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April 29, 2007 7:48 PM   Subscribe

How do I take 5 pdf files and combine them into one file without Acrobat?

I often print, sign and scan contracts and then convert to pdf from the print dialogue on my Mac. Problem is that it's a pain to email individual pdf pages for a single contract.

Is there a way to convert several scanned pdf pages to a single document without dropping the money for Acrobat?
posted by photoslob to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty sure you can do this in Preview. Open all five as separate documents, then drag the pages into one single preview window, then save.
posted by mathowie at 7:54 PM on April 29, 2007

Best answer: Combine PDFs does that for free.
posted by Steve3 at 7:54 PM on April 29, 2007

How about the PDFLab? Free, but donations are encouraged.
posted by RichardP at 7:55 PM on April 29, 2007

You don't even need to download a thing, assuming you are running OS 10.4 and you haven't deleted or uninstalled Apple's Automator.

You won't actually use Automator, though, just a little Python program that Apple helpfully gives you (albeit buried in Automator's files -- if I were you, I'd copy it to somewhere more convenient.)

Here's the syntax:
$ python '/System/Library/Automator/Combine PDF Pages.action/Contents/Resources/join.py' -o '/path/to/output.pdf' '/path/to/input1.pdf' '/path/to/input2.pdf'

Personally, I just copied and renamed the original "join.py" file to "PDFjoin.py" and stuck it in a new folder called "bin" inside my user folder (so it can be easily found by typing ~/bin/PDFjoin.py, or just typing ~/bin/P and pressing tab). Then just specify an outfile, and drag the files you want to join, one after the other, into the Terminal window (it will add them to the command as an absolute path), then press enter. The little script will chew through them and spit out your joined file.

So if you do as I recommend, and copy it to a new folder called "bin", you just need to type:

$ ~/bin/PDFjoin.py -o outfile.pdf oneinputfile.pdf anotherone.pdf

(If you add ~/bin to your shell's PATH it's even easier, but that's a separate question.)

Credit for this goes to macoshints.com
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:18 PM on April 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

If I recall correctly, simply drag and drop.
posted by zardoz at 12:31 AM on April 30, 2007

I have, on many occasions, opened multiple documents in Preview and they’ve become a single document. After trying several methods, many of them nonobvious, I can’t reproduce it now.

Kadin’s suggestion of essentially programming your own solution illustrates all that is wrong with Macs under OS X. If we wanted to do that, we’d use DOS.
posted by joeclark at 5:59 AM on May 1, 2007

PDFtk works very well for me, though it is a command line tool.
posted by JHarris at 6:51 PM on May 1, 2007

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