Friday Q&A: Splitting PDF files

Q. Because I have limited dexterity in my hands I have trouble turning the pages of book or magazine, so it is a real boon to me being able to get MacFormat as a PDF file. Before the full magazine became available I was able to select the articles that were of greatest interest to me. I know I can bookmark relevant pages or articles in Preview, and I am already getting quite a list! Can you tell me the best way to select and save particular articles. I can copy one page and then select ‘New from clipboard’ under the file menu, but if I select more than one page (sometimes two), Preview quits. This happens on my iMac and my MacBook Pro, both with OS 10.6.
David Rotheram

A. There is an open source utility called PDF Split and Merge available at http://preview.tinyurl. com/crx9v3, which I think should solve your problem. The wider question of why Preview is crashing is harder to solve. It seems to be a bug introduced in Snow Leopard and I can offer two workarounds that seem, if not to completely cure this bug, then at least reduce its frequency. Try having just one file open in Preview at a time. And if that doesn’t help, when you open the Save dialog, try waiting for the file chooser to fully populate all the files in the current folder before you hit OK. The fact that both of these have been reported as possible fixes suggests that this is a memory allocation bug of some kind in Preview.

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This question originally appeared in issue 221 of MacFormat, the UK’s best selling Apple magazine.

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