How to Combine InDesign Files

InDesign is a graphic design package for multi or single page document use. Sometimes you may have to combine or add in new pages to a document. Let’s look at how we do that.

InDesign files can be combined (merged) together within the page’s window view. Single or multiple pages can be joined using the move tool or by click and drag and drop.

Working on documents in InDesign can involve small page numbers or very large ones. You may have to insert pages in a certain place or you may be adding sections (ie Book Chapters) together. We want to make sure the pages end up in the correct place so it’s important to follow the correct procedure.

Joining Two Documents

You may have multiple files to join together but it sometimes can get confusing if you have more than two documents open at any one time to join.
At least until you get used to the process here is how I recommend it.

Option 1

Using the Move Pages Tool
Open your Main Document.

Then open the Document you want to add.

In the second document open your Pages Window. (Top Bar – Windows – Pages)

Here you should be able to see all the pages or spreads within your document. Select the pages (it may be one or several) that you wish to move.

In the top right corner, there is a hamburger symbol.
Click on this and scroll down to Move Pages

A new dialog box appears.
Here it will say which pages you have selected.

In the Move To Drop down, your second open document will be listed. Select this.
In the Destination Tab, you can select where exactly your pages are going to be inserted within your original opened document.

Click OK.

Your selected pages are now within your first document exactly where you want them to be.

Note: Be careful about page numbers, left and right orientation.

Option 2

Grab and Drop

For this method, you must have both documents open and visible. Click at the top of the document (where the Name of your file is) and drop it onto the desktop. You should now be able to see both documents open in front of you.

Select the pages that you wish to move. Click on them in the pages window, hold down the mouse and drag and drop them on the second document.

You should see a little hand and page icon if things are going to plan.

In this dialog box there is an extra little box:
‘Delete Pages After Inserting’

If you check this box it will delete the pages from the file you are moving them ‘FROM’.
I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are 100% certain. You can always delete them afterward when you are sure your new file is perfect.

Making a Book

The other alternative to combining files is to Make a Book.
This is not necessarily joining files together but more creating a file structure that has individual sections or chapters.

Each section remains its own file within the Book Panel.

To create a Book File go to the top of InDesign.

File – New – Book

You will be asked to Save your new document first. I recommend that you place all relevant files within the same folder along with your Book File.

When you click OK a Dialog Box appears. You will then see the book panel on your InDesign pasteboard.

Click on the + Symbol. This allows you to add all your chapter/section files.

This will bring you back to your folder where you have all your individual files or chapters. This is why it’s a good idea to have all your files together as you can select them all at once.

As you add them you will notice it automatically counts the document pages for you.

If you need to move sections around just click and drag up or down. When you have all the chapters placed.
Click on the Save Icon.

This feature means you’re not dealing with what might be a massive file running hundreds of pages. (Which can cause file corruption, and we don’t need that!)
However, it is very IMPORTANT that you work on your files through the Book Panel. Otherwise, they will not sync and your book will be a mess.

The best feature of the Book Document is that you can create a single (or partial) PDF from your Book File. So even though all your files are separate, you can still generate a single PDF.

Click on the Hamburger icon, the top right. Scroll to ‘Export Book to PDF’.

This will create one PDF document. You can also select fewer files, by clicking and holding shift in the Book Panel, and following the same procedure as before, this time selecting ‘Selective Export to PDF’.
This is handy if only part of your document is finished and ready to be proofed.

So we have dealt with joining files together into one document and also joining files but keeping them separate in blocks or chapters.
I hope one of the three options works for you.

You might find it helpful to read an article I wrote on Pages in a Magazine – How Many Pages should a Magazine Have?

I’ve written a lot on common InDesign issues, which might help you on your InDesign journey:

Why is My InDesign PDF so large?

How Can I Tell if PDF is CMYK?

PDF Won’t Export InDesign. Here’s how to fix it!

If you are curious about other Tips check out our Graphic Design Tips page

Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on

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