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3 Ways to Unmerge a PDF

When multiple PDFs are merged together, they seamlessly become book-like, with all pages located within a single PDF document. In fact, to the end user, they might not even know that the single PDF file was once two or more separate PDFs. Merging PDFs is useful if you’re transporting a lot of information over the internet, but sometimes it’s necessary to “unmerge” those pages into separate PDFs once they’ve been sent. On the other hand there are times when you might want to separate very large PDFs into smaller “chapters,” just to make them easier to file, organize and digest. So, how do you unmerge that PDF? 

This article will cover how to unmerge PDFs using an online tool that you can access through your web browser. Through this article, you’ll learn what it means to unmerge a PDF and how to easily do it online. 

What Does It Mean to Unmerge a PDF?

When multiple PDFs are merged, which you can do using PDF.Live’s merge tool, they are combined into a single document. For example, using PDF.Live’s merge tool, you can upload two or more separate PDFs and combine them into a single document. All the pages from those two (or more) PDFs will be in one, new PDF. This single document contains all the previous pages and can be sent to anyone without additional file downloads. 

And so, when you unmerge a PDF, you split that one PDF into multiple components. Think of it as packing a moving truck full of furniture, clothes, and other belongings. All that stuff is stored in a single space so it can be easily transported. Then, when it arrives at its destination, you “unmerge” that truck as you unpack. 

This is how unmerging a PDF works. It’s fairly simple to do online, either on your own or with a guided tool. 

How Do You Unmerge a PDF Online?

There are three methods we’re going to cover for unmerging a PDF online. 

Unmerge by Deleting Pages

One of the simplest ways to “unmerge” a PDF is to create copies of the original and delete pages from the new one. To illustrate, let’s say we have a 60-page PDF called kayaking.pdf that we want to break into two, smaller PDFs, one with 15 pages and one with 45 pages.

  1. Make a copy of the original file, kayaking.pdf, by right-clicking and selecting Duplicate, if you’re on an Apple, or Copy or Open as copy if you’re on a Windows PC. 
  2. Name the new file. For our example, we’ll name it kayaking-15-page.pdf.
  3. Rename the original file. For our example, we’ll rename kayaking.pdf to kayaking-45-page.pdf.
  4. Open the 15-page PDF in any reader or using’s editing tool. Delete the 45 pages that you don’t want.
  5. Do the same for the 45-page PDF; delete the 15 pages you don’t want. 

For more tips on deleting pages from a PDF, read our related post.

Unmerge a PDF using PDF.Live

  1. Upload your PDF to the PDF.Live editor. Select Edit PDFClick and drag your PDF to the PDF Live online editor to unmerge pages from the pdf.
  2. On the left-hand side of PDF.Live, click View page thumbnails and reorder pages. on the left side of the pdf live editor, select View page thumbnails and re-order pages

This will allow you to view and manage the individual pages of your PDF. You can change the order that the pages of your PDF are in if you want to unmerge specific sections of your PDF, or even delete pages if you want to get rid of them entirely. 

  1. Click Print and then select a range, or the current page, that you’d like to unmerge from the rest of your PDF. This may seem confusing, and we’re not sure why the “create PDF” function is always buried within “print” functions in nearly every software application (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Excel to name a few) … but it is. On the right side of the PDF Live editor, find the Print icon and follow the prompts to unmerge your PDF

Change Destination to Save as PDF

This will allow you to download a new PDF that contains only the pages you unmerged from the rest of your document. However — and this is important — the original PDF will remain unchanged. If you want to remove those pages, go back to the PDF editor, and simply delete the pages you want to unmerge.

The unmerge PDF feature is just one of the many tools that PDF.Live has for managing, editing, and creating PDFs online. PDF.Live’s tools are free to try out and offer affordable monthly subscriptions for unlimited access.

Unmerge a PDF Using Your Web Browser or PDF Reader

  1. Open your PDF using a web browser or PDF reader. 
  2. Select PrintFrom the right side of your panel, select Print and then follow the steps to save as pdf and unmerge pages.

When selecting print, a dialogue box will open up with a few print settings. Although you could use this to print a physical version of your document, we’ll be using it to download a new version of your PDF. Therefore, select Microsoft Print to PDF or otherwise Print as PDF

  1. In the Pages area, select Custom

Here, you’ll designate a page range that you’re going to print your new PDF as. Remember — we aren’t printing a physical version of the PDF, but rather downloading a new version of the PDF on our computer. 

If you combine two PDFs into one and know that pages 1-3 are PDF #1 and pages 4-6 are PDF #2, you can print two separate documents with page ranges 1-3 and 4-6. 

While this method is effective, and free, it is a bit tedious. We’ll also show you how to unmerge a PDF using PDF.Live’s online PDF management tools. PDF.Live’s tools function entirely in your web browser, meaning there are no additional downloads required to use our services.