Using a Control File to Merge All PDFs into a Single Document inside Folder(s)
In this tutorial, we will look at how to merge all PDF files within a folder, into one or more PDF documents using a special control file. The goal is to take multiple folders that contain PDF documents, merge all files within them, and place the output merged files in a different folder location.
Doing this manually for the contents of one folder at a time can be a slow process. AutoSplit™ offers a way to quickly execute this procedure on the contents on multiple folders at once. This method uses a control file - a plain text file that contains instructions for the plug-in to locate the desired folders, combine all files within them, and place the output in a specific folder location.
input/output folders
merged folder content
Use any plain text editor (such as Notepad) to create a control file. Alternatively, it can be configured using a template format (see step 2 below). There is no limit for the number of output files that can be merged using this method. This operation is also available as a batch command as part of Acrobat's "Action Wizard" tool.
You need a copy of Adobe® Acrobat® along with the AutoSplit™ plug-in installed on your computer in order to use this tutorial. Both are available as trial versions.
Step 1 - Open the Tool
Open Adobe® Acrobat® and select “Plug-ins > Merge Documents > Merge Multiple Documents Using Control File...” from the main menu to open the "Merge Multiple Documents Using Control File" dialog.
open the tool
Step 2 - Create a New Control File
Optionally press "Select Control File..." to load a saved control file.
Press "New Control File..." to create a control file using the template provided.
create new control file
Use this dialog to configure the control file. The control file is a collection of keywords (used to define processing options) and file names. The minimum requirements for the control file are: instructions for the input folder(s), an output folder, and a list of all documents to be merged to create at least one output PDF file. After listing one output folder (2nd line below), it is only necessary to list new input folders and the names of files to be merged on the following lines:
inputfolder=input folder file path for 1st output file
outputfolder=output folder file path for ALL output files
file names of files to merge>1st output file name
inputfolder=input folder file path for 2nd output file
file names of files to merge>2nd output file name
inputfolder=input folder file path for 3rd output file
file names of files to merge>3rd output file name
Using the example shown below, the plug-in will merge all PDF files in folders Files1/Files2/Files3 by using a "*.pdf" wildcard, into files named “File1.pdf”, “File2.pdf”, and “File3.pdf”. All three output files will be placed into "c:\data\OutputFiles".
Enter all necessary input/output parameters using the template provided.
Press the "Control File Help..." button in the bottom left corner of the dialog for further details about the available keywords that can be included in the control file.
Press "OK" to proceed.
configure control file
Step 3 - Save the Control File
You will now be prompted to save the new control file. Choose a suitable folder and optionally name the file before pressing "Save". The default filename is "Merge Control File". It will be saved with a *.mergefile extension.
save control file
Step 4 - Run the Procedure
The selected control file will now be visible in the preview box. Press "OK" to execute the procedure.
run the procedure
A progress bar opens while processing files:
progress box
A report box then displays the number of output files. Press "OK" to close it and open a HTML processing report.
close report box
The processing report will be opened in the default web browser. It displays details of all output files, and the input files that were merged together to create them.
view processing report
Step 5 - Inspect the Results
Open the output folder specified within the control file (c:\data\OutputFiles). All merged files have been placed here - open one to check it.
view output files
All PDF's from the "Files1" folder have been merged together. Bookmarks for each file have been auto-added to simplify document navigation:
inspect merged pages
input folder contents
Control File Syntax
Please see the following tutorial for details on control file syntax.
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