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Use Acrobat 9 to assemble a unified PDF document

Learn how to combine PDF or merge PDF into a unified PDF document in Acrobat 9.

By Steve Adler – May 7, 2010


Adobe Acrobat 9 has many useful features for educators and students. One that is perfect for building a unified PDF document by merging or combining PDF takes advantage of a little known technique for dragging and dropping pages directly from one document on to another and then adding a unified set of headers and footers. This technique can save valuable time and produce a very useful document that can be updated as needed.

This feature is perfect when you need to customize a course pack, modify a handbook, or reference document, or even update lesson plans and other curriculum-related material. When showing this to faculty and staff, I always get a lot of interest with this educator "power tip". Here is how it’s done:

What’s needed to learn the drag and drop technique?

  • A source PDF document and a destination PDF document
  • Acrobat Professional

Basic Steps

  • Open up the two documents in Acrobat.
  • From the file menu, choose Window > Tile vertically.
  • Click the Pages tab in each document to reveal all the pages in each document.
  • Select and drag the pages you wish to add from one document to the pages tab of the other document. Copies are made so you will not alter the source document.
  • Close the source document and expand the destination document so you have some space to work.
  • Save the document with a different name.

What’s needed to add headers and footers to your PDF?

  • The document you wish to work with
  • Acrobat Professional

Basic steps

  • From the Acrobat Pro menu choose Document > Header and Footer > Add.
  • Click the left, center, or right header or footer placeholder and add your content. You can also insert page numbers and today’s date.
  • Verify its placement in the proxy window at the bottom and adjust margins or content as needed.
  • Save the setting as a template if you plan to use this header and footer combination again.
  • Apply this to multiple documents by selecting the button at the bottom of the Header and Footer dialog box.
  • Save the document.

Note: you can always go back to the PDF and update or remove header information if you need to modify or add additional pages from the drag and drop process above.


With these techniques you can easily save valuable time by customizing materials for distribution that various sources or contributors provide. Here are some useful ideas and tips:

  • Preview the placement of the header and footer and adjust the margins if necessary.
  • Update the date field when you need to re-publish your materials to others in subsequent semesters or years. It will always look fresh.
  • If you are going to add new pages, first remove the headers and footers, add your pages via drag and drop, and then add the headers and footers back in the document.
  • You can apply different headers and footers to page ranges as well as create odd even header and footer arrangements.
  • Use the advanced button in the dialog box to accommodate document pages of different physical sizes.

Reprinted from Steve Adler's Acrobat in Education blog.

Products covered:

Acrobat 9

Related topics:

Combine Files

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