Merge PDF files with novaPDF

novaPDF is a PDF creator that allows generating PDF files from any Windows application that supports printing. This tutorial shows how to merge PDF files with novaPDF, by adding content before, after, on front of or as a background for the existing content of a PDF file.

On this page: How to insert content in an existing PDF file How to append content to an existing PDF file How to overlay content with an existing PDF file

novaPDF has the ability to merge PDF files. While regularly the PDF merging only refers to adding pages before the content of an existing file (inserting) or adding pages after the content of an existing PDF file (appending), novaPDF Professional comes with an additional option to overlay with an existing PDF. The PDF overlay option (available only in novaPDF Professional, the insert/append are available in all editions) will add the content being converted either on front of or as a background for the content of an existing PDF. The PDF overlay option is often called PDF stitching, and you can think of it as an watermarking with the content of another PDF instead of an image or text.


Different PDF merging options that novaPDF offers:

  • Insert before existing PDF file. novaPDF lets you insert content at the beginning of a PDF file, before its existing content. Example: You are preparing a brochure and you have a Powerpoint publication with 5 slides and a Word document with 3 pages. Instead of sending for printing first the Powerpoint and then the Word document, you can create a PDF file that combines the content. First use novaPDF to create a PDF from the Powerpoint. Second open the Word document and print it to novaPDF, but use the Insert before existing PDF file option and select the previously created PDF (from Powerpoint). novaPDF will insert the content of the Word document in the existing PDF file, creating a single document you can send for printing.
  • Append to existing PDF file. If you don't want to insert content at the beginning of the PDF file, you can append it (adding after the existing content) in the PDF file. Example: Excel has an issue when printing, so if you have multiple excel sheets into one document it will create a separate PDF file for each sheet. Even if there's a workaround for this (see Printing an entire Excel workbook to a single PDF file) you can do this easier using novaPDF's Append to existing PDF option. If your excel file has 3 sheets, they will be sent for printing one after the other as separate documents, but since the filename suggestion would be the same it will append each sheet to the previous PDF document.
  • PDF overlay. novaPDF Professional can add the content of an existing PDF file as the background or foreground for content being printed. Furthermore, this operation can be combined with the append/insert one. As an example, many companies require that all documents sent need to have branded headers and footers (with logo, address, ...) and they usually have a PDF template for that. If one person has an official document already created, but needs to add another page to that PDF, this can be done using the append/insert option but also in the same time adding as a background (overlaying) the PDF template to that new page, to match the format of the existing content.

How to insert content in an existing PDF file

When a new document is being printed, novaPDF can insert it before the content of an existing PDF file. There are two ways of doing this, depending on how you have the Save options configured for novaPDF.

If you want to select manually the folder where the merged PDF will be saved:

  1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers (or go to Start, type control printers and press ok). Right-click on novaPDF and select Printing Preferences
  2. In the Printing Preferences window go to the Save tab and check the Prompt extended Save dialog option. Now, each time you'll print to novaPDF you'll get a Save dialog asking you where to save the PDF and what to do after it's created.
  3. Open the document (word, notepad, wordpad, ...) whose content you want to insert into an existing PDF file. Go to File->Print, select novaPDF as the Printer and you'll see the extended Save dialog.
  4. Use the Browse button to select the PDF with which you want to do the merge and select the Insert before existing PDF file option. Press OK to create the merged PDF file.
  • merge insert flat

If you want to have documents automatically merged and saved to a specific folder:

  1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers (or go to Start, type control printers and press ok). Right-click on novaPDF and select Printing Preferences
  2. In the Printing Preferences window go to the Save tab and check the Use Predefined Settings option. Click on the Configure Save Options button.
  3. On the Configure Save Options window, select a folder where you want the PDF files to be automatically saved in. The File name macro will automatically use the name of the file being printed as the name of the resulting PDF file.
  4. In the When file exists section, make sure you select Insert before existing PDF file option. Please note that in order for the content being printed to be merged with an existing PDF file, that PDF file needs to have the same name as the one being printed, and they have to be in the same folder.
  • merge insert save flat

How to append content to an existing PDF file

When a new document is being printed, novaPDF can append it to the content of an existing PDF file. There are two ways of doing this, depending on how you have the Save options configured for novaPDF.

If you want to select manually the folder where the merged PDF will be saved:

  1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers (or go to Start, type control printers and press ok). Right-click on novaPDF and select Printing Preferences
  2. In the Printing Preferences window go to the Save tab and check the Prompt extended Save dialog option. Now, each time you'll print to novaPDF you'll get a Save dialog asking you where to save the PDF and what to do after it's created.
  3. Open the document (word, notepad, wordpad, ...) whose content you want to insert into an existing PDF file. Go to File->Print, select novaPDF as the Printer and you'll see the extended Save dialog.
  4. Use the Browse button to select the PDF with which you want to do the merge and select the Append to existing PDF file option. Press OK to create the merged PDF file.
  • merge append flat

If you want to have documents automatically merged and saved to a specific folder:

  1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers (or go to Start, type control printers and press ok). Right-click on novaPDF and select Printing Preferences
  2. In the Printing Preferences window go to the Save tab and check the Use Predefined Settings option. Click on the Configure Save Options button.
  3. On the Configure Save Options window, select a folder where you want the PDF files to be automatically saved in. The File name macro will automatically use the name of the file being printed as the name of the resulting PDF file.
  4. In the When file exists section, make sure you select Append to existing PDF file option. Please note that in order for the content being printed to be merged with an existing PDF file, that PDF file needs to have the same name as the one being printed, and they have to be in the same folder.
  • merge append save flat

How to overlay content with an existing PDF file

PDF documents overlay (could also be called PDF stitching), means that you can insert the content of a PDF file in another PDF document (either in front of the existing content or as the background for the existing one) and create a single PDF file containing the merged information. For example, if you have a PDF template branded with your company information (that shows in the header/footer) and you received other PDF documents that need to use the same template, you can overlay the new document with the existing template and create a single merged branded PDF. The PDF Overlay option is available only in novaPDF Professional Desktop or novaPDF Professional Server.

How to enable PDF overlaying:

  1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers (or go to Start, type control printers and press ok). Right-click on novaPDF and select Printing Preferences
  2. In the Printing Preferences window go to the Overlay tab and check the Enable overlay option.
  3. In the Overlay with section you have to Browse for an existing PDF file that you want to use as an overlay template for the content currently being printed. If that PDF is password protected you'll have to enter the Password for it, otherwise leave blank.
  4. Optionally, you can select what to do if the PDF you want to use as an overlay template is shorter then the content being printed:
    Nothing. If the PDF file you selected to overlay with has less pages than the file you are printing and None is selected, the resulting PDF file will use as background/foreground the content of the overlayed PDF until it reaches the last page of the overlayed PDF, after that continuing without adding content from the overlayed PDF. Example: you have a document that has 5 pages and you want to overlay it with a PDF document that has 2 pages (called let's say overlay.pdf). The resulting PDF file will have 5 pages, and on the first two the content of the overlay.pdf document will be included, on the last 3 pages the content of overlay.pdf not being included at all.
  • overlay none

Last page. If the PDF file you selected to overlay with has less pages than the file you are printing and Last Page is selected, the resulting PDF file will use as background/foreground the content of the overlayed PDF until it reaches the last page of the overlayed PDF, after that continuing to add the content from the last page of the overlayed PDF only. Example: you have a document that has 5 pages and you want to overlay it with a PDF document that has 2 pages (called let's say overlay.pdf). The resulting PDF file will have 5 pages. On the first page, it will include the content of page 1 from overlay.pdf, on the second page it will include the content of page 2 from overlay.pdf and for the last 3 pages it will continue to include the content from page 2 of overlay.pdf (because it is the last page).

  • overlay lpage

Continuous. If the PDF file you selected to overlay with has less pages than the file you are printing and Continuous is selected, the resulting PDF file will add continuously as background/foreground the content of the overlayed PDF until it reaches the end of the resulting pdf. Example: you have a document that has 5 pages and you want to overlay it with a PDF document that has 2 pages (called overlay.pdf). The resulting PDF file will have 5 pages. On the first page, it will include the content of page 1 from overlay.pdf, on the second page it will include the content of page 2 from overlay.pdf, on the third page it will include the content of page 1 from overlay.pdf, on the fourth page it will include page 2 from overlay.pdf and on the last page it will include page 1 from overlay.pdf (overlay.pdf is added continuously always starting with the first page).

  • overlay cont

5. The As background option is selected by default, if you want to use the current overlay template as foreground just uncheck it. Click OK to save the current options and close the Printing Preferences window. Now each time you'll create a PDF file using this profile, the created PDF will have as foreground/background the PDF template you chose to overlay with. You can disable the Overlay option by going back to the Printing Preferences - Overlay and uncheck the Enable Overlay option.

novaPDF offers a complete PDF merging solution, because not only you can insert/append to an existing PDF file, but you can combine these operations with the PDF overlay one.

Applies to:

  • novaPDF Printer 6.x or higher
  • Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, 7

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