How to combine multiple PDF files into a single document on a Mac or PC

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The Portable Document Format (PDF) is one of the most commonly used file types around.

PDFs are primarily shareable text or photo documents accessible to anyone who has a computer or smartphone. Unlike a Word file, which requires Microsoft Word to view or edit, most browsers will open a PDF.

That’s useful when sharing files with friends or colleagues, especially if you don’t know what software they have; PDFs are the one-size-fits-all option. You can also be sure your document’s format won’t change regardless of what kind of device is accessing your file.

But let’s say you have one or more documents to share. Instead of sending multiple attachments in an email, you can combine and organize multiple PDFs into one file with

Mac users can do this using the Preview app that comes with your computer.

PC users will have to download software, but many of these programs are free and easy to use.

How to combine PDF files on a Mac

Mac computers come with a simple and intuitive software called Preview to combine PDFs. If Preview isn’t in your dock, open a new Finder window and search for it.

Quick tip: Any changes made to a PDF in Preview are saved automatically. If you want to keep all the original separated documents, make sure to duplicate your files before combining them. To do this, click on your PDF, click “File,” and then click “Duplicate” in the drop-down menu.

  1. Open Preview.
  2. Open one of the PDFs you want to combine. We’ll be combining two in this tutorial.
  3. In your PDF file, click “View.”
  4. Then click “Thumbnail” to display thumbnails in the sidebar.
  5. Drag another PDF from your desktop into Preview. This will combine the two documents.
  6. You can order them however you want: in front, behind, and between existing pages. Drag the thumbnails to reorder them.

How to combine PDF files on a PC

PCs do not come with a program well-equipped to combine PDF files. You have to seek out and download free software. There are many, but we’ll be using the free, open-source software PDFsam.

  1. Open PDFsam.
  2. Click “Merge.”
  3. Drag and drop the PDFs you want to combine into the new window. You can also click the “Add” button at the top-left.
  4. Select if you want to normalize page size, add footers, or include a table of contents.
  5. Click “Run” at the bottom.
  6. Click “Open” to see your new PDF file.



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