Merge PDF files from different sources into a single one has long become less of a problem: Nowadays you can do it easily not only using specific software such as InDesign or Acrobat, there are also several websites that offer this functionality, such as the excellent I love Pdf.
In this post, we will see how to merge several pdfs into one.
Merge PDF files in Adobe InDesign
In the life of any layout designer or designer, it often happens that the client sends a multi-page PDF that must be placed in a certain part of the catalog we are designing, so how do we do it?
Here imagination plays an important role because we can think of a very obvious solution at first: separate all the pages of the PDF one by one and make different files for each page we want to place, then we go and place them in the InDesign layout where we want them, one by one or in bulk, this is up to you… but this is really a lot of work.
If the PDF you have to place only contains 4 pages, you hardly notice it…, but if it has 64…. we are not going to like having to spend so much time for something that we are sure can be done in a different and more automatic way.
And the truth is that yes, it can be done in a much more direct way and it works very well. For those of you who don’t know it, this tutorial will help you a lot, for those of you who do, I hope it can clear up any doubts you may have.
In practice, we can say that there are two main methods to automatically place multipage PDFs in a document.
Using the InDesign menu itself, File > Place…
When clicking on it we have to activate the option of the drop-down box with the text “Show import options“. By activating this option what it allows us is that when choosing the multipage PDF it lets us choose the specific way of importing the document: only one page, all pages, only a range, etc…
Merge PDF online
How many times have you needed to combine multiple PDFs into one and didn’t have the tools to do it?
Well, you just need internet and an email, here are several pages in which, in addition to merging pdf into one document, you can perform all kinds of conversions between formats and other operations on your pdf files.
i Love PDF
Merge multiple PDF files into a single document or split a PDF document into different documents using i Love PDF. Choose the option and follow the links to upload and convert your files.
When you’re done, click the download link to open and save the files on your computer. There is a premium option for this tool, but most of the functions are free. The FREE option allows a total of 80 MB for all uploaded PDFs.
Based in Barcelona, i Love PDF has been offering and improving its PDF tools for over a decade. They have many tools on their platform. Consumers can use them to edit PDFs online and then export them in some of the most popular formats.
The list of available tools on i Love PDF with all plans includes:
- Merge, split, compress, delete, extract, and organize.
- Organize, rotate, add page numbers, watermark.
- Convert to PDF from Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and vice versa.
- From PDF to JPG and vice versa.
- Unlock, protect, and repair PDFs.
One of the significant advantages of using the i Love PDF editor is that it’s easy to use and navigate. It allows you to dive deep into its interface, and can be used on a daily basis.
Before we start, we want to make it clear that i Love PDF is not a complete PDF editing platform. So don’t expect to be able to edit text, copy images, or add a new page, etc.
To merge PDFs with I love pdf, we will proceed similarly to the previous case:
Finally, we can download the PDF, save it in Drive or Dropbox, and we also have the option to share the download link (very practical):
I love pdf allows you to perform many other operations on PDFs, among which we have found the inclusion of page numbers and “watermarks” to be particularly interesting:
Page numbers: Well, this option adds pagination to your PDFs. You can choose the position, dimensions, format, and typography of the numbering.
Watermark: This interesting option allows you to insert a watermark into your PDFs. You can choose text or image type marks, and in both cases, you can specify different degrees of transparency, position and to which pages you want to apply the watermark..
This page is free and allows you to merge up to 20 PDF files,
In addition to being able to convert to/from the most common formats, there are many other websites that allow you to perform specific operations such as converting from jpg to pdf, from Word to pdf and vice versa, or performing small operations on files, such as rotating pdfs.
However, we can also find other more complete websites on the Internet that group several utilities around PDF files, becoming a possible online alternative to some Acrobat functions and best of all, they are free, which of course makes them more interesting.
Smallpdf brings together on a single page the operations you most frequently need to perform when handling PDF files.
Through a simple and visual interface, you can make all the “round trips” you need between PDF and… Powerpoint, Excel, JPG or Word. But Smallpdf is not just a file format converter; you can also do things like:
- Merge several PDFs into one
- Split a PDF into several
- Rotate your PDFs
- Protect and unprotect them
The page is super simple to use. For example, if you want to merge PDFs, click on “Merge PDF” and you’ll see this box:
The files you are going to work with can be on your computer or stored in your Dropbox or Google Drive account.
Here is a preview of the files you have uploaded (if you are in “File mode”) or of all pages of your pdf (in “Page mode”):
From the “Page mode” option you can rearrange the pages just by dragging them:
To merge the different PDFs, simply click on “Merge PDF”.
Then, you just have to download the modified file:
Great, isn’t it? But of course, if you want to do more things, keep in mind that it is a free tool and therefore it has some limitations…
All in all, a good choice if what you need is to merge PDFs or perform any type of operation with these types of files… and without having to pay.
Merge PDF with the PlaceMultipagePDF script in Adobe InDesign
The basic idea is to use a script in InDesign. This script is a kind of program that runs as a plugin and allows us to place all the pages of a PDF at once, starting from the InDesign page you need and in an orderly manner.
Here is the link to download the script. [Download script]
To install the plugin, simply unzip the downloaded ZIP folder, take the “PlaceMultipagePDF.jsx” file and save it in the following path:
First, it will ask you to select the PDF to import and then in which document and page number it has to start doing it, it’s as simple as that.
In the end, you will see that either of the above methods is fast and useful, making the task easier as we have already mentioned.
Join PDFs with Adobe Acrobat
We move on to explaining how to merge multiple PDF files into a single document using Adobe Acrobat.
The first thing to do is to open Acrobat and go to File > Create PDF > Combine Files into a Single PDF. Or we can also go to File > Combine > Combine Files into a Single PDF. The effect is the same. Acrobat automatically orders the documents alphabetically.
From the window that appears, we can select all the individual files that we want to merge (either from different sources or from specific folders).
At the bottom of this window, we will find all the buttons that allow us to order the documents as we want, or even select only certain pages from the files we want to include.
By selecting a document from those we have added, we can move it up or down by changing its order through the green arrows on the left. In our case, the “b” document does not follow the desired order (because I have moved it to serve as an example), so we will order it to go behind the “abc” document as I have commented.
Similarly, in this area we can also indicate the “size/quality” of the PDF we want to obtain. This “size/quality” should be understood as the default settings offered by Acrobat: smallest file size, default file size, and/or largest file size.
Therefore, and since I assume that our PDF will be intended for printing, we must choose “largest file size”.
Once we have chosen the necessary options to create our new document, we will click “combine files”. This button will open a window where we must name the new document and choose the type of PDF we want to generate (in our case, it will be at least PDF/X-1a).
This post has explained the combination of files when they are alphabetically named, but:
What if the order/name of my files is numeric?
Well, if there are few files, we combine them, sort them equally, and that’s it.
But if we have a large number of files and want to avoid having to sort them by hand, the files’ names should be “logical” for the computer.
Thus, if the number of files does not reach a thousand, the solution is as simple as placing two zeros in front of the first number in the units, one zero in front of the tens, and leaving the hundreds as they are, since your document does not reach a thousand pages. If it did, we would name it by adding three zeros to the units, two zeros to the tens, and one zero to the hundreds.
Example of how the files should NOT be named:
Since Acrobat will automatically order them like this (and therefore we would have to manually order the files through Acrobat):
Example of how the files should be named to avoid having to order them manually:
Thus, Acrobat will automatically “grab” them in an orderly manner as shown in the following screenshot:
When we have to “sort” the files, it is advisable to do so from the beginning by assigning correct names to them to avoid problems later.
Another thing is that the files are many, or that they are provided to us by someone else and are already poorly named and there are many of them…
You can also do it from Bridge from the Tools menu > Rename Batch
Merge PDFs with the Gelatin utility
There is a tool that we think it is important for you to know that exists and that can also serve as a complement for when you have to work with multipage PDF, and it is a tool to automatically join several PDF files.
That is, it may be that the client has sent you 3 PDF files of a set of pages that you also have to place in an InDesign layout, well, to do this you can also use a tool that automates it, which works very well and is also free, it’s called “Gelatin” [download program here].
This program is very simple to use, when you open it, a window like the one shown below opens:
Then it is as simple as selecting in which order you want the pages of all the PDFs you are going to join to appear, and dragging them to this window. It will automatically create a new multi-page PDF with the combination of all the pages from the files you have dragged, in the order you have selected the PDFs. Very useful.