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PDF How-To: Remove Pages, Reorder Pages, and Combine Mutiple Documents

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I was recently helping a colleague prepare for a presentation that included a slideshow, but instead of using a PowerPoint presentation, our designer chose to make a PDF of the presentation. Using a PDF over a PowerPoint has a couple of advantages: The font doesn’t need to be installed on the client machine, so you can use a much wider variety of them, and pretty much any computer can open a PDF, so there’s no need to worry about software versions.

While rehearsing the presentation, however, it became apparent that we were going to need to reorder and remove pages from the document. Turns out this is a very easy procedure in Leopard.

Here’s how to edit PDFs using Preview (Preview is built into Leopard):

  1. Open your PDF with Preview. (It should default to open with Preview, but if not, right-click on the file and select Open With ? Preview)
  2. You should now have a little drawer on the side of your PDF.
    To manipulate the document:

    • Delete a page: Command + Delete
    • Move a page: Click and hold on the page and drag to reorder
    • Add another PDF: Drag the PDF into the sidebar
  3. When you’re done, make sure you save the document. File ? Save As

A Third-Party (slightly more robust) Solution

Before I discovered this method I was using third-party software called Combine PDFs. Combine PDFs let me remove & reorder pages as well as combine multiple PDFs just like Preview, but it also let me add a simple password to protect my PDF files and apply different filters, including one that reduced the PDF size. Combine PDFs is free for the casual user; a license is only required if you use it regularly. Combine PDFs will allow you to test the functionality with processing up to 1,000 PDF pages, which should be fine for most users.

15 Responses to “PDF How-To: Remove Pages, Reorder Pages, and Combine Mutiple Documents”

  1. Unfortunately i do not have mac … I am using windows, but i reached here after my search on google. I wish i have Preview on Windows to do this :) … I continued searching and found a tool called pdf workshop( it reordered my book fair enough.

    Hope that helps the windows’ readers for this helpful post.

  2. Yeah, don’t push Command-Delete on 10.6, because you’ll nuke the whole PDF. Just push Delete.

    It kinda bugs me the way Apple hides various deletion commands from the “right-click” menus, even when the Delete key really does work. I wouldn’t even have to search for this info if they just put it on the damn menu.

  3. I never realized how powerful of a tool Preview could be. It just goes to show that one of the benefits of using Mac OS X is that you get powerful software in addition to the hardware. Getting a PC is cheaper, but Windows simply isn’t as fully featured as OS X.

  4. Hobbes Doo

    That’s pretty cool. It never occurred to me that I could do all that with Preview. Thanks for the article.

    Just a suggestion though, new Mac users may not know what the “Apple Key” is. The new keyboards only have “Command” and no longer the Apple symbol.