Merging Documents With Similar File Names Using AutoSplit™ Plug-in For Adobe® Acrobat®
It is often necessary to merge PDF files with similar file names into a single PDF document. For example, multiple statements belonging to the same customer/account can be combined into a single document using this simple approach. The AutoSplit plug-in provides functionality for automatic merging of multiple PDF documents into multiple output documents based on file name similarity. The following tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish this task.
Input Documents
The input folder we are going to use in this tutorial consists of the following 13 PDF files:
1. INV.TASK.0000001.0000001.pdf
2. INV.TASK.0000001.ACTION.0000654.pdf
3. INV.TASK.0000001.ACTION.0006543.pdf
4. INV.TASK.0000002.0000001.pdf
5. INV.TASK.0000002.ACTION.0000089.pdf
6. INV.TASK.0000002.ACTION.0000123.pdf
7. INV.TASK.0000002.ACTION.0022001.pdf
8. INV.TASK.0000003.0000001.pdf
9. INV.TASK.0000003.ACTION.0003034.pdf
10. INV.TASK.0000003.ACTION.0009781.pdf
11. INV.TASK.0000004.0000001.pdf
12. INV.TASK.0000004.ACTION.0000009.pdf
13. INV.TASK.0000004.ACTION.0004541.pdf
IMPORTANT: Please note that input files should not be password protected or restrict user-access rigths.
The goal is to merge all files from the input folder into the output folder by taking one input document and finding all other documents that have at least 16 (this value can be set by the user) common first characters in the file name. Output files will have the same name as a first PDF file in each group with similar names.
The following 4 output files should be created:
1. INV.TASK.0000001.0000001.pdf
2. INV.TASK.0000002.0000001.pdf
3. INV.TASK.0000003.0000001.pdf
4. INV.TASK.0000004.0000001.pdf
Merging Approach
Unlike regular document merging, there are multiple output files from this operation. Each output file is created by taking one input document and finding all other documents that have at least X common first characters in the file name. The similarity between two file names are controlled by a user-specified number of common characters. All merged documents are placed in the user-selected output folder. Merged files have the same name as a first file in group used for merging.
Files are sorted alphabetically prior to merging. The order of the files in the merged document(s) depends on the document names. The names of the output documents depend on what file name appears first in the sorted list of input files. Here is an example of merging 8 files into 2 output PDF documents:
Batch Processing Support
This operation is supported by Acrobat's batch processing framework (Action Wizard) and can be used alone or inside another batch sequences allowing you to incorporate a splitting and merging operations into your existing workflow.
You need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional along with AutoSplit™ plug-in installed on your computer in order to use this tutorial. You can download trial versions of both Adobe Acrobat and AutoSplit™.
Step 1 - Open “Merge Documents With Similar Filenames” Menu
Select “Plug-ins > Merge Documents > Merge Documents With Similar Filenames” from the main menu.
Step 2 - Specify Merging Settings
Specify an output folder via "Browse..." button.
Specify the minimum required number of common characters. In this tutorial we need to combine documents based on first 16 characters of the file name, so the number "16" is entered.
Click "Add Folder" to add all files from a specific folder or click "Add File" to add individual input files for merging.
Step 3 - Specify an Input Folder/File
Select an input folder/file.
Click "OK” once done.
Step 4 - Add More Input Folders/Files
Selected folders or files appear in the "Input Folders/Files For Merging" list.
Click “Add Folder” to add more input folders or click "Add File" to add more input files. Repeat adding input folders/files steps if necessary. Note that it is possible to add multiple files via single use of of "Add File..." button.
Step 5 - Start Merging Process
We have added the "Input Folder" to merging process. The "Input Folders/Files For Merging" box contains information about selected folder (and files if selected) and number of files in it.
Press the "Security Settings" button to password protect output PDF files with a password or restrict user access rights. Press the "Save Settings" button to save the current processing settings and the input file list into the settings file for future reuse. You can load settings from a settings file by pressing the "Load Settings" button.
Click “OK" to start merging process.
Step 6 - Examine the Results
The “AutoSplit Results” dialog appears on screen once processing is completed. It shows a list of output documents.
Click “Open Output Folder” to inspect the results.
The AutoBookmark™ plug-in has automatically created 4 output files after merging process:
1. INV.TASK.0000001.0000001.pdf that includes 3 files: INV.TASK.0000001.0000001.pdf, INV.TASK.0000001.ACTION.0000654.pdf, INV.TASK.0000001.ACTION.0006543.pdf;
2. INV.TASK.0000002.0000001.pdf that includes 4 files: INV.TASK.0000002.0000001.pdf, INV.TASK.0000002.ACTION.0000089.pdf, INV.TASK.0000002.ACTION.0000123.pdf, INV.TASK.0000002.ACTION.0022001.pdf;
3. INV.TASK.0000003.0000001.pdf that includes 3 files: INV.TASK.0000003.0000001.pdf, INV.TASK.0000003.ACTION.0003034.pdf, INV.TASK.0000003.ACTION.0009781.pdf;
4. INV.TASK.0000004.0000001.pdf that includes 3 files: INV.TASK.0000004.0000001.pdf, INV.TASK.0000004.ACTION.0000009.pdf, INV.TASK.0000004.ACTION.0004541.pdf.
Step 7 - Check Report File
The plug-in automatically creates detailed report file in HTML format that shows what files have been used to created output documents.