they stepped so boldly onto Adobe turf.
  8. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    There are plenty of software development add-ons that enable a programmer to create PDF files that Apple wouldn't have to reverse-engineer anything, thankfully. Still, Adobe doesn't like that Apple isn't licensing anything since NeXT was so good about licensing Display PostScript.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Apple creates a simplified PDF creation tool that allows input from multiple sources simply because Adobe is treading lightly in Apple's consumer market.
  9. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    But wouldn't those tools have to have been reverse-engineered? I'm broadly defining reverse-engineering as developing a product to function the same as an already-developed product, without knowledge of the original process used to develop the other product. Perhaps this definition is too broad, but my point is simply that Apple didn't use Adobe code, they developed their own code to do what Acrobat does.
  10. Sparky's macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    Before this gets carried way off topic, I use Acrobat pro, If you do go to the menu bar Document>Pages>Insert (shift+cmnd+I), then find the next pdf file to add and the dialog box lets you decide where you want to put it. You can keep adding pages this way to get one single PDF.

    I try to answer questions not argue the politics behind the company.
  11. kwackus macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2008
    Use Automator

    Since the thread is 4 years old now, maybe everybody already knows the answer. But, to contribute to the knowledge of people looking it up for the first time, and just now finding this thread, I'll post my no-purchase-necessary solution here.

    Use Automator.
    It contains an operation "Combine PDF Pages" which does the job.

    How to:
    In finder, select the pages you want. Ctrl-click, go to the menu item "more", choose Automator.
    Find the "Combine PDF Pages" operation and add to the list.
    Find the "Move Finder Items" operation and add to the list (I haave had trouble finding the results without that step)
    Customize and run. Add a "Rename..." operation if you like.

    Hope this helps someone, somewhere, sometime.:)

  12. FireArse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004
    Talk too much

    There aren't enough people like you on this forum.

    I'd like to second live4ever's link - it is pretty good :)

  13. solista73 macrumors newbie


    Jul 25, 2009
    Thank You!!!!

    I will never thank you enough, so easy, so good!
    And thanks to Apple, which provides a way to solve things without spending money, although well hidden not to upset Adobe... hehe!
    I'm glad you posted this even though the thread was old.
    I guess I have to learn more about automator... :)

    Cheers man!
  14. daroel macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2009
    Found an easier way, using preview and print as pdf

    I recently downloaded a free googlebook, but as jpegs. I wanted to merge all files, found the simplest possible solution:

    1. Grab the 1st file you want to be on the pdf. Open with Preview. Save it as a pdf. This is your reciever file, in pdf format. Open it.
    2. Select all the rest of the files you want to put on the pdf. I drag them into into Preview Icon (you'll may have to use "open with..." option). This is your dragging file, inside Preview.
    3. Select all files from the Drawer at Preview, and DRAG them all into the Reciever file, the pdf opened with Preview. Save.
  15. Sonic Purity macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2006
    Pasadena, California
    Summary for Tiger users

    This page is a great resource, and i appreciate those who have posted and MacRumors for making it possible. Still, it could use some improvement. Here is my small contribution.

    It would be nice if those who post remember to include information regarding their OS and anything else pertinent. I just tried daroel’s steps, and they don’t work in Tiger 10.4.11 on a PPC Mac, with Preview Version 3.0.9 (409): it is not possible to select more than one file in the Drawer of this version of Preview at any one time. I am guessing that things have changed for the better in Leopard 10.5.x, and that that is what daroel may be using. His method seems like an excellent choice for those for which it works (though i wonder if it would not be possible to select all items at once in an initial opening in Preview and then Save?).

    What should work for Tiger users
    kwackus’s method (above) works for me. I’m going to re-type it, adding little bits that might help others.

    1. Create an Automator workflow with the following sequence:
      • Get Selected Finder Items
      • Combine PDF Pages (by Appending pages)
      • Rename Finder Items (Add Text to Finder Item Names) <-This makes the new file easier to find, as the random name string is prepended by something known and predictable.
      • Move Finder Items with Show Entire Action When Run option selected. This puts up a save file dialog so one can pick where the file gets saved. Without using Move Finder Items, the original ends up in /private/temp, at least on my system (G4 AGP “Sawtooth”, OS 10.4.11).
    2. Save As Plug-In…, into the Finder. Pick a name you’ll remember. I used “Merge PDFs from selection”.

    1. Select a group of PDF files (individual pages) in the Finder.
    2. Control-click (or right-click etc.) any one of the selected files. You should see an option as follows:
    Automator > Merge PDFs from selection [the name you gave it in step 2 of the setup process]

    I’m a novice Automator user… there may very well be modifications/improvements to this process (such as having Automator know where the selected source files live and have it save the concatenated multi-page PDF to that same location without asking).

    With the same hopeful wishes as kwackus,

  16. InternalWealth macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2009
    Use automator to merge PDF

    Thanks Kwackus! I'm always looking for ways to use automator as it saves me enormous amounts of time. Worked perfectly for me.

    ** For those of you who have never used automator - follow Kwackus' direction exactly. It'll work for you and you'll discover a whole new (amazing) tool on your Mac
  17. dmhuizinga macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2010
    Thank you!!

    Thank you so much for posting this! It's a wonderful help. Apple did it again for us and we have an awesome tool at our fingertips without having to add any software. Impressive!
  18. Rayosun macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2008
    Another easier (?) approach

    I came here looking for a way to scan 80 8x10" pages into a single document, without having to buy add'l software.

    I found that I could do it on my MiniMAC with OS 10.6 (Snowleopard) not by using the "receiving software" as I assumed I needed to do, but by using my Lexmark All-in-one X7675 scanner's software to SEND batches of 16 or so pages at a time through its automatic feeding system to a Preview file. See the screen shot below:
  19. maspapaya macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2010
    Thank you!

    Thanks Kwackus and Sonic. That was the first time I used automator and it worked perfectly. I joined this forum just to say I think you're AWESOME for posting that tip!
  20. ezy000 macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2010
    Adelaide, South Australia
    I second that. Great post and I am loving Automator. Just haven't had time to investigate before but I will make the time now.

    Thanks again posters. :D
  21. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    I've found yet another way of doing this: use TextEdit! Odd, but it works.

    What you do is this:
    1. Open PDF in Preview
    2. Copy page(s) from it
    3. Paste 'em into TextEdit
    4. Repeat for other PDFs
    5. Print resulting file as PDF
  22. dikalup macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2010
    The automator workflow doesn't work when trying it in latest version of Snow leopard, plus it only works if you're trying to combine several existing PDF files into a single PDF file.

    If you're trying to combine a bunch of images into a single PDF the automator solution that soem posted will not work since it only accepts PDF as both input and output, but there is a very easy way to do it.

    Select all the files you want to combine in finder, then open in preview - Preview will open with all your images in the drawer. Select all the images from the drawer and then just choose File -> "Print selected images" and then you can save as PDF. Very very easy :)
  23. howardnow macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2004
    For Leopard and beyond - the easy way.

    Just open preview with your 1st pdf. Open the sidebar (button next to the search area).

    Drag additional pdf's into the sidebar (you can rearrange order if you like).

    Use "save as" and you are all set. Multiple pdfs that can be printed or emailed in one file. Nice and easy!
  24. ggunn macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Are you sure? When I do that it just saves the last page under the new filename. I am using MacOS 10.6.5.

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