June 17, 2024
This comprehensive guide explores six different methods to combine two PDFs, including using Adobe Acrobat, online tools, Preview, Microsoft Word, Google Drive and PDFsam Basic. Learn the step-by-step process for each method, as well as the benefits, drawbacks, and potential limitations. Discover tips and best practices to help you successfully merge your PDFs.

Introduction

Combining two PDFs can be a frustrating and time-consuming task, particularly if you’re not familiar with the various methods available. Fortunately, there are many ways to merge PDF files, from paid software like Adobe Acrobat to free online tools and everything in between. This article will go through six different methods for combining two PDFs, outlining the steps involved and highlighting the benefits, drawbacks, and potential limitations of each approach.

Method 1: Using Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a powerful, paid software package that provides a range of PDF manipulation tools, including the ability to merge multiple PDFs into a single document. To combine two PDFs using Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat on your computer.
  2. Click the “Tools” tab in the top left-hand corner of the window.
  3. Scroll down to “Combine Files” and click on it.
  4. Click the “Add Files” button and select the two PDF files you want to combine.
  5. Once the two files have been added, click the “Combine Files” button.
  6. Save the newly merged PDF document in your desired location.

One of the major benefits of using Adobe Acrobat to combine two PDFs is that it offers a range of customization features, such as the ability to rearrange pages and selectively extract pages from a document. However, Adobe Acrobat is a paid software and may require a subscription that’s out of financial reach for some users. Additionally, Adobe Acrobat can be a resource hog and may run slowly on older computers.

Method 2: Using Online PDF Merger Tools

There are a variety of online tools that can help you merge two PDFs for free without needing to download any software. To use an online PDF merger tool:

  1. Go to a reputable online PDF merger, such as Smallpdf, ilovepdf, or PDF Merge.
  2. Click the “Select Files” button and choose the two PDF documents you want to combine.
  3. Once the files are uploaded, click “Merge” or “Combine” to create a single PDF document.
  4. Download and save the newly merged PDF document to your computer.

The advantages of online PDF merger tools are that they’re incredibly convenient, quick, and completely free. However, some tools may have file size limitations or watermark the combined file. Additionally, users may be concerned about the security and privacy risk of uploading their files to a third-party website.

Method 3: Using Preview on Mac

Mac users can also merge two PDFs using the built-in Preview application, which is included with the operating system. To merge two PDFs with Preview:

  1. Open Preview on your Mac.
  2. Click “File” in the top left-hand corner of the window.
  3. Select “Open” and choose the first PDF document you want to combine.
  4. Select “View” in the top left-hand corner of the Preview window, then click “Thumbnails.”
  5. In the left-hand sidebar, drag the thumbnail of the second PDF document you want to combine into the sidebar of the first PDF document.
  6. Save the newly merged PDF document to your desired location.

The advantage of using Preview on a Mac is that it’s a free and easy-to-use tool that comes pre-installed on Apple computers. However, Preview has limited PDF editing features and may not be able to handle complex or large files very well.

Method 4: Using Microsoft Word

If you have Microsoft Word installed on your computer, you can convert two separate PDFs into Word documents, then merge them within Word. To combine two PDFs using Microsoft Word:

  1. Open Microsoft Word on your computer.
  2. Click “File” in the top left-hand corner of the window.
  3. Select “Open” and choose the first PDF document you want to convert to Word.
  4. Select “OK” when prompted to confirm you want to convert the PDF to Word format.
  5. Repeat the process with the second PDF document you want to convert to Word.
  6. With both Word documents open, select all the content in one document using the “Ctrl+A” keyboard command, then copy it using the “Ctrl+C” command.
  7. Go to the other Word document, place your cursor where you want the first document’s content to appear, then paste the copied content using the “Ctrl+V” command.
  8. Save the newly merged document as a PDF file.

The advantage of using Microsoft Word to combine PDFs is that it’s a tool many users are already familiar with and may have access to. However, the conversion from PDF to Word may not be perfect and may result in formatting errors or inconsistencies.

Method 5: Using Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage and management platform that also offers a range of file manipulation tools, including the ability to merge PDFs. To merge two PDFs using Google Drive:

  1. Go to the Google Drive website and sign in to your account.
  2. Click the “New” button in the top left-hand corner of the window, then select “File upload.”
  3. Select both PDF documents you want to combine from your computer.
  4. Once the files are uploaded, right-click one of them and select “Open with” > “Google Docs.”
  5. With the two PDFs open in separate Google Docs tabs, select all the content in one document using the “Ctrl+A” keyboard command, then copy it using the “Ctrl+C” command.
  6. Switch to the other Google Docs tab and place your cursor where you want the first document’s content to appear, then paste the copied content using the “Ctrl+V” command.
  7. With the content from both documents now appearing in one Google Doc, select “File” > “Download” > “PDF Document” to save the merged PDF file to your computer.

The benefit of using Google Drive to merge PDFs is that it’s completely free and doesn’t require any additional software downloads. However, Google Drive may have upload size limits, and the conversion from PDF to Google Docs format may result in some formatting issues.

Method 6: Using PDFsam Basic

PDFsam Basic is a free, open-source software that enables users to split and merge PDF documents. To combine two PDFs using PDFsam Basic:

  1. Open PDFsam Basic on your computer.
  2. Select “Merge” from the main menu.
  3. Drag and drop the PDF files you want to combine into the bottom half of the PDFsam Basic window.
  4. Click “Run” to begin the merge process.
  5. Select a folder to save the newly merged PDF document and click “Save.”

The advantage of using PDFsam Basic is that it’s a free and open-source tool that doesn’t require internet access to function. However, the interface may be intimidating for novice users, and the application may not handle complex PDF documents very well.

Conclusion

Combining two PDFs can seem like a daunting task, but there are several different ways to do it, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Whether you choose to use Adobe Acrobat for its comprehensive features, a free online tool for its convenience, or one of the other methods discussed here, the process doesn’t have to be a headache. By using the appropriate tools and following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to merge your PDFs quickly and efficiently.

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