How To Create, Merge and Split PDF Documents On A Mac

I was wondering to myself, there has to be an easy way to do this on a Mac. I knew that by owning a Mac, I didn’t have to resort to additional applications to help me get this menial task done. And I was right!

Merging and splitting PDF documents on a Mac is just as easy as creating them in the first place. If you own a Mac and don’t yet know how to create a PDF document, well you’ve come to right place. I’ll start you off from scratch.

The only application you need to deal with PDFs on a Mac is already installed by default. It’s called Preview. It also lets you view images (although I personally prefer using Quick Look for that). But Preview only comes in handy if you already have a PDF document. What if you don’t and want to create some?

Creating a PDF

Did you know that you can create a PDF version of any document you have — Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Pages, even images and webpages? All you have to do is open up the file with the appropriate application. For this example, I’ll be using Pages. So, I’d like to make a PDF version of this document (which you can download, by the way).

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Click on File, then Print.

On the subsequent pop-up, click on the PDF button on the bottom left.

Then select ‘Save as PDF’.

In the next window that appears, enter a descriptive title for the PDF and select the destination folder. That’s it! That’s how you create a PDF in Mac OS X. Simple, eh?

Alternatively, you can also use the Export feature if the application supports exporting to PDF.

Merging 2 PDF documents

Alright, this is where Preview comes in handy. Let’s say I have 2 one-page PDF files which I’d like to merge. Double-click on one of the PDFs and it will open with Preview. Then click on the Sidebar button to bring it up.

Now click and drag the second PDF document and drop in in the sidebar.

Repeat the process for all the PDF documents you want to merge. Re-order them and then select all of the pages by pressing Command+A.

With all of the PDFs selected, follow the instructions from the section above to “print” (choose ‘Print Selected Page‘) the document and save as a PDF. The result is a single PDF file with both of the initial PDF documents. You’ve just merged 2 PDFs together.

Splitting PDF documents

Splitting a PDF file into separate, individual pages follows a similar concept. Open the PDF file in Preview, select the pages you want, “print” those pages and save them as a PDF file. Then simply delete those pages from the original PDF file and “print” the remaining pages.

Did you know these tips? Any more PDF tips you’d like to share with us? Feel free to leave a note in the comments.

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