How to break a PDF into parts using Acrobat X or XI

Learn how to edit a PDF by breaking a single PDF file into multiple PDF documents.

By December 13, 2011

 



In this tutorial, learn how to edit PDF by breaking a single PDF file into multiple PDF documents using Acrobat X or XI. Have you ever needed to break a PDF into parts or separate files? Perhaps you only need to email a few pages to someone instead of the entire file. You can easily break up a PDF document by following a few simple steps using Acrobat X or Acrobat XI Std or Acrobat Pro.

First, open the PDF file that you want to break into different parts. Click on the Tools pane, Pages panel and select the Split Document command. The Split Document dialog allows you to control the split by the number of pages in a file, file size, or by top-level bookmarks. So, let’s say I’d like to split my document into 3 page increments, so I’ll select 3 pages in the Max. pages entry. And the Output Options allow you to control where the files are saved on your system, and how the files will be named. You can also specify if you want to overwrite any existing files. When I click OK, the pages are broken into different files and the original file is left unchanged. Here is a preview in Windows Explorer of all the files that have been split from the original file. Each one is named according to your selected output options.

In the Windows version only of Acrobat, you can also split apart one or more PDFs with no document open. Simply select the Apply to Multiple command in the Split Document dialog and add the files or folders to be split, and click OK.


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53 comments

Lori Kassuba

2 weeks ago

Hi michael thigpen,

The free Reader doesn’t have this option. If you’re using Acrobat and you still don’t have this option, try running the Repair command from under the Help menu.

Thanks,
Lori

michael thigpen

4 weeks ago

My acrobat XI doesnt have the page dropdown in tools. what do i do?

Lori Kassuba

1 month ago

Hi Phoebe,

Actually this is still the case in Acrobat DC, you can only split in increments up to 10 MB. It may be possible using JavaScript but you’d need to post that question to the Experts.

Thanks,
Lori

Phoebe

1 month ago

Thanks Lori! I tried this using Acrobat X Pro, but it says the max file size you can split by is 10MB. Is this not the case in Acrobat XI? Or is there a better way?
Thanks!

Lori Kassuba

1 month ago

Hi Phoebe,

One of the options in the Split command is to Split by File Size, which allows you set the limit—like 100 Mb.

Thanks,
Lori

Phoebe

1 month ago

What if I have a PDF of 500 MB and I want to split it into 100MB pieces? Can the Acrobat X Pro or XI Pro Split PDF tool split in sections larger than 10MB? (without knowing how many pages it would take to create a 100MB file?). If not, what is the best way to do this?

Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-05-28 28, 2015

Hi BIG J,

I’m not seeing the same behavior in Acrobat DC. What version are you using? OS? Do you see the same behavior if you use the Combine Files dialog?

Thanks,
Lori

Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-05-28 28, 2015

Hi Vaib Son,

Yes, in Acrobat DC you can split a PDF by a certain number of pages.

Thanks,
Lori

Vaib Son

6, 2015-05-22 22, 2015

and is it possible to break pdf into group of 50 pages…..thanks…

Vaib Son

6, 2015-05-22 22, 2015

please help as soon as possible
i have 70mb secured pdf file and i want to break into segment of 5mb is it possible…thanks waiting for response

BIG J

4, 2015-05-20 20, 2015

Having an issue extracting files or breaking apart a pdf book with the intent on editing certain pages and then re-combining. Acrobat’s auto-naming system doesn’t seem to understand how the original order of the document went (and with 150+ pages, this is incredibly time consuming to reorganize).

For example: When trying to re-combine after editing is done, Acrobat Pro with show a dialogue box with a list of individual files to be combined like so: Part 20 right after Part 2, Part 120 right after 12 (as if the “0” doesn’t accurately name that individual pdf).

Hope this makes sense. It’s terribly annoying. Is there another method to this?? Do I have to rename all the individual pages of a 150+ page document just so Acrobat understands????

J

Lori Kassuba

12, 2015-04-17 17, 2015

Hi Kelly,

You’ll need Acrobat and not just the free Reader to see the Pages panel.

Thanks,
Lori

Kelly Klein

8, 2015-04-17 17, 2015

The Tools, Pages options does not appear in my panel.  How do I add the Pages options?

Lori Kassuba

11, 2015-03-26 26, 2015

Hi RK,

You’ll need to use Acrobat and not just the free Reader to extract or split the pages out of an existing PDF document.

Thanks,
Lori

RK

6, 2015-03-23 23, 2015

I HAVE A4 SIZE PAGE PDF, BUT IT 2 PAGE OF A8 SIZE IN IT.
I WANT TO SPIIT SEPERATE A8 PAGE SIZE PDF
HOW TO DONE IT ?

Lori Kassuba

1, 2015-03-19 19, 2015

Hi Vijay Vardhan,

You may be able to do this using JavaScript but you’ll need to ask the experts here (and be sure to select the JavaScript category):
https://answers.acrobatusers.com/AskQuestion.aspx

Thanks,
Lori

Lori Kassuba

12, 2015-03-19 19, 2015

Hi Sue,

The Split command won’t do that automatically for you. But the Add Header & Footer command can easily be run on multiple files. Or, you could create an Acrobat Action (if you have Pro.) that applies the Header & Footer command on a folder of files that you have split.

Thanks,
Lori

Sue

3, 2015-03-17 17, 2015

Hello Lori,

I want my split files to be renumbered (begins with page 1) automatically once its split. Can you please advise how can I do that?

Vijay Vardhan

3, 2015-03-13 13, 2015

Hi All,

can anybody help me how to split the limited pdf files into book marks using Adobe Acrobat Professional or any other tool.

for example: in 1 pdf file we can able to split the pdf into 1000 bookmarks using Adobe Acrobat Professional. but is there any chance that i want only first 500 bookmarks to be splitted using Adobe Acrobat Professional.

please help me out from this problem.

Lori Kassuba

11, 2015-01-27 27, 2015

Hi Scott,

The Split command is only available in Acrobat and not the free Reader.

Thanks,
Lori

Scott

1, 2015-01-21 21, 2015

I have Reader XI, but the Pages…Split Document option is not available.

Lori Kassuba

9, 2014-12-18 18, 2014

Hi Kait J,

Sometimes I’ve hear of this error occurring when folks have Preview turning on in Windows Explorer. You might try checking this.

Thanks,
Lori

Kait J

11, 2014-12-15 15, 2014

Hi all,

I need some help with how I am splitting PDFs. One client requests that we deliver items individually, split by bookmark and named as the bookmarks. I am able to split the document fine, and able to save to a specific folder when needed. The problem arises when I go to change the naming convention for the bookmarks under Output Options. We need them named as the bookmarks are named; however every time I try to split the document with “Use bookmark names for file names” as the labeling, I get the message “The file may be read-only, or another user may have it open. Please save the document with a different name or in a different folder.” This happens whether I am working on the document on our network or my desktop, regardless of if “Do not overwrite existing files” is checked. No one else is working on this document at the same time. I am using Acrobat X Standard.

Lori Kassuba

1, 2014-06-24 24, 2014

Hi John,

You could use the Split document command first. Then, you’ll find an Action on the Actions Exchange to reverse pages here:
http://acrobatusers.com/assets/uploads/actions/temp_file_Reverse_page_order1.sequ

For the final step (if the PDF pages don’t contain interactivity and you’re not specifically worried about how it prints), you can print the whole thing to the Adobe PDF printer and use the Multiple command under the Page Sizing & Handling section of the print dialog.

Thanks,
Lori

John

6, 2014-06-19 19, 2014

Thanks for your video Lori, What if I had a single page PDF that I needed to divide it into 4 parts and then switch around 2 of the parts (reverse the order) then put it all together again on one page?

Lori Kassuba

3, 2014-04-09 09, 2014

Hi diksha,

Are you trying to break apart an individual PDF page into three separate pages? If so, you’ll need to duplicate the first page two times and then use the crop tool to create page regions. Here is a similar question that someone else has asked:
http://answers.acrobatusers.com/Can-I-insert-page-breaks-pdf-document-q153021.aspx

Thanks,
Lori

diksha

7, 2014-04-09 09, 2014

my pdf file is 2 pages if I try to make it 6 it says its already split. but I need to convert this one in to multiple pages.

Lori Kassuba

4, 2013-12-26 26, 2013

Hi HeyAdmin,

Here are a couple of suggestions on how to do this for non-sequential pages:
http://blogs.adobe.com/educationleaders/2008/05/extracting_non_sequential_page.html

Thanks,
Lori

HeyAdmin

1, 2013-12-20 20, 2013

Our legal dept has a process by which they review a full pdf and send back a list of the pages that need to be redacted, but they are never sequential.  The final result needs to be a split of the original document into two documents:  one that contains the redacted pages and the other that contains the non-redacted pages.  Anyone know how to split a document by providing non sequential page numbers?

Lori Kassuba

12, 2013-06-10 10, 2013

Hi qwqw,

You could also use the Replace pages command to do this.

Thanks,
Lori

Lori Kassuba

12, 2013-06-10 10, 2013

Hi Annelle,

When you create a New Action in Acrobat XI, you can specify whether you want to run the Action on a file or folder. The file option allows you to select multiple files and the folder option is nice because when you run the Action, you can actually pick and choose files using the dropdown command called Manage files next to the Add Folder icon.

Thanks,
Lori

qwqw

6, 2013-06-06 06, 2013

Acrobat has such amateurs working on this app… You split and you discover that you have lost your bookmark structure. The only way to split without losing that is to do copies of the document and do this in each:

1) manually delete all other pages, two ranges that is, one before and one after
2) then deleting the bookmarks of the pages you deleted.

You have the same problem when you try to extract a range of pages so I guess the code is obviously the same.

Another problem. You have a machine with 8 cores and only one is working in long operations like OCR etc. How hard is it to do multiple pages at the same time, one page per thread? It’s only a little extra code, the same locking and single threaded code can be used for the actual job. It would be 8 times faster. Of course it appears as though it does use more cores, but that’s not true because less than 100% use on a core means the code is waiting something else to finish and adding all to one gets 100% of a single core. Total CPU use on the computer is 13%, which makes one feel stupid for buying more expensive systems.

Annelle

2, 2013-06-04 04, 2013

So Lori, I tried to create an action that would add page number to multiple files. I got it to work just fine with the file that was already open but didn’t see a way to choose/apply to multiple files. Can this be done?

Thanks.

Mohamed I

3, 2013-05-30 30, 2013

Simple Solution? Open the pdf with Google Chrome. Print. Save as PDF but select only the pages you want.

Hah!

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-05-21 21, 2013

Hi Annelle,

This infographic can help you learn about how to create an Action:
http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/how-to-work-with-actions-infographic

Thanks,
Lori

Annelle

10, 2013-05-16 16, 2013

Hi Lori,

I do. Yes please tell me how to do this. I’ve learned so much via this discussion. Thanks.

Lori Kassuba

10, 2013-05-16 16, 2013

Hi Annelle,

If you have the Pro. version, you could create an Action that would apply the header/footer to a folder of PDF document.

Lori

Annelle

2, 2013-05-15 15, 2013

Hi Lori,

Thanks for the follow up. While using the header/footer option I noticed the apply to multiple. That solves my issue without too much pain. It’s pretty easy, just add each document and it works like a charm. Eventually each document is re-numbered individually without having to do it one at a time.

Annelle

10, 2013-05-09 09, 2013

Hi Lori,

Thanks for the info but I know I can touch each file separately. I was hoping that there was an option that would do it for me, like reset page numbers on a bookmark. That would be ideal :-)

For those following along, here’s my project. I have a daily report of applicants to our graduate program. Every applicant is in the same report. So some days there are 10 applicants and some days 20. And applications can be anywhere from 2 to four pages long depending on the amount of detail the applicant enters. 

This comes to me as a word document. It’s easy to save as PDF, add a book mark at the top of each application and split the document in to individual pdf files, one per application. That all works great. Renumbering the pages is a minor issue but I still hoping there’s an automatic way, - small sigh.

Lori Kassuba

9, 2013-05-09 09, 2013

Hi Annelle,

You can use the Header & Footer command to add the proper page numbers to each of these split files. At the same time, you can also replace the existing number. Here is a tutorial on the subject:
Adding headers/footers to your PDF documents in Acrobat 9

Thanks,
Lori

Annelle

12, 2013-05-08 08, 2013

Thanks, Guillaume but I want all the files, I just want each file to re-start numbering at 1. I’m not printing them just saving each section a s a separate pdf

Guillaume

4, 2013-05-07 07, 2013

You can use a free pdf printer to print selected pages.
I know it’s a workaround but i you don’t have pro version, it will do the trick

Annelle Colevins

1, 2013-05-07 07, 2013

HI,

I’m using the bookmark feature then split document and it works great. But, is there a way to re-number each separate document? I added page numbers, say 1 - 53. The first document has pages 1 - 4, and the second one pages, 5-7, and so on. The second document picks up with page 5 instead of re-starting the page number.

Thanks.

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-05-06 06, 2013

Hi Gerard,

What version of Acrobat are you using? Note that this isn’t possible using the free Reader.

Thanks,
Lori

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-05-06 06, 2013

Hi Lewis,

Can you let us know how you reached this page? Perhaps there is an incorrect link out there. Here are some tutorials on the subject you were looking for:
http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/filter/search&keywords=convert+pdf+to+Word&channel=tutorials&category;=&tut_type=Video+OnDemand+Infographic+HTML/

Thanks,
Lori

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-05-06 06, 2013

Hi Kathy,

Yes, you can do this easily by opening the Page navigation pane, selecting the pages, right-clicking (or ctrl-click on the Mac) and choosing Extract pages. However, you’ll need Acrobat and not the free Reader to do this.

Thanks,
Lori

Gerard

3, 2013-05-04 04, 2013

What tool pane? No tool pane on my acrobat reader. there is a “tools” button under “view” but it does not give any options as the ones you describe. “export .pdf file”? No hint about how to split it up.

Lewis Montana

11, 2013-04-30 30, 2013

It was informative, but I don’t think it was as advertised, which was “How to convert PDFs to Office files”.

Kathy

3, 2013-04-29 29, 2013

I need to split a 31 page document into two documents. One will be the first 7 pages and the second will be the remainder of the document. Is this possible?

Евгений

4, 2013-04-26 26, 2013

Пропала вкладка модули, как теперь раскладывать файл на несколько на один лист, или раскладывать брошюру

Missing modules tab is now spread to several file onto a single sheet, or lay out a brochure.

Lori Kassuba

9, 2013-04-24 24, 2013

Hi Candice,

One idea would be to search for your keywords and when you find them create a top-level bookmark by using the Ctrl+B command. Then use the Split command and choose the top-level bookmark option.

Thanks,
Lori

Candice

9, 2013-04-19 19, 2013

Is there a version where I can I choose the pages I’d like to split?  EG, all pages containing a specific word. Or, is there a sorting feature/option so once sorted, I can split…

Lori Kassuba

9, 2013-04-15 15, 2013

Hi Lisa,
The split feature only looks at top-level bookmarks. So, you probably have one top-level bookmark, thus the single PDF file. I would try making a copy of the file and then removing the top-level bookmark and then using the split command.

Thanks,
Lori

Lisa

8, 2013-04-10 10, 2013

I’m having the same problem; I can’t seem to separate a multiple-page pdf document into separate pages.  There is no security on the file.  When I try to split the document into pages by the top-level bookmark, it seems to be looking at the one main bookmark and simply copying the entire file into a new file, rather than separating the pages.  I thinking the issue here has something to do with the bookmarks.  I have one main bookmark with about 20 items under it.  I need the 20 items separated.

What am I missing?

Mauricio Leyzaola

6, 2013-03-24 24, 2013

Thanks a bunch Lori. It was driving me nuts split my huge 2.3 Gb PDF using the PDF printer. Works like a charm.

Patty Friesen

12, 2013-03-12 12, 2013

Hi Jan,

Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback. Glad you found the tip helpful!

Patty

Jan

7, 2013-03-07 07, 2013

Thank you for saving my sanity!

Lori Kassuba

2, 2013-02-19 19, 2013

Hi Michael,

You’ll need to remove the security first before extracting or splitting the pages. If this is not an option, then you might try printing the individual pages to the Adobe PDF printer.

Lori

Michael Airhart

8, 2013-02-16 16, 2013

The Extract and Split Document options are both grayed out (disabled) in Acrobat XI Standard, at least for “secured” documents.

I need to distribute the Ticketmaster tickets that I purchased to separate people. It seems that Adobe is trying much too hard to protect myself.

Andrew

1, 2013-02-05 05, 2013

There is no such option in Acrobat 8 Professional.

Andrew,

You’re correct, this feature is part of Acrobat X. You’ll need to use the Extract command in earlier versions.

Lori

Drew

4, 2013-02-04 04, 2013

Why would you make this video auto play when you open the page?
That’s legit evil to people in crowded offices and libraries. You should fix that.

Hi Drew,

Thanks for your comments regarding auto-play. We are in the process of removing auto-play from our videos and should have that feature implemented within the next couple of days.

Regards,

Patty

Mike S.

4, 2013-01-25 25, 2013

I receive large pdf files from architects (30 to 50 MB) containing multiple building plan sheets. Original sheets print out 24"x36”, sometimes a little larger.  I only need to save, email and/or print a limited number from the entire set.  Which Adobe product will let me break apart these large single files into multiple smaller pdf’s AND retain the original sheet size.  Thanks in advance.

Hi Mike S.,

Acrobat Std. can do this but if you ever need to create an oversized PDF with a custom page, you’ll need the Pro. version.

Thanks,
Lori

umar

1, 2013-01-15 15, 2013

I want to take out only some pages from the document, which i want Ex- like i want to take out only 1-15 pages, if any one know please send msg

Hi Umar,

You’ll need to use Acrobat and not the free Reader to exact pages from an existing PDF document.

Thanks,
Lori

basit

2, 2012-11-30 30, 2012

Lori u have solved my big problem.
thanx Lori

CA PARTH SHAH

10, 2012-09-13 13, 2012

Thanks for such a useful video. It saved my day.

Robert

1, 2012-07-24 24, 2012

Have been trying to do this programmatically. Is this somewhere on the site?  If not, is this a possibility to show how to do in the .NET languages (VB, C#, etc.)

Thanks Robert

FRANK

5, 2012-02-25 25, 2012

HOW DO i GET TO THE SPLIT dOCUMENT COMMAND WHEN EDITING A FEDERAL FORM OF MULTIPLE PAGES AND i NEED ONLY PART OF ONE PAGE?

Hi Frank,

The Split command is found in Acrobat Std. or Pro. but not the free Adobe Reader.

Lori

Michael Ensor

2, 2012-01-16 16, 2012

Thanks for the info Lori, it was so easy to follow and understand

Thanks for letting us know.
Lori

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