Splitting and recombining PDFs

I’m busy creating a newsletter using pages with source text from DTPO. The thing is set up such that each 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper contains four pages (5.5 x 8.5). The pagination is such that for a 12-page issue the top side of the first sheet of paper has pg 12 on the left and pg 1 on the right. The bottom side will have pg 2 on the left and pg 11 on the right, and so on. When printed and folded down the middle, you have a “brochure”-sized newsletter.

Some readers have requested to have PDF files emailed to them and there’s the problem. Printing this file to PDF causes it to look all out of order.

What I need are a couple of tips on how to split the file into individual pages and then regroup them so that the page order looks normal.

What I’ve been doing is to open the PDF in Preview and crop each side to produce two discrete pages but it’s got to be easier than this.

Then there’s the issue of combining them in DTPO…

Thanks for any ideas.


DEVONthink 2 supports splitting of PDF documents (see Edit > Split Document), insertion of blank pages (Edit > Insert Blank Page), merging of PDF documents (see Data > Merge) and copying/pasting of selected pages (e.g. see contextual menu of PDF thumbnail sidebar).

You can also use “Data > New from clipboard” after copying pages to create new documents.

Thanks Christian. That helps a lot.

Sometimes I forget to check menu options before I pose a question. :stuck_out_tongue:


I don’t know about the PDF thumbnail sidebar. What/where is it?

Updated info: There seems to be a misunderstanding about what exactly a PDF is. Based on my own experience and what I’ve read on the web, a PDF document is rich in graphics and other things and is usually an image rather than a straight RTF type of file.

In the context of DTPO and your comment above, it seems that DTPO thinks that the text overlay is the PDF document and that overlay ignores any graphics.

In my own case today I scanned a bunch of pages into a file. This file consisted of three pages of receipts from three separate stores. I want to file each receipt into its appropriate folder. Actually, what I want to file is the scanned image, and I cannot split the scanned image into three separate pages. For that it seems that I have to do multiple crops within Preview. I don’t specifically need just the text but rather the picture of the receipt so I can print it in case I need to prove something. When selecting an image I cannot do an Edit > Split Document from within PTPO, which I was hoping I could do.

Here we go, Tod:

  1. Choose View > PDF Display and check the Sidebar option.

  2. Select your 3-page PDF to display it.

  3. Click on the first thumbnail to select it.

  4. Press Command-C to copy it. Press Command-N to create a new document from the contents of the clipboard. There’s that page as a new PDF document.

  5. Click on the next thumbnail to select it and go to step 4, etc.

The result will be individual PDFs for each page. (If one of them was supposed to be a 2-page document, just select the two thumbnails and then do the step 4 operation.)

So there’s a quick and dirty way to select the thumbnail(s) of any desired page(s) of a PDF, copy them to the clipboard and create a new PDF containing just the selected page(s).

Here’s a way to merge multiple PDFs into a single document:

  1. Sort the individual PDFs into the order in which they should appear in a merged PDF.

  2. Select them and choose Data > Merge. Result: a new, merged PDF.

Here’s another way to merge selected thumbnails from one PDF into another PDF:

  1. Open both PDF documents side-by-side, with their thumbnail sidebars displayed.

  2. Select one or more thumbnails from one PDF and drag into the thumbnail column of the other, placing them as desired. Press Command-S to save the change in the PDF that received the added page(s).

Note also that you can change the order of the pages in a PDF simply by dragging the thumbnails into the desired order. Then press Command-S to save the change.

So it’s easy to slice, dice and shuffle PDFs within DEVONthink. The results of such operations will, of course, include the images and text of the original PDF pages.

I’m so ashamed but so grateful for your kind assistance, Bill. :blush:



I didn’t found an easy way of splitting a PDF into individual pages (one page per file). I can do it with “Edit” - “Split document” but only one page at a time !

I need the opposite feature of “Merge”, like it is possible with Paperport (stack/unstack).