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Merging PDF Files in Mac OS X and A Peek into PDF File Corruption

June 12, 2013 By: abhayjeet Category: Macintosh

merging pdf files in Mac OS

Merging two PDF documents into one ain’t a big deal on Apple computers running any version of Mac OS X. All you need to accomplish this is the default PDF viewer in OS X, i.e. Preview. You can use the quick tip discussed here to combine any two PDF documents and even change the location of pages within a PDF file.

Merging two PDF documents into one

TIP: To merge two PDFs, you need to open the PDF file in Preview, switch to the thumbnail view and then drag and drop the second PDF file (that you want to merge) over the thumbnail of the file currently opened in Preview.

  • First off, double-click one of the two PDF files that you need to merge. This will open the PDF in Preview by default.
  • Navigate to the ‘View’ menu at the top of this window and click ‘Sidebar’ (‘Show Sidebar’ in Snow Leopard). Otherwise, you can use the ‘Shift-Command-D’ key combination to switch to the Thumbnail view. A sidebar is displayed to the right of the window containing the thumbnails of all PDFs opened in Preview.
  • Next, drag and drop the second PDF file over the thumbnail of the currently opened PDF in Preview. This will copy all pages in the second PDF and append them to the first PDF. If you correctly drag the second PDF on the top of the existing PDF, the two files will merge. This is shown by the appearance of double grey border.
    Note: If you are using OS X Leopard, you will see a red line that indicates that the two PDFs are not merged. For Snow Leopard, you will see a blue bar. In OS X Lion, no lines are displayed. For all these versions, you will see a little grey box when the files are successfully merged.
  • Save the merged document using either ‘Save’ or ‘Save As’ option. If you choose ‘Save’, the merged document will be saved over the first PDF opened in Preview. When using ‘Save As’, the existing file will remain intact and the merged document will be saved as a new PDF at your specified location.

You can also choose to open both PDFs in Preview, and then drag and drop the thumbnail of one file over the other to merge.

Alternate Method

In case you have several PDF files to merge, you can follow the given method to merge them into a single PDF document:

  • Open Finder. Locate all the PDFs you need to merge. Select all these PDFs and click to open them all in ‘Preview’.
  • Pick the ‘File’ dropdown, and then pick the ‘Print’ dropdown.
  • In the bottom-left corner of the screen, click the arrow to the right of ‘PDF’.
  • Now, click ‘Save to PDF’. All the opened PDFs will be merged into one PDF document and saved to your specified location.

Issues with PDF Files

PDF files are vulnerable to corruption in the same way as any other file. PDF files may go unnoticed as Acrobat is able to display files that are corrupt or invalid. A PDF file may degrade in quality during transfers or may get corrupt at the time of creation. When a PDF is severely corrupt, you will receive errors like ‘The file is damaged but is being repaired’.

Reasons for PDF Corruption

Bad Downloads
PDF files are long known to suffer from corruption due to bad or interrupted downloads. When connection to the server on which the file is located breaks due to any reason, the download process is interrupted that makes the PDF corrupt. You will get a corrupt PDF file on your system.

Viewing PDF in a Web Browser
If you open a link that contains a PDF in a web browser, you may get to see the corrupt version of the file. This happens because of the plug-ins that web browsers use to view the file. It is better off downloading the file to your system instead of viewing it in the web browser. You can download the document by right-clicking the link and selecting ‘Save Link As’.

Incompatible Program
There are various programs that can create and view PDF files. These programs have their own merits and demerits. It may happen that a program is not compatible with the version of PDF you are trying to open. This could corrupt your document.

There are other factors that cause your PDF files to go corrupt and fail to open even in Adobe Reader. If you come across a similar situation, take help of commercial tools that facilitate easy and convenient Mac PDF file repair.

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