How to Combine PDF Files into One PDF File

By John Mitchell

Combining multiple Portable Document Format, or PDF, files into one PDF file is helpful when you need all that information in a single document. You cannot combine PDFs with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program, but you can if you own a legal copy of Acrobat Professional or Standard. Adobe has made the PDF merger process incredibly simple, and it only takes a few seconds to complete. Alternatively, you can use free online tools or desktop software to complete the same task.

Adobe Acrobat

Step 1

Launch Adobe Acrobat from your desktop or programs menu.

Step 2

Click the "Combine Files into PDF" option from the program splash screen. Alternatively, you can click the "Create" button on the top navigation bar and select "Combine Files into a Single PDF."

Step 3

Open the Windows Explorer program and find the PDFs you want to combine. It is best that all the files are located in the same directory.

Step 4

Hold down the "Ctrl" key and click the PDF files you need. Drag the selected files into the Adobe Acrobat Combine Files dialog box. Click the "Combine Files" button. Acrobat shows the combined PDF when finished.

Step 5

Go to the "File" menu and click "Save" or "Save As." Name the file and click "Save."

Free Online Tools

Step 1

Go to the website for a free online PDF merger tool, such as MergePDF.net or PDFJoin.com.

Step 2

Select the files you want to upload. This process may slightly vary, depending on the free online tool you picked. Normally, you click a button and a dialog box appears, letting you navigate and locate the PDF files. On the other hand, sites like PDFJoin.com make you upload each file separately.

Step 3

Click the "Merge," "Combine" or "Join" button. The files are uploaded to the website's server and processed. Once finished, the site provides a download link on the screen, or in some cases, may email you a link.

Free Desktop Software

Step 1

Go to the website of the free desktop software you want to install. Microsoft Windows users can download PDF Combine, A-PDF Merger or a similar software program.

Step 2

Download and install the software, following all on-screen steps and confirming prompts as necessary.

Step 3

Launch the software program from your computer.

Step 4

Click the "Add" button. Sometimes programs label the button differently. Regardless, after clicking the button, you need to locate the files on your hard drive. Click the "Open" button on the Windows dialog box.

Step 5

Click the "Merge" or "Combine" button to join the selected files together. On a personal computer, rather than a Web server, the processing time is much shorter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some freeware programs let you rearrange the order of the added PDF files. This is convenient if you change your mind about how you want to structure the outputted PDF. If you want this feature, look for it in the feature list of potential software programs you're considering.
  • Some PDF merger tools, both online and offline, let you add non-PDF files, such as JPEG, GIF, PNG, DOC and PPT files. If you need this functionality, make sure you look for it on the developer's website.