Merge Multiple PDF Documents into A Single PDF – An iOS 15 Tutorial
Shortcuts keeps getting better and better and with iOS 15 you can do even more automation. In this tutorial I show you how easy it is to put together a shortcut which merges multiple PDF documents. To use it you select the PDF documents in the Files application and use the Share Sheet to activate the shortcut. I’ve set this up so that all you have to do is to add a name for the file. It’s also possible to use a default name and for you to choose where you want the file to be saved.
Making shortcuts, for the most part, is very simple indeed. You drag and drop actions into the shortcut. In this shortcut we need an ‘ask for data’ action which pops up a window asking for us to give a name for the file. In the shortcut we can then get the date and format it. Later in the shortcut we can grab these as magic variables in order to name the file. It’s a simple case of choosing the merge PDF action and then following that up with an action to save the file. We end the shortcut with a cherry on the top when we rename the saved file. Job done, quick and efficient.
Tutorial on YouTube
Why Automate with Shortcuts or Other Automation Tool
The main idea with shortcuts is that if there’s something you do regularly, you can save time by automating the process. It might be you only save four or five seconds each time you use it. If you’re using the shortcut frequently though, those seconds will soon add up to productivity benefits. Sometimes using automation is not about speed and saving time. Many times the deciding factor in using a shortcut automation to get things done is to provide repeatability. As a user you don’t have to think about what you need to do and how to do it. You just have to select your shortcut from the share menu and the job gets done just the same as the last time you asked it to do it and the time before that.
Using Shortcuts on the Mac
At the time of writing this blog and of creating the video this shortcut does not work on the Mac. It is still early days with the application Shortcuts for Mac and I expect we will have to wait until it matures into a proper automation beast. For the moment if you want to append pages from one PDF to another it’s possible to do this using the application Preview. I haven’t looked yet, but I suspect it also may be possible to create an automation using AppleScript, Automator or Keyboard Maestro to merge PDF documents.