TUCOWS ARTICLE

How To Merge, Split, and Manipulate PDF Files With PDFill PDF Tools

PDF files are great for sharing and printing documents, but they're not as easy to manipulate as, say, plain old Microsoft Word files. With the help of some free software, though, there's a lot more you can do with them.
Published: May 1, 2008
Author: Jordan Running
Related OS: Windows

PDF files are slowly becoming the de-facto standard for sending documents online. But while there are free tools for creating PDF files (CutePDF Writer is my favorite), free software for manipulating existing PDFs can still be hard to find. One task I find myself doing frequently is merging several PDF documents into a single one, or splitting a single PDF into several files. For that I use PDFill PDF Tools. It's a free for unlimited personal and commercial use, but you can only get it bundled with the trial version of the $19.99 PDFill PDF Editor. If you find the PDF Editor useful, you might consider buying it, but if not simply ignore it and use PDF Tools by itself which, as I mentioned, is free for unlimited use and doesn't have any nag screens or other limitations.

So let's get started. Install PDFill and then launch "PDFill PDF Tools (FREE)" from you Start menu.

Merging PDF files with PDFill PDF Tools

PDFill PDF Tools is nice and easy to use. From the initial screen simply pick the tast you want to perform. To start with we'll merge a couple PDF files into one. As an example, say you got your credit reports--for free--from two different agencies and saved them as PDF files, as I did recently, and want to join them into a single one. Click on "1. Merge PDF Ffiles" on the PDF Tools main screen to begin. Now add your PDF files to the list by clicking on Add PDF Files and selecting the files you want to merge. To select multiple files at once you can use your Ctrl and Shift keys (which I describe in my Keyboard Shortcuts 101 guide), or you can just click Add PDF Files for each.

PDFill PDF Tools - Merge

Once you've added all of your files to the list you can change their order using the Move Up and Move Down buttons. When you're happy with the order, click on Save As... and give your merged file a name. I recommend checking to make sure the resulting file works--just in case--before you delete the original documents, or not deleting the originals at all.

Splitting and Reordering PDF Pages

PDFill PDF Tools also lets you split a PDF document into multiple PDF files, or change the order of its pages. From the main screen, click on "2. Split or Reorder PDF Pages." Immediately you'll be prompted to choose the file you want to manipulate. Unforunately, PDF Tools doesn't have a very graphical interface for this--you can't see the pages themselves; instead, you'll have to open the document in Adobe Reader, find the pages you want to split or reorder, and then enter their page numbers into PDF Tools. The software doesn't actually split the document into two files; rather, it merely takes the page numbers you enter and extracts those pages into a second document. So if you want to split a document into two separate ones--say, pages 1 through 5 and 6 through 10, you'll have to first enter 1 in the first box and 5 in the second and click Save As to save the first file, then enter 6 and 10 and Save As again.

PDFill PDF Tools - Split

If you have a PDF whose pages are in the wrong order, on this screen simply choose Reorder Pages and enter the page numbers in their new order, as shown in the example. If you want to do more complex operations, free tools like PDF Split and Merge can save you many steps, but are less user-friendly.

Other Operations

These are the two things I use PDFill PDF Tools for most often, but in fact it has many other operations, as you can see on its main menu. You can rotate or crop PDF files, change their security options, add headers and footers (with page numbers), merge multiple pages into a single one, add text or image watermarks, convert PDFs to images and vice versa, and more. While I don't need these operations very often, occasionally I do and PDF Tools always comes to the rescue.


About Jordan Running

Blogger since 1999, Jordan Running went pro in 2005 and never looked back. Sometimes programmer, occasional photographer, and serial tinkerer, he decided to to switch to Linux in 2001 but just hasn't quite gotten around to it yet.

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