Split and Merge PDF files with PDFSam

This article was modified on 2012-06-13 09:24:10

Do you want to split and merge PDF files ? You don`t have to buy a software, there is a free, open-source alternative named PDFSam that works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS.

Short PDFSam Review: This is a life-saver application especially when it comes down to PDF documents. Powered by an easy-to-use and intuitive interface it allows you to: split pdf documents ( in single pages or chapters ), merge pdf documents or their subsections, extract desired sections, mix pages from two pdf documents, rotate and reorder pages etc. Those are only a couple of PDFSam Basic features and most of the people will only need the basic version. If you need to encrypt PDF files, add pdf frontpage, addendum or to extract attachments and other options you will need PDFSam Enhanced which is available in exchange for a donation - any amount.

Quick Introduction: I would like to show you how easy is to use PDFSam. This is not a complete reference or tutorial – more like a quick look over his capabilities. Before I start, you may want to download PDFSam from his homepage. Keep in mind that you need Java installed in order to use this software. If you already have Java installed, download, install the program and open it. It should look like this ( I resized the window ):

As I said, you can manipulate PDF files in many ways but in this article I will show you how to use only two features: Merge-Extract and Split. Let`s start with the first one: Merge-Extract feature. Click on this feature, just like I`ve did in the following image:

Merge, Extract feature

Obviously, I need to add several PDF files, so here`s how to do it: click on ``Add`` button, navigate to the location where you keep your files and select 2 or more of them. In this example I will select only 2. After selection, push the ``Open`` button.

Add PDF files

As you can see, information about the current documents such as file names, path, number of pages can be retrieved by simply looking at PDFSam interface. This information is very useful when you want to create a new PDF file. In this example, my first document has only 2 pages and the second 32 pages. Let`s say that I would like to create a new PDF file that will contain only the first page from the first document and the last page from the other one. In order to obtain this result, I will go to ``Page Selection`` and I will enter 1 in the first document and 32 in the other one.

Change Page Selection
Let`s move on, make sure that you`ve selected ``PDF Documents contains forms`` ( just in case they do ), then select the destination where the new ( merged ) file will be created and when you`re ready click on ``Run`` - the new document should be ready in a couple of seconds depending on the size. I`ve highlighted the steps in this picture:

Steps to follow if you need to use the Merge-Extract feature

Although, I`ve specified a name for the output file ``MY-MERGED-PDF-DOCUMENT.pdf`` the program created ``PDFsamTMPbufferIZGIJ1.pdf``. However, it doesn`t matter as PDFSam did what I wanted: to create a new pdf that would contain only the first and the last page from two different PDF files. I`ve opened the new created file with my favourite PDF Editor - Sumatra PDF and as you can see this is the brand new document that contains only two pages from two different documents.

File created from two different PDF documents
The Merge-Extract feature is easy to use once you get used too. However, if you need to use the Split feature, it`s even easier. Let`s say that we need to split a document that has 32 pages in 32 different pdf documents - each page in one separated file. That`s easy, from the main interface, select ``Split``, ``Add`` a document, select ``Split Options`` that you need, choose destination folder and push the ``Run`` button. I`ve made a picture will all the steps:

Split files with PDFSam

Depending on how many pages you want to split and the size of the PDF documents, it may take more than just a couple of seconds but it will work. Here`s how it looks now, I have 32 new files created - PDFSam extracted the content from each page and put it on a new file.

Result after spliting one PDF file in multiple documents
As you can see, this is an indispensable tool if you work with PDF documents regularly. I just tried to explain what PDFSam is and why we can expect to see a lot more of it in the future. Don`t forget, this fine piece of software has been created and maintained by Andrea Vacondio, so don`t forget to donate for his work.

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