How can I convert about 100 PNGs to one PDF on a Mac? I'm open to using the command line if it helps.

I have tried using iPhoto, but it quits, not sure why. Saving from Preview doesn't quite do what I want. Thoughts?

up vote 63 down vote accepted

If you have Leopard (10.5 or later) or Lion the easiest way is to use Preview. Just do the following:

  1. Open the first image in Preview
  2. Show the the sidebar (Shift-Command-D)
  3. Drag any additional images to the sidebar
  4. Go to File > Print (Command P)
  5. In the PDF dropdown list select Save as PDF

That's it! You should now have a PDF containing all your images.

If that doesn't work for you, you should look at any third-party solutions such as Adobe Acrobat Pro which has a combine feature or PDFLab.

  • 1
    +1 - My suggested solution as well. I've used this method to combine several PDFs by printing, then choosing "Save as PDF" from the print panel. – SplinterReality Oct 25 '11 at 7:59
  • 1
    For me in Snow Leopard, File > Print only printed the first image. I had to select File > Print Selected Images in order to print all of them. – kldavis4 Jul 23 '14 at 21:09
  • 3
    Shift-Cmd-D didn't open sidebar for me, I had to explicitly use View -> Thumbnails (option - Cmd - 2) - on mac os x el capitan v10.11.3 - otherwise the instructions worked a charm. – arcseldon Feb 22 '16 at 3:58
  • It's 2018 and this method still works like charm. Thanks for this answer. – Lucio Mollinedo Jun 12 at 16:27

I prefer using command line tools such as ImageMagick for this type of work. You can install IM with Homebrew:

brew install imagemagick

Afterwards you can do

convert *.jpg output.pdf

and if the resulting PDF is a bit too big you can try:

convert -quality 60 *.jpg output.pdf

Of course ImageMagick also works on other Unix systems, and even on cygwin.

(If you want a specific order you can also write out the .jpg filenames one by one. Or use * and rename the .jpgs in alphabetical order.)

  • after running this command, every image that *.jpg expanded to was overwritten with the first image, and only the final one was saved to PDF – user5359531 Nov 1 '16 at 18:25
  • @user5359531 Strange. For me this has worked perfectly many times before and to double check I just tried it again. No problem. What was the exact command you ran? And which version? convert --version|head -1 gives me Version: ImageMagick 6.9.5-2 Q16 x86_64 2016-07-13 http://www.imagemagick.org – guaka Nov 1 '16 at 22:48
  • how do you order the pages? – JohnnyQ Jan 19 '17 at 13:43
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    @JohnnyQ Name the image files in the order that you want the pages to appear in the PDF. – CoreDumpError Jan 23 '17 at 20:25
  • This. It works beautifully, for any aspect ratio - the Print answer above is more of a hack than anything else. – Vlad Apr 3 at 14:28

My method is similar to Marcus's, but works a little better for me when the images are all different sizes and you don't want the PDF to just be all 8.5x11 but to keep each page the size of the original image.

  1. Open the first image in Preview
  2. Show thumbnails (Command-option-2)
  3. Drag any additional images to the sidebar

After this we diverge:

  1. Select all image thumbnails in the sidebar (select one by clicking, then Command-A)
  2. File > Export Selected Images...
  3. Select or create a folder to hold your temporary images, set Format to PDF, and click Choose
  4. Close all original images
  5. Open the LAST exported PDF in Preview (this will become the last page)
  6. Drag all the other exported PDFs to the sidebar and drop ON TOP of the thumbnail for the exported PDF you just opened
  7. This should create a multipage PDF with the images in the same order they were in the Finder. Rename it so you can find it easily, save and you're done.
  • This method worked very well for me. The Accepted Answer is very convenient, but as @Dave mentioned, doesn't work so well if your images are different sizes. The Accepted Answer's method also results in a margin around the edge of the PDF, presumably because the print dialog automatically adds a bleed edge. Also, Preview allows you to drag and drop all the other PDFs and add them to the first (or last) PDF in one fell swoop. You can also reorder the pages in the resulting PDF by dragging and dropping. – Zkoh May 22 '15 at 3:33
  • Doesn't work on Yosemite. Step 2 shows a warning alert and exits the process. – a20 Sep 23 '15 at 13:40

A much simpler way is to use the rather overlooked app Automator, that you find in the Applications folder.

This link shows exactly how: Use Automator to combine your research photos into one PDF

  • 1
    Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill May 2 '17 at 10:40

On more current versions of OSX, you may be better off using the native command line tool sips - see the answered Stack Overflow question 6349984, which converts from pdf to png. It should be far easier to script sips (which has been available since ~2009) than click multiple times within Preview.

Essentially,

sips -s format pdf input-png-file-path --out output-pdf-file-path

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