I have been looking for a way to take a 412 page PDF on my Mac and split it roughly into thirds. The googling that I have done suggests that you copy individual pages onto your desktop, and then combine them all using Preview, but doing this with 136 pages seems like a terrible idea.

The alternate method I have seen is to "Print to PDF" but print selected page ranges. This seems like a doable method, but many of the pages in the front of the PDF do not have page numbers, also, the "Save to PDF" in the print dialog does not have the option to select a page range on Sierra!

What am I missing? How does one split a large PDF into chunks on a Mac?

  • Preview is a terrible choice for this, but it ignores logical page numbers ("no page numbers in front") when printing. – How do you expect a copied ToC to work at all in the last two of your segments? You will have to construct new ToCs? Nov 15 '17 at 11:40
  • I'm curious as to why you want to split the PDF into several pieces. Nov 15 '17 at 12:43
  • It is because I want to use the "Send to Kindle" app on my mac and it will only take PDF's that are 50 MB or smaller.
    – zeeple
    Nov 18 '17 at 5:04

I suggest you use free app PDFSam. This app is for splitting large PDFs into smaller segments. This should solve your problems. The app can be downloaded here

  • This worked perfectly. The table of contents was preserved for the sections in the split, and the resulting file size was quite small.
    – zeeple
    Nov 18 '17 at 5:43
  • 1
    Glad it worked.
    – Natsfan
    Nov 18 '17 at 10:56

in Preview show side thumbnails - select - shift select your range - cut or copy - file - new from clipboard -save - done

  • This is a great shortcut, thank you for posting it, but the problem is the same as the one I cite below: this method destroys the Table of Contents. How do you preserve the TOC?
    – zeeple
    Nov 15 '17 at 4:39
  • 1
    Well then better use Pdf-Split-And_Merge (FOSS) pdfsam.org/download-pdfsam-basic
    – Junme
    Nov 15 '17 at 5:57

Just tested in macOS Sierra:

  1. Open the PDF in Preview.
  2. Press ⌘P or click: File > Print…
  3. Click the Show Details button. (If necessary).
  4. Set the page range in: Pages: From: [] to: []
  5. Click: PDF > Save as PDF…
  6. Etc. Repeat as needed.

This will save the set page range, regardless whether the pages are numbered or not.

  • This is great, I didn't realize that filling in the page range would carry over to saving to PDF. The problem with this method, that I can see, is that it does not preserve the Table of Contents of the doc. How to keep the TOC intact?
    – zeeple
    Nov 15 '17 at 4:31

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