Working With PDFs? Learn To Merge

Working With PDFs? Learn To Merge

MergeIf you are working with a bunch of PDFs, it can be a pain (and confusing) to try to keep track of them all.

This isn’t the first and won’t be the last time that the inspiration for this post came from Eddie Smith at Practically Efficient. More specifically, from this tweet:

I am not sure how Eddie does it (and maybe this will prompt him to share his workflow 🙂 ), but here is a way to combine PDFs in PDFpenPro on the Mac.

If you’re a Windows user, you can do something similar in Nitro Pro. Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to do a post showing that.

Combine PDFs in PDFpenPro

There are many ways to combine PDFs in PDFpenPro. In this example I am assuming that you want to create a new PDF that will merge the contents of a bunch of other documents.

Start up PDFpenPro and go to File > New > Blank Document. This will create a new PDF.

PDFpenPro New Blank Document

Next, go to File > Insert… and when the window pops up, navigate to the folder that contains the PDFs you want to merge. Highlight them all and choose Open.

Open All PDFs

Congratulations, you now have one large PDF that contains all your documents!

There are many other ways to merge PDFs with PDFpenPro, and if you’d like you can add specific pages or merge one document into another existing document. There are more instructions for this here.

Create Table Of Contents In PDFpenPro

Great, now you have one big PDF. How do you navigate around it?

The key is to create bookmarks to specific sections of the document. Then you can instantly jump around to whereever you need to be.

To do this, you’ll want to make sure you have the sidebar showing. If it isn’t showing by default, go to View > Show Sidebar and then if necessary, go to View > Thumbnails.

Show PDFpen Sidebar

For each part of the document you want to create a bookmark for, highlight the page thumbnail and go to Edit > Table Of Contents > Add Entry or hit Shift-Command-A.

PDFpenPro Add Table of Contents

You’ll then want to give that bookmark a name.

Name PDFpen Bookmark

Go through and bookmark the rest of your documents.

Name PDFpen Bookmarks

Here are more instructions from Smile on how to create a Table of Contents in PDFpenPro.

Now you can instantly jump from location to location in your PDF without having to go crazy scrolling.

Once you get the hang of it, merging and bookmarking a PDF doesn’t take much time at all, and the benefits of not having to mess around with PDFs all over the place are huge.

(Photo by John Griffiths)

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 2 comments

Jeff - March 8, 2015 Reply

A question from all the not-geeks:

What the TOC is CMS?

Mac Power Users On Working With PDFs - December 16, 2014 Reply

[…] Some great discussion about long-term accessibility, PDF annotation, PDF security, and a detour into the benefits of PDF bookmarking and creating a Table of Contents. Good timing on the latter since I just wrote a blog post about that very topic. […]

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