Using Automator, I tried to create a simple application, but I don’t know how to move ahead. I want to combine PDFs into a single file. The current workflow is:

  1. Ask for Finder Items
  2. Combine PDF Pages
  3. ?

What should I do to ask for a menu to save the combined PDF using a specified name?

  • 1
    Would this suit your needs? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/52066/automate-pdf-actions
    – bmike
    Jun 2, 2012 at 16:52
  • 1
    @bmike: the linked question and its accepted answer are good, but for the task OP is asking about, Automator is entirely sufficient.
    – kopischke
    Jun 2, 2012 at 21:03
  • @kopischke Most certainly - I just wanted the link so that people can see both if some don't care as strictly. Certainly several ways to skin this cat.
    – bmike
    Jun 2, 2012 at 21:06
  • 1
    @bmike: +1 to that :).
    – kopischke
    Jun 2, 2012 at 21:14

3 Answers 3


When working with Automator workflows, it’s always good to check hat an action takes as its input and what it returns as output. Usually, this is indicated in the action’s description (accessible either in the bottom left below the action browser, or by clicking on “description” in the action’s bottom row. The actual output when running the action can also be checked (by clicking “result” in the bottom row of the action).

In your case, checking will show the “Combine PDF Pages” returns a PDF Document file. This file can be processed by any Automator action that can handle files in general (for file operations) or PDF files (for further editing). A look in the “Finder” category of Automator will show you likely candidates:

  1. Move Finder Items will move the file to a target folder of your choice. You can set a fixed one, or tick “Show this action when running the workflow” in “options” (bottom row again) to select each time you run the workflow. This action, again, returns a PDF Document, which
  2. Rename Finder Items will rename a file. As the action returns a PDF Document, you can daisy chain rename actions with different settings, for instance to give it a selectable base name (choose “rename single item” and tick the show option), add a date stamp (add another actions et to append the date) and a time stamp (same procedure, now with the time).

Here is my Services item Workflow for combining PDFs. Hope this helps.

  1. "Get Selected Finder Items" (Can also use "Ask for Finder Items")
  2. "Combine PDF Pages" - (Combine Documents by Appending Pages Selected)
  3. "Move Finder Items" - (To: Desktop)
  4. "Label Finder Items" - (Red)
  • The solution is correct, but it would be more useful to the Stack Exchange community (and OP – “give a man a fish …”) if it explained why this is so. See How to Answer.
    – kopischke
    Jun 2, 2012 at 21:14
  • Could you maybe add how to automatically store the result in the current folder? (That is, same folder as input files.)
    – Konstantin
    Jun 25, 2017 at 11:25

As I know, the end of step 2 is a file somewhere in the HDD (maybe in var/tmp, I don't remember).

So, I did this a long time ago, and I use, as 3rd step, Move Items from Finder (or whatever it's name, note that I speak Spanish, and the system too) and I could select the folder to save this file. After that, change the file's name —it's like a random characters name.

  • The solution is correct, if lacking somewhat in precision, but it would be more useful to the Stack Exchange community (and OP – “give a man a fish …”) if it explained why this is so. See How to Answer.
    – kopischke
    Jun 2, 2012 at 21:19

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