I have a PDF document with one page, containing a large image and some text. I need to add some other PDF documents and duplicate the page with the image 60 times, resulting in a final 70-page document for a professional printer. I've used Preview to do this, but it resulted in a huge file size because the image was always copied. Is there any way (app, command line) short of Adobe Acrobat (too pricey) to duplicate a pdf page while just referencing the image?

  • Not if the image is embedded.
    – user479
    Oct 10, 2013 at 22:30
  • I presume that these two solutions did not help you? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/14925/… and: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/8563/…
    – Deesbek
    Oct 13, 2013 at 12:17
  • 1
    No, both solutions explain how to reduce the image quality to get a lower file size. This is not acceptable. When I use Scribus to create a PDF with 100 pages with the same image, the file is quite small (probably because the img is just referenced). When I use Preview, the file size is ~100 times the image size.
    – chiborg
    Oct 14, 2013 at 7:16
  • Sorry now I am confused, why don't you use Scribus to create the pdf? Or does that not reference the image correctly either?
    – Deesbek
    Oct 14, 2013 at 17:10
  • Scribus was just an example. In my case, the files were delivered as several PDFs and I need to duplicate the pasges of those and combine them into one PDF file.
    – chiborg
    Oct 15, 2013 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


You can duplicate pages in preview by opening up the sidebar to display thumbnails (View->Thumbnails), click on the page you want to duplicate, and then hold down Option and drag the thumbnail to the new location. That will create a duplicate of the page and leave it at the new location. When you do it this way, it does NOT duplicate the internal images and assets, but will reference them on the new page. I just confirmed with a one-page PDF which had a 400k scanned image: I turned it into a 6-page document which was still around 400k.

If you instead add the page you wish to duplicate with Edit->Insert->Page From File... it loads all the assets again and does not reference the ones you'd already loaded, causing the file size to balloon. It would certainly be nice if it could recognize that the assets are the same, but alas.

  • Incidently, reported this on Radar as bug 15222628 Oct 14, 2013 at 18:32
  • I did my page duplication exactly how you described and the file size went up. Maybe it depends how the the original PDF page was created?
    – chiborg
    Oct 15, 2013 at 8:22
  • You did it with Option-Drag? Hmmm, I wonder if this is version dependent... Let me go try it on a Mountain Lion box. Oct 15, 2013 at 14:19
  • 1
    It looks like this does not work yet on Mountain Lion. It may or may not be improved in the Mavericks release due sometime soon. Oct 15, 2013 at 14:24

MS Word 2008 will do it, the same will work with Scribus 1.4.3.

With Scribus all you have to do is click the "Save as Pdf" icon and then select your options, I used pdf v 1.5 and 300dpi for the graphic. The size of the 1 page pdf was the same as the graphic itself, and the 62 page version was the same size.

Here is how I tested, I have a 2011 Macbook pro running osx 10.8.5 with MS word 2008.

I created a file in word with some text and an image which was originally 2.8 Mb.

enter image description here

I saved this in docx and doc format and pdf format with the save as command from within word. Then I also did a pdf print from the print menu.

enter image description here enter image description here

I then copied the page 62 times and got the following results:

Original image 2.8 Mb

One page document

  • 2008 word saved docx file 2.9 Mb
  • 2008 word saved doc file 2.8 Mb
  • 2008 word saved pdf file 12.7 Mb
  • print to pdf via word 2.8 Mb

62 page document

  • 2008 word saved docx file 2.9 Mb
  • 2008 word saved doc file 169.5 Mb
  • 2008 word saved pdf file 774.9 Mb
  • print to pdf via word 2.8 Mb

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