Free/cheap PDF editor that can do one specific task
January 31, 2020 5:15 AM   Subscribe

With Preview on a Mac, I can easily drag thumbnail pages on the left-hand side of the screen into a different order. I can also drag pages from one PDF into another PDF. I need to be able to do this on a PC right now, and the PDF viewers I have don't let me do this. What is the cheapest, most pleasant option?
posted by cincinnatus c to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried SmallPDF?

In order to drag pages between PDFs, I think you would first have to combine the documents, and then rearrange the pages.
posted by Guess What at 5:32 AM on January 31, 2020

Forgot to mention, small PDF is a web-based editor. And it's free for several uses, I think eventually you do need to pay though.
posted by Guess What at 5:33 AM on January 31, 2020

Best answer:

It looks very old school but we use it every week to compile multiple financial reports to a single PDF.
posted by sol at 6:31 AM on January 31, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure if this will help, but here goes. There's an online program called PDFcandy ( that has many features and it's free. Maybe you can find something within it.
posted by ydaltak at 9:40 AM on January 31, 2020

Response by poster: worked for me... the web version wouldn't process files larger than 5MB, but the downloadable version did everything I needed - and I like the old school interface.

SmallPDF let me do a couple of files before nagging me to sign up for a free trial, which I couldn't be bothered with. I didn't get a chance to try PDFcandy, but I may give it a go some time.
posted by cincinnatus c at 9:56 AM on January 31, 2020

Best answer: How about using Google Docs and DocHub?
posted by golden at 10:36 AM on January 31, 2020

Sounds like you solved your problem, but I wanted to add that I recently discovered almost by accident that LibreOffice Impress will let you edit multi-page PDFs.
posted by amandabee at 12:33 PM on January 31, 2020

Response by poster: How about using Google Docs and DocHub?

Looks good. A quick go on this and it does reordering and deleting pages beautifully - as good as Preview if not better. I can't open different documents and drag pages from one to the other, but then nor does best answer so far – I had to compromise on these things to get that working. It merges PDFs fine, so it wouldn't be unpleasant to just drag things into place and then maybe delete the leftovers, but that's not as efficient. My work is over, so I can't test to the stage that I can tell if this tool would stop working after a few goes.
posted by cincinnatus c at 4:45 PM on January 31, 2020

Another thing maybe... PDFtk - The PDF Toolkit. I use the command line version so say removing page 13 goes like: pdftk A=in1.pdf cat A1-12 A14-end output out1.pdf. It can shuffle, splice, delete, rotate, join, etc. multiple pdfs however you like. The GUI might be more obvious than the command line.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:23 PM on January 31, 2020

posted by tarvuz at 2:26 PM on February 1, 2020

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