I am about to order custom playing cards from a manufacturer. The directions are:


When uploading:

  • Convert text to outline
  • Remove template lines before saving
  • Keep the provided file dimensions
  • Use 300 dpi as native resolution
  • Apply FOGRA 39 color profile
  • Avoid cropping marks and color reference bars

I have 56 cards and Illustrator CS5.1 has a limit of 100 artboards, so I have to split in multiple files for design and assemble the files back for upload.

When I append two PDFs in Preview, two files of 2 MB become one file of 180 MB. I'm not sure it respects the color profile and the symbols either.

How can I append two PDF files generated with Adobe Illustrator for upload to a manufacturer?


When I save from AI to PDF, I uncheck the ability to preserve Illustrator editing capabilities.

  • 1
    Are you exporting your PDF with Illustrator capabilities? That is going to make a very large file. If you want to combine PDF files, you could use Adobe Reader and then use Organize Page tool to insert another PDF. Depending on file setup, it may be easier to use Data Merge instead of making a 100 artboards or using InDesign.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 20:39
  • @AndrewH I updated the question. Adobe Reader is an option, yes. What is Data Merge?
    – emonigma
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 21:29
  • 4
    Do yourself a favor.. forget "Preview" exists on your system. Use Acrobat for all PDF endeavors.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 21:31
  • I installed Adobe Acrobat Pro and it fixed the issue. I was able to combine files and keep the file size at half the sum of the individual files. @AndrewH can you write an answer?
    – emonigma
    Commented Apr 9, 2022 at 7:24

2 Answers 2


You can combine multiple PDF files using Adobe Reader or Acrobat Pro (which has a 7-day free trial).

Search "Organize Pages" un the tools search bar.

Organize Page

Click on Insert -> From File to add the second PDF file.

From File

You can also use "Combine PDFs", which works the same way.


Illustrator has an "Embed Color profiles" that lets you embed the provided Color profile.

You can use it with EditAssign Color Profile. When you save the document, the Color profile would be embedded in the file. Thus when Adobe Acrobat merges your PDF, it should preserve the profile.

Once the PDF is merged by Adobe acrobat, you can open that PDF as a single file to confirm whether the profile is present or not.

  • I’ve updated my answer Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 14:17
  • 1
    I believe I also need to set an option to embed all color profiles when I save the AI file as a PDF: in the Save as PDF dialog, it's at Output > Color > Profile Inclusion Policy: Include All Profiles. Otherwise, if I open the PDF again in Illustrator, I don't see a color profile assigned. And what happens if the files to be combined have different color profiles?
    – emonigma
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 15:41

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