How to merge two pdf files in OS X Yosemite


OS X has a built in application that lets you open and read pdf files. It is called Preview. If you click on a pdf file it will automatically open in Preview.

Thankfully with OS X Yosemite (OSX 10.10) it’s really easily merge 2 pdf files with the built in OS X Preview app.

From within preview you can add more pages to the pdf file. When you save the pdf file these extra pages are combined so that all the extra pages are merged with the original pdf.


For older versions of OS X (10.6-10.7) click here.

For OS X 10.9 Mavericks click here.

For newer versions click here.

For OS X Yosemite read on…

Step 1 – Open the first pdf file in Preview. (Double click on a pdf file to open it.)

Step 2 – Add in the extra pages.

There are 2 ways to do this.

1. Select “Edit” then “Insert page from file” from the menu. It will prompt you to select a file, it can be a pdf or an image such as a jpg. It will put the new file after the currently selected page of the pdf file.

insert from file
You can insert a file to any pdf document from the Edit menu!


2. Alternatively, you can open the ‘thumbnail view’ on the first pdf file, then drag a pdf file from the desktop into the thumbnail draw where you want it. To open the thumbnail go to the “View” menu then “Thumbnails” and it will open a drawer with a preview of every page on it. These previews are called thumbnails.

The thumbnails drawer shows you a small preview of each page. You can drag pdf files into this draw to add them to your document.


Step 3 – Save the pdf file.

– Select File: Save from the menu.

– If that does not work  select ‘Print’ and then select ‘Save to PDF’ to save the documents to a new pdf file.


  • These instructions are written for OS X Yosemite and Preview version 8. To see which version of Preview you have just go to the menu item ‘Preview: About Preview’ and it will show you what version you have.
  • To make a new pdf so that you don’t change the original one use ‘Duplicate’ then add the extra pages then ‘Save’.
  • To copy only one page across open the second pdf in thumbnail view and drag just one page across.
  • This does not work with protected pdf files. (Protected pdf files are not common.) If a pdf file has been locked by the author you cannot change it without a password.
  •  It’s a little more complicated on older versions of OSX (eg Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion) because the exact location that you drop the new pdf makes a difference – see this post for how to merge pdf files in Leopard, Snow Leopard or Lion (10.5,10.6 and  10.7)

If you are having problems you might like to try to ‘Print to pdf’ from Preview. Click here to read about that.


10 responses to “How to merge two pdf files in OS X Yosemite”

  1. Pisk

    It does not save the combined pages.

    1. allison

      I experienced the same issue. I cannot seem to save the combine pages.

      1. Print, then ‘save to pdf’ is the failsafe way.

  2. Same here, it only saves the first document, not any others that have been added. If I open them all at once so that they’re ‘combined’ there is no way to Export Selected Documents or Save or Rename or Move to that will save one document with all the ‘sub’ documents inside.

    1. ‘Print’ then bottom left: ‘save to pdf’.

  3. Lance

    I could KISS you!! Thanks for showing me how to do this. I used the first version (Edit/Insert Page etc) and then Save to PDF (via the print option). Works an absolute treat. And to think I was about to purchase some software online …

  4. Brad

    Unfortunately, the Print > Save as PDF doesn’t work if your images are larger than whatever maximum size your printer accepts. My large illustrations were downsized to fit onto an imaginary 8.5×11… with no way to keep it at the original size.

    1. Interesting, I didn’t realise that!
      I personally prefer and use the other method – merging the files properly and then saving them, rather than sending them through the printing process.

  5. RGS

    Totally Mickey Mouse. What a hassle.

  6. BH

    Thanks very much.
    This worked for me! I’d been trying the thumbnail method, and it would not work.
    I’m using Yosemite 10.10.5 and Preview 8.0

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