How to Merge PDF Files Without Acrobat

In this handy guide, we've shared how to merge PDF files without Acrobat, so you can avoid spending unnecessary money on software. Unfortunately, Adobe Reader (i.e. the free version of Acrobat) doesn't allow you to add new pages to a PDF, but there are a few third-party options. 

Alternative PDF Software
With a simple Google search, you can find a variety of free PDF applications that have similar functionality as Adobe products. Not all of them are reputable, so we recommend using one of these two options:

  • PDFsam: This open source program runs on all major operating systems, allowing you to merge PDF files, interactive forms, bookmarks, and more. 
  • PDFill PDF Tools: This no-frills program allows you to merge files, reorder pages, and format multiple pages at once.  

Browser-Based PDF Services
For even more convenience, you can use an online PDF service and avoid downloading software entirely. Sites like PDF Merge, PDF Joiner, and I Love PDF have free and easy merge tools. Simply upload two (or more) PDF files to the site, press "Merge" (or a similar term), and you'll be presented with a download link to your newly merged PDF. 

Millions of users rely on these browser-based services every month, and most of them have a security policy for deleting your files, so they're safe for everyday use. It's probably not the best option for a confidential report, though.

Merging PDFs in Apple Preview (Mac Only)
Hold the Command key and click on multiple PDF files to select them. Then, right-click on any of the selected files and choose "Open With…" > "Preview". You can also drag the selected PDF files onto the Preview icon.

With your PDFs loaded into Preview, click the "Sidebar" button in the top right corner to see a full list of the files. If you need to rearrange the page order before merging, just click and drag on the icons in the sidebar. To add more PDFs to the sequence, just drag a new file onto the sidebar. When you're ready to merge the PDF group as a new file, choose "File" > "Save As" and give your new PDF a name. 

Once you've learned how to merge PDF files without Acrobat, you may find that these methods are easier than the traditional route. Everyone has different needs, so find out what makes sense for your workflow and operating system.

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