How to Combine and Merge PDFs — Complete Tutorial

There are numerous reasons why you might want to combine multiple PDF documents into one:

  • Save on storage space
  • Organize your work better
  • Reduce document cluttering
  • Password protect a single PDF instead of 20 of them
  • Put together a report from different sources

Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain: merging PDF is a good trick to have in your bag for any future document-related work. PDF is here to stay, as it has been for over 20 years.

The big question is, what is the easiest way of combining PDF documents and how much does that cost?

To answer your question, we prepared a comprehensive tutorial on some of the most efficient ways of merging PDF, as well as the tools that we used. We’re leaving the exact choice to you. Let’s take a look.

Merging PDF on Your Desktop

The first thing that comes to most people’s mind when it comes to this is to use a PDF merging software to combine documents. This is really smart and let me tell you why.

In the age of data breaches and low document security, it’s good to try and keep everything local. Document writing, management, conversion and other mandatory work (such as merging) can all be done from the comfort of your desktop, without requiring an Internet connection.

Not just that, but you’ll also be able to manage PDFs of all sizes, from smaller ones that weigh in at just around several KB to the gigantic 100 MB, 300 page documents. Let’s see how you can combine two PDFs on your desktop.

1) Open the first document in Able2Extract. Don’t worry, you can download the software as a 7 day free trial.

Opening PDF In Able2Extract

2) Click on “Edit” and then “Insert from PDF”.

Inserting PDF Pages

3) Select the other PDF document from the pop up and click Open. Specify where you’d like to insert (merge) that new PDF. Click Insert and job done!

Merging PDF Documents

How to Merge PDF Documents Online

Desktop tools are great for for merging classified, larger PDF documents, but what about a quick way to combine smaller files for let’s say emailing purposes? This is where you can resort to online tools for PDF to help you merge PDF quickly and effortlessly.

Online PDF merging tools all have, somewhat, similar characteristics. They are particularly good for smaller and non-classified PDFs, which make the bulk of most people’s documents. However, they do have some downsides, most commonly:

  • They usually have file size limitations. For example, you can upload files up to 5 MB for free and pay for larger files. However, this depends on the individual tool.
  • Lower document security. Every online tool depends on you uploading the file to the company’s servers, which means it kind of gets out of your hands.
  • Workflow is slower. Since everything operates online, your PDF merging speed depends on the internet connection and the PDF file size.

You can find tools for online PDF merging by just Googling it. We tested a bunch of them and found out that PDFMerge! did the best job, by far. The tool is intuitive and easy to use:

  1. Upload PDFs from your computer.
  2. Click the silver Merge button and the tool will automatically merge your documents, which you can immediately download.

This tool doesn’t add any watermarks and even has an https version available, for users concerned about their document privacy.

The Verdict

Which approach you’ll take when combining PDF documents is completely up to you. We advise using a dependable software application for larger and more important documents, as the comfort and speed of working in a local environment are unmatched. On the other hand, there are situations where you’ll need to quickly combine smaller PDFs and email them, which is exactly where you’ll use a reputable online converter.


3 Bulletproof Ways to Reduce PDF File Size

I always wondered what the exact reason behind the PDF’s popularity was, only to find out that it’s made out of two things:

  • Document security
  • File size reduction

The document security characteristics of our beloved PDF revolve around its default features and the fact that it isn’t an editable file format. This is what boosted the PDF into superstardom and helped the format become a standard in business correspondence worldwide.

The other notable factor is that when you convert a file to PDF, you are automatically reducing its file size from the original size of the source format. This is especially noticeable with smaller to medium sized PDF documents, which make up the majority of all email attachments.

However, this default compression isn’t enough sometimes. Sometimes we’re dealing with PDF file sizes that are well over the email attachment limit and we simply need to compress them in order to properly send them. Here’s how to solve situations like these.


So, if you have a PDF that isn’t confidential and need it compressed in a hurry then it’s best to use a free, online converters. Usually, they all work in the same fashion: first you upload your PDF (the smaller the PDF, the faster the upload) and then the tool compresses the images and the text, after which you can download it and go on with your work.

1) Using Online Tools

I tested a variety of tools but the PDF Compressor did the best job, by far. Using it, I was able to compress a 7MB document down to 5MB, which is a 30% compression. And that’s a nice feat, if you ask me. 

The tool is completely free, easy to use and will let you compress multiple files if that’s what you need. Additionally, it won’t put any branding or watermarks on the document which is something that several other online tools do.

2) Using WinRar

A second way of compressing PDF is most suitable for emailing purposes and that’s just plain zipping or rar-ing. You can use WinRar to compress your document and just email it that way, if that’s what floats your boat. This process is probably the simplest and easiest and yields similar results as using an online compression tool.

3) Using Adobe Acrobat

A third way of compressing PDF documents would be to use Adobe Acrobat’s PDF Optimizer tool, which lets you apply industry standard compression to a PDF and then save the optimized version for further use. What you should know is that Acrobat compresses both the content and the images and lets you setup compression parameters for each. It uses stuff like bicubic sampling and reduces the PPI of your images, therefore making them smaller.


There are tools out there, such as our own Able2Extract, that let you create PDF documents out of other file formats and set up advanced compression options while doing so.

These compression options revolve around reducing the size of images and content stream while creating PDF and can be extremely useful when you are tight on storage space. Like Acrobat, Able2Extract also gives you different image compression capabilities: bicubic downsampling, JPG, ZIP and a couple more.

Here’s how to set up PDF compression options using Able2Extract (available on Windows, MAC and Linux):

1) Open Able2Extract and go to View > PDF Creation Options > Compression.

Selecting Able2Extract Compression Options


2) Check the box “Compress Text” and set up image compression according to the source document. If your document contains colored images, the best compression setup would be to select ZIP or JPEG, and set the quality to low or minimal. After you are finished setting up everything, hit OK.

Compressing Text In Able2Extract


3) The next step is to create a PDF from one of your files and apply the compression settings. Click on Create, select your file and hit OK again. The tool will create a perfectly compressed PDF.

Able2Extract PDF Creation Progress Bar

All in all, there are a variety of ways in which you can compress and reduce the size of a PDF and none of them is necessarily the best. It all comes down to your personal preferences and your exact needs.

If you’re working with a publicly available document which does not go over 5MB in size, then using an online compression tool is probably your best bet. These are mostly free, while some have an upgrade option available.

For classified documents, it’s much smarter to use desktop software, as it allows you to perform necessary work locally without having to upload it to somebody else’s server. In these instances, you should most definitely resort to a software PDF tool (like Able2Extract) which is specially made for working with important PDFs in a secure, time saving way.


How to Password Protect a PDF (Step-By-Step Guide for 2016)

Right now, there are more than 2.4 billion PDF documents roaming the world wide web.

This means that we are slowly, but surely heading towards a major digital milestone– one PDF per person. However, as  the PDF gets closer and closer to this superstardom status, it means we need to take our document security seriously and take charge of who gets to see our information.

When you password protect a PDF, you are in full control. You are the puppet master of that document and you decide who gets permission to view, edit and manipulate your work. Do not mistake that with being selfish.

There is a justified reason why people of all professions should consider encrypting PDF documents when transferring important files.

For example, an accountant may often correspond with his or her clients via email. If there’s an unprotected report in that communication, and it contains particularly sensitive information then it’s at huge risk of being stolen or misplaced. And that’s why it’s always smart to password protect your PDF.

The big question is: how do we go about it?

Well, it all comes down to your workflow. We brainstormed some common scenarios when you’d want to perform this particular task:

  • You want create a password protected PDF from other file formats
  • You have a ready PDF that you just need to encrypt and save

Let’s go to work.

Creating Encrypted PDFs From Other File Formats

We’re starting with the most common way of encrypting PDF files and we’re going to walk you through two options:

  • Create an encrypted PDF straight from MS Office (does not work with MS Excel)
  • Create an encrypted PDF document using a PDF creation software (works with all file formats)

Creating Encrypted PDF Straight From MS Office

If you need to password protect an Excel document while printing it to PDF, then go to the next chapter where we discuss that particular task.

If you would like to print a Word document to PDF and add password protection, then just follow the steps below:

1) Go to File > Export

Exporting PDF MS Word

2) Create PDF/XPS document

Create PDF In MS Word

3) Click on Options

PDF Creation Options In MS Word

4)  Check “Encrypt the document with a password”

MS Password Encryption Option

5) Enter the password and hit OK

Encrypting PDFs In MS Word

Job done. You‘ve now successfully created a password protected PDF out of MS Word. But what about other file formats?

Creating Encrypted PDF Documents Using PDF Creation Software

You can use a variety of PDF creation software to print an encrypted PDF document from other applications. For this tutorial we are going to use our very own Able2Extract. You can download the free trial and follow along:

1) Open Able2Extract and go to View >PDF Creation Options

Accessing Able2Extract PDF Creation Options

2) Security > Check the Secure PDF and enter the User and Owner names. The  User field will be your password. Set up the desired permissions and click OK.

PDF Security Dialog

3) Go to Create PDF > open your file (you can create PDF out of all printable formats)

Selecting Able2Extract Create PDF Icon

4) The tool will print your file to PDF and automatically apply the security settings you just added.

Able2Extract PDF Creation Progress Bar

The only thing remaining is to save it back to PDF and you’re done. Everything clear? Let’s move on to the next part.

Adding Password to an Existing PDF

You can add a password to an existing PDF in a variety of ways, but the main choice you will have to make is whether you’re going to do it on your desktop or online.

I would suggest sticking to your desktop when working with bigger documents and possibly using an online tool if you’re handling a PDF with a smaller file size.

However, there’s no escaping the fact that, whatever the size of your PDF file, you may be thinking of encrypting it. This further implies that document security is your utmost priority, which means that you should probably stick with a desktop tool. If you have already downloaded Able2Extract then this will also be a walk in the park.

1) Open your unencrypted PDF in Able2Extract, select all and convert it to its corresponding format. If it’s a PDF with textual  content  then convert it to Word, if not you can choose between the other file formats available.

Selecting Able2Extract Conversion Selection Options

2) Your converted file will automatically open. Now, just follow the steps below to apply password protection from your MS Office application:

a) Go to File > Export

b) Create PDF > Options > Encrypt the Document

Once again, if you’re trying to create a PDF from Excel and add a password to it,  know that it can’t be done in this way — go back to the part where we explain how to create a password protected PDF using software.

BONUS: How to Add Password to a Scanned PDF File

Once in awhile, we may come across with a scanned PDF document. What makes scanned PDFs so difficult to work with is that they are essentially images with a .pdf extension, so they can’t be rendered by your regular file editing application.

What we can do in such instances is use Able2Extract Professional, which has integrated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology. To apply password protection on a scanned PDF:

  1. Open the PDF in Able2Extract Professional
  2. Convert the scanned document to your file format of choice
  3. Apply the password protection steps from the tutorials above

So, there you go guys, some actionable tips on how to secure your document and ensure that your work is traveling safely.

Did this tutorial help you? Share it and spread the love. Leave your questions in the comments below.


How To Create A PDF Portfolio From Your Instagram Photos

Viewing Instagram On Laptop

Instagram selfies are all the rage these days. The app has helped users (and celebrities) produce some of the most widely shared pictures on the web.

Who doesn’t like to take a fun pic when they’re out and about or when a memorable family moment crops up?

Yet for some, Instagram is a professional tool. From graphic designers and photographers to online entrepreneurs and real estate agents, Instagram is an extremely effective platform for marketing and spreading the word visually about what they have to offer.

Whether you have photos of your workspace, products or digital work, a PDF portfolio of your best Instagram shots is a super easy way to enhance your professional pitch and drum up some business. Here’s how.

1. Download Instagram Photos With DInstagram

The first thing to do is download your Instagram photos. DInstagram is a Chrome extension that allows you to download individual Instagram photos.  To do this:

a) Install the extension on Chrome.

b) Log into your Instagram account (this will also work if you aren’t logged in and are viewing your account’s photos, too).

c) Click on the photo you want to download.

d) In the upper right hand corner, click on the DInstagram Select your format (choose either PNG or JPG). Select the image size (Big, Medium, Small). Click on Download.

Downloading Instagram Image

e) Save the photos onto your computer. Tip: create a new single folder for all your photos for easy access.

2. Convert Your Instagram Photos To PDF

The next step is actually getting those photos into the PDF format. This is where Able2Extract 10 comes in handy.

a) Open Able2Extract 10.

b) Click on the Create icon in the toolbar.

Creating PDF In Able2Extract

c) Select your image files. Able2Extract 10 will let you quickly open a number of images simultaneously just by selecting multiple files at once. Click on Open.

Opening Images In Able2Extract

d) In each tab, click on Save.

Saving Images As PDF

Tip: Just as you did previously, create a new folder for all the PDFs you will be creating. This will give you a place to export any other future Instagram shots in PDF you may want to include when you update your portfolio.

3. Merge Your PDFs Into One

Now that you have all your image files saved as a PDF, you can start putting them together into one PDF file. You can continue on from Able2Extract. No need to exit the application. You can close off all but one of the tabs.

In that one tab you have left opened,

a) Click on the Edit icon from the toolbar. This is the file from which you will be creating your PDF portfolio. You can rename the file later on as needed; no need to worry about that just yet.

Editing PDFs In Able2Extract

b) Click on the Insert from PDF… option in the Editing panel. One by one, you can add your newly created PDFs to the file by selecting it and clicking on Open.

Inserting Pages Into PDF

In the pop up dialog, leave the value in both page fields to 1 (it will be the first and last page you insert). You can decide the order of your images by using the Before Page field:

Merging PDF Pages Together

c) Once all your PDF photos are inserted, click on the Save icon once again. Or as mentioned above, you can rename the file by going to File > Save As… and renaming your file.

Renaming PDF In Able2Extract

The final result? A professional looking PDF portfolio made from some of your best images:

Viewing PDF Portfolio In Able2Extract

You can repeat the above steps in this third section to get other PDF content into the portfolio for a complete look. Add a title page, PDF pages with company information, a section on your services, testimonials from clients or even add a page with a list of publications that have featured your products.

How effective your portfolio becomes is up to you, so show off your best stuff!


How To Remove/Purge Unused CAD Blocks?

Part 11 of 13 in our How To Use AutoCAD series

While working on our designs, we may find ourselves in a situation where we create blocks that we don’t end up using.  That’s why it’s beneficial to clean up the drawing and remove unused blocks, layers, shapes, linetypes and other objects.

This can be efficiently done using the “Purge” command, which identifies and removes the unused items.

1.To access the “Purge” command, click on the application button, on the top left corner of the AutoCAD window. Then go to “Drawing Utilities” > “Purge”.

AutoCAD Application Button

2.You’ll be presented with a pop up. Leave the “View items you can purge” checked and from the box below choose items that you would like to remove. The “Purge” command identifies all items not used in the drawing.

3.Click on “Blocks”, and select either “Purge” or “Purge All”.

4.When prompted, choose “Purge this item”.

In certain cases, there may be items nested (located) inside other items. You can easily remove those by checking the “Purge nested items” check box. To further master your drawing output skills, read this tutorial on How to Clean Up Your AutoCAD Drawing.