One PDF to rule them all
May 2, 2006 1:34 AM   Subscribe

My g/f has printed a lengthy document for her university. Great! Now she needs to also send it as one PDF file. And there goes the question...

Trouble is, she used two (maybe more?) Word files for the whole study : a big one for the text itself, one for the bibliography - and maybe one more for miscelanies... Still, she needs to gather all these into one (1) PDF file. Is that even doable (for free) ? If so, how ?

Thank you for any helping knowledge, dear AskMe people.
posted by XiBe to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
Are you using windows? If so, install Ghostscript and follow these instructions. I'm sure there are other tools out there.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 2:06 AM on May 2, 2006

Copy all the content into one Word file, then select print. Select "Adobe PDF" as your printer. That will export a PDF. I'm working with Word for OS X, so I don't know if things are different with other OS's.
posted by brundlefly at 2:11 AM on May 2, 2006

I would use cutepdf.
posted by madajb at 2:35 AM on May 2, 2006

If she's on a Mac, there are two ways to do this:

a) This downloadable Automator action for OS X Tiger which will combine whatever PDFs you wish, or

b) If she doesn't have Tiger, PDFlab should do the job. Even if it is a bit clunky (it combined my PDFs fine, despite returning an error message).

Both of these are free, by the way.
posted by macdara at 2:39 AM on May 2, 2006

Am I reading this wrong, or are you trying to combine multiple Word documents into one PDF? Seems to me that a simple copy, paste, print is all that you need.
posted by brundlefly at 2:53 AM on May 2, 2006

Yes, it's do-able - just ctrl-a in whatever files she wants to attach to the main doc, ctrl-v in the main doc, repeat until all files are in one Word file, in the order she wants them in. Save this big file under another name. Use PDF995 (or similar) or the PDF creator in to make a big PDF out of this doc.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:02 AM on May 2, 2006

Yes, can you tell us if there is a particular reason why she can't just combine the documents? Even if there are some difficult formatting issues once combined it should be reasonably easy to sort out since it's a university paper.
posted by keijo at 3:25 AM on May 2, 2006

Very rarely will copy and paste from one Word document to another preserve the look of the copied document. Page numbering, styles, margins, drawings, fields, and so on are all liable to either go missing or to adopt the look of the destination document, which is not always what you want and needs fiddling/battling with Word to cure, which perhaps wouldn't be too terrible with just a bibliography. Plus Word is traditionally flaky with large documents. Make pdfs then concatenate them, I suggest.
posted by cogat at 3:42 AM on May 2, 2006

Download a trial version of Acrobat 7 from Adobe website. The software has amazing PDF combining features.
posted by labnol at 3:45 AM on May 2, 2006

Seconding CutePDF. It creates a virtual PDF printer. Print Doc1 to the CutePDF "printer". Then do the same for Doc2. [and so forth] Then save the result as one PDF file.
posted by megatherium at 5:05 AM on May 2, 2006

ill second open office i have used the PDF export a few times.

although im not sure pasting it all into open office will retain your exact formatting.

but at least its costs nothing but a little time to test it
posted by moochoo at 5:53 AM on May 2, 2006

Even in Adobe Reader, there's a way to move or insert pages from one pdf into another - I think you can just copy and paste. Make both docs into pdfs, and try inserting one into the other.
I use to convert ("Export") to pdf.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 7:13 AM on May 2, 2006

This is not helpful, because I don't know how they did it, but YES it's possible. Even from multiple types of documents. My supervisor made my word file + 5 Illlustrator files into ONE PDF file right before my eyes. It was using Adobe Acrobat, but I don't know exactly how. But it can definately merge multiple documents.
posted by easternblot at 7:40 AM on May 2, 2006

If you're using Acrobat, go to "Document" then "Insert Pages". Select the file you want to insert at the end of the open document, and voila. Instant pages inserted. :) You can even choose a range of pages if you don't want to insert the entire document.
posted by cass at 8:12 AM on May 2, 2006

You need the full version of Adobe Acrobat to combine PDF files. As noted already, Acrobat 7 Professional is available as a 30-day-trial download from the Adobe site.


There are almost certainly other tools on the market that will let you combine PDF files, but if you need to work with PDFs a lot, a copy of Acrobat Standard (Pro isn't required for most people) is a very worthwhile investment.
posted by enrevanche at 10:35 AM on May 2, 2006

Just another shout-out for Acrobat Standard - bought as a student for $100, it was probably my best software investment ever.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:24 AM on May 3, 2006

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