How to Merge PDF Files With Your Mac for Free (Snow Leopard & earlier OS’s)

Merge PDF iconDo you need to merge some PDF files into one file, but you do not feel like shelling out the cash needed for Adobe Acrobat? Well, you’re in luck. Whether you are running OS X 10.5 Leopard, or an earlier OS, I have a solution for you.

Here are the solutions:

OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

In the latest version of Mac OS X, 10.6 (Snow Leopard), they changed things just a little bit. You now have to drag the second PDF that you are adding to the main PDF and drop it ONTO the first PDF so that the first PDF in the sidebar now has the icon of a spiral folder with an arrow on the right side of it.

Here is the step-by-step:

  1. Open Preview (it comes with Mac OS X; you’ll find it in your Applications folder)
  2. Open the first PDF that you would like to be in this merged PDF file (this should be the first page of the PDF); you can do this by either going to FILE>OPEN when you have the Preview application selected (it will say “Preview” in the upper left corner of your screen), and browse to and open the first PDF OR you can just drag the first PDF down to the dock (where you launch apps from at the bottom of your screen) and drop it onto the “Preview” icon
  3. Once the first PDF is open in Preview, click on the “Sidebar” icon at the top of the Preview window so the sidebar appears
  4. Click on the second PDF that you would like to merge (hold down your clicker so you can drag the PDF) and DROP the second PDF onto the first PDF in the sidebar
  5. After you do this, you should see the icon for the first PDF turn into what looks like a spiral notebook like the one below:
  6. Keep on doing this until you have all of the PDF’s that you want in this merged PDF located in the sidebar
  7. If you want to rearrange any of the PDF’s, simply click on the one that you want to move in the sidebar, and drag and drop it to the desired location
  8. Once you have all of the PDFs in this file in the desired order, go to FILE>SAVE AS, rename the file, and save it
  9. Done!

OS X 10.5 (Leopard)

In Leopard, simply open the PDF that you want to be the first page in Preview (a program that comes with your OS that is the default viewer for PDF’s unless you change it). Then, click on the icon for the sidebar in the upper right section of the window. Once the sidebar opens, simply drag the other PDF files that you want to merge with this one into the sidebar.

And if you want to rearrange the order of them, simply click on (holding the clicker down) the file that you want to move, and then drag it to the new location in the sidebar. There will be a red line that will show you where you will be moving it to.

Very easy!

Update for OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard): In Snow Leopard, it’s a tad bit different. Instead of dragging the PDF(s) that you want to merge and dropping them UNDER the thumbnail in the sidebar of the PDF that you’re merging it with, drop it ON TOP of the thumbnail. Then go to FILE>SAVE AS, name the file, and save it. (Thanks Ben)

OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and earlier

With Tiger and earlier OS X’s, simply download and install a program called Combine PDF’s. You can download it here.

After you download it and install it (double-click on the file that you download; drag the icon for the program that appears in the window into your Applications folder), open it.

Then, either drag the PDF’s you want to merge into the big white box on the left, or click on the “+” button in the bottom left, browse your Mac, and select the PDF file(s) and/or JPEG(s) you want to merge (hold down your open apple/command key to select more than one PDF file and/or jpeg).

After you have all of them, and they are in the correct order (drag them up and down until you have them in the right order), simply click on the “Merge PDF’s” button in the bottom right of the program window and save it to the desired folder.

The Combine PDFs program will only work for 1000 PDF merges. You will then have to buy a license. But I feel that 1000 merges will last the average user for a long time.

Written by Ian Brown
Ian has been involved with computers since very young. He took his first computer class when he was just 8 years old. He always had an affinity for computers, but never really took it seriously. It was not until he graduated from college and experienced the real world for a while did he realize that computers may be where his talent and passion lie. He has since branched out into Internet marketing and LOVES it. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he services clients ranging from residential to small business to celebrities.