How to Combine PDF Files (With Steps, Benefits and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many professionals interact with PDF files regularly. These files can preserve information while also making it easy to share content with others electronically, since their file type is compatible with a wide range of devices, operating systems and file reading programs. Learning about strategies for working with PDFs, such as how to combine them into a single file, can make them even more efficient to use in your daily work duties. In this article, we outline how to combine PDF files for different operating systems, discuss the benefits of combining PDFs and provide tips for merging documents into PDFs.

How to combine PDF files on macOS

Use these steps to combine PDF files on macOS:

1. Update your macOS if you're not using the most current version

Current Mac operating systems usually include all the tools you need for combining PDF files, but some earlier macOS versions may not have these functions. Consider updating to a newer operating system to access all the functions of macOS. You can update your operating system through your online account. Updating may take time, so consider checking your operating system's tools as soon as possible to ensure you're able to merge PDFs quickly when needed.

2. Use the macOS Finder

The macOS Finder is a tool that allows you to locate your files easily. Finder opens when you start a Mac computer and stays active while you're using your computer. You can access it by clicking the smiling face icon on your bottom toolbar. If needed, you can also restart your Finder by holding down the "Option" key to launch the macOS Dock, selecting the Finder by pressing "Control" and clicking on it and selecting "Relaunch."

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3. Select the files you wish to merge

In the macOS Finder, select the files you want to merge into one PDF by holding down the "Command" key and clicking the files. The files appear in the combined PDF in the order you click them. After you've selected the files, right-click to open a menu and then choose "Quick Actions," followed by "Create PDF." This creates a new PDF with the same name as the first PDF you selected to merge. You can change the name of your new PDF by holding the "Control" button and clicking on the file, then selecting "Rename."

How to combine PDF files on Windows

When combining PDFs on Windows, you can follow these steps:

1. Choose and download a PDF program

If you're using a PC with an operating system like Windows, the first step to combining PDFs is to find a third-party application, plug-in or software that fits your needs. There's a wide range of software available that allows you to merge PDFs for free or require a subscription. The software you choose depends on how often you plan to combine PDFs and whether you want other tools included in the software, like the ability to edit PDFs or add an online signature to them.

2. Select the PDFs you wish to combine

Once you've downloaded your preferred software, app or browser plug-in, you can open it and select the PDFs you want to combine. Programs that combine PDFs usually request access to your file manager, allowing you to select any file you have stored on your PC. Some applications work directly in the browser and allow you to drag and drop a file into a specified area. These browser converters may either automatically download the combined file onto your computer or provide a "Download" button. These tools also allow you to upload PDFs from a cloud drive or email inbox.

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3. Combine the PDFs

After you've selected the PDFs you want to combine, you can follow the program prompts to combine them. Depending on the program you're using, it may prompt you to select your preferred output file format because some PDF combination programs allow you to convert files into a wide range of formats, including .jpg and .docx. The program creates a new file, which you can save on your PC or cloud drive. To rename your PDF, right-click on the file and select "Rename."

Tips for combining PDF files

To combine PDF files even more efficiently, try using some of these tips:

Dedicate a folder on your computer for PDFs you wish to combine

Consider creating a folder on your computer to store all the PDFs you plan to combine. For example, if you recently started a new project, create a folder on your computer where you can save all documents related to the project. This makes it easy to access your files as needed and you can easily see which files are required to be combined.

Name your PDF folder clearly

If you create a folder for documents to combine into a PDF, ensure to give it a unique and easily identifiable name. You can create separate folders for different projects or for specific tasks related to a larger project. For example, you can name your PDF file with the title of the project and the date range for the documents saved to the file.

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Create standardised PDF packages for your team

Depending on the work processes of your workplace, you may create PDF packages to share with team members. If you use PDF files to store all your documents for a project, it may also benefit your team if you share those files with them. Giving everyone on your team access to the same files can help make the collaboration process more efficient. When everyone has equal access to the most important information for their work, they may be more productive and can better communicate amongst the team.

Benefits of combining PDF files

Combining PDF files can have several advantages. Here are some ways that combining PDFs can benefit you:

Better organisation

Taking the time to combine your PDF files can help you manage your documents more effectively. Compiling important documents into a single file can make it easier to find and access the information you need. For example, if you're a project manager overseeing several projects at once, managing your files and organising by project can be helpful. You may combine all documents from a given project into a single PDF file so they're easy to access in one location. This also keeps your projects separate to avoid overlap and unnecessary confusion.

Easier sharing

It can also be easier to work with and share information when you merge files into a single PDF. Instead of opening or attaching multiple documents to work with or send in an email, combining all the required documents into a single file makes the information easier to manage and share. For example, if you're sending a report to your supervisor, you may combine all the documents you worked on throughout the day into a single PDF file. Sending all the information in one document makes it easier for recipients to open, read, save and manage the data.

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Faster printing

Converting one or more documents into a PDF is a good option if you're trying to print all of those documents. PDF files are more static than some other file types, meaning that they're more likely to print exactly as they're displayed on your computer screen. If you combine your documents into a PDF, it can both ensure your documents print as intended and make printing more efficient. Instead of opening multiple separate documents and printing each, you can just open the single PDF file and print it.

Improves compatibility

Merging related documents into a PDF file ensures that you have access to all the information you need as long as the device you're using has a PDF file reader. When you combine your files into a PDF, it converts your documents to the PDF file format. Since some file formats may not be compatible with all devices, software or operating systems, converting everything into a PDF ensures different users can access files regardless of what device they're using. This is helpful if your team is accessing documents on multiple devices.

Increases computer space

Keeping multiple files may take up more computer space than storing multiple documents in a single file. A PDF can especially save space on your computer if you compile documents that have graphs, charts, images, tables and other types of non-textual content. These visuals often take up more space in other file formats.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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