How to combine multiple PDF files into one in Preview

Even though Mac updates destroyed Preview on my desktop, my ancient MacBook (6 years old and proud of it) still has a functioning Preview app. Here’s the process, which I’m writing down here because otherwise I forget it and have to rediscover it every single time.

  1. Open both documents in Preview.
  2. Choose the Sidebar icon in both of them, or the one that shows you little thumbnails of the pages along the side.
  3. Select the document you want to move from the thumbnails in the sidebar of one document and drag it over to the other document. Place it wherever you’d like it to go.
  4. Select all the thumbnails in the sidebar of the combined document.
  5. IMPORTANT. If you try to SAVE or EXPORT the document at this point, you’ll end up with one page. Don’t do it. Instead, choose PRINT.
  6. When the PRINT dialogue comes up, choose PDF as your printing option.
  7. Name the file, save it, and you’re done.

Theoretically you can do this with Adobe Acrobat DC as well, with only a few more steps, but that’s available only with the Creative Cloud subscription.  It’s also possible with NitroPro (which isn’t free) and apparently with the free FoxItReader. You can’t merge them using the free Adobe Reader, though.

I have yet to find a good–that is, simple–workaround for inserting signatures into documents.  Adobe Acrobat DC has a lot of complex options for this, but not one has allowed me to do what Preview used to do with a single click.

 

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