I've got a PDF that has something else (actually, another PDF) as an attachment. Like most Mac users I use Preview by default to view PDFs, and Preview gives no indication that I can find that there is an attachment, nor can I figure out how to access the attachment now that I know it's there. I was pretty confused until I tried Adobe Reader which immediately makes it clear that there is an attachment. Am I missing something here or is Preview essentially ignoring attachments?

  • 2
    Preview is pretty dumb and does not recognize any "extra" feature which is recognized by other tools like Adobe.
    – Rob
    Jan 2, 2016 at 19:32
  • 2
    @Rob - Other way round really… Adobe can do what they like with PDF & Apple has no obligation to keep up with their proprietary format. Google "The demise of Flash" for parallels.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 2, 2016 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately Preview does not support or indicate PDF attachments in a PDF, or any file Preview can open. I suggest you continue to use Adobe Reader for Mac.

You can send your feedback about this to Apple here.


Preview doesn't support this, but you can extract attachments on the command line using the popper tool pdfdetach. To install poppler with Homebrew:

brew install poppler

To list attachments in a PDF file called doc.pdf:

pdfdetach -list doc.pdf

To extract attachments from a PDF file called doc.pdf:

pdfdetach -saveall doc.pdf

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