Easily Split PDF Pages Using OS X Preview

Easily Split PDF Pages Using OS X Preview

Do you have a PDF you want to split or extract pages from on your Mac?

Back in 2010, I wrote a post about how to split a PDF on Mac OS X. I suggested two ways: dragging pages out of the PDF in Preview, or using Automator.

Eddie over at Practically Efficient has an even easier way that I can’t believe I didn’t think of.

First, you want to make sure that the Sidebar is exposed so that you can see all of the pages of your PDF. Click the sidebar button on the left and choose Thumbnails.

Preview Show Thumbnails
Preview Show Thumbnails

Then in the Sidebar, select the pages that you want to extract.

If the pages are continuous, you can click on the first page you want to extract, hold down Shift, and then click on the last one. Or you can hold down the Command key and choose the pages you want to select.

Preview Select Pages
Preview Select Pages

When you have your pages selected, hit ⌘-C or go to Edit > Copy to copy them to the clipboard.

Next, hit ⌘-N or go to File > New From Clipboard.

Voilà. You now have a new PDF document just with the pages that you had selected. Great tip!

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 15 comments

Sheila - February 1, 2019 Reply

I am applying for a mortgage and need to send voluminous documents from my tax CD. I looked and looked on the Internet and couldn’t figure out how to only send select pages from the PDF document. Then I happened on your wonderfully EASY explanation. I still have my hair–no need to tear it out! Thanks a million!

irene - April 30, 2018 Reply

Wow!! thank you so much! This is great advice! wouldnt have thought about it!

Farhan - September 27, 2016 Reply

Great Help….. It saved me a lot of time. Cheers

John Macleren - January 1, 2016 Reply

An online PDF splitter tool can be also used for splitting a large PDF file into multiple documents. This web application can be used in Windows, MAC or Linux operating systems. Get more details: http://onlinefreeware.net/pdf/split.aspx

Krishna Kumar - September 15, 2015 Reply


I can’t tell you what a great help this tip has been.

Ashwini - July 27, 2015 Reply

Awesome.! Thanks. 🙂

John - September 4, 2014 Reply

Thank you, thank you, thank you….

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Pieter Jelle - July 21, 2011 Reply

Or even simpler: drag them from the sidebar to the desktop, and you'll have a new pdf file. Saves you from having to perform a lot of shortcuts and then save the file.

    Brooks Duncan - July 21, 2011 Reply

    Yeah, that is what I usually do. I mentioned it in my 2010 post linked above, but some people have had problems with it. Maybe it depends on OS version?

@ColinHorner - July 20, 2011 Reply

Brilliant tip! Many thanks Brooks & Eddie

    Brooks Duncan - July 20, 2011 Reply

    No problem Colin, glad it helped!

      askedgirl - June 25, 2014 Reply

      thanks !

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