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How to Delete Pages From a PDF File

December 29, 2021

Since its origin in 1992, Portable Document Format (known more commonly by the abbreviation PDF) has become a widely used format for a huge variety of electronic media. PDFs are universally compatible and secure files. 

But, this reliable structure causes PDF files to be difficult to modify. 

Still, there are a wide range of options when it comes to editing PDFs. With the right tools and tricks, you’ll no longer have to wonder - why can’t I make simple changes to my PDF files?

This article will address the most efficient way to delete pages from a PDF file using a variety of easily accessible tools. 

Why Delete Pages from PDF Files?

The need to delete pages from PDF files arises due to the nature of the files themselves. The main purpose of PDF files since their creation has been for cross-platform presentation rather than editing. As time has passed, PDF has evolved to be increasingly complex with new interactive and secure features. Further, it has been adopted as an output format in a huge number of applications. However, In the majority of these applications, PDF files are usually intended to be edited either during or before their creation. 

With other formats that are more easily editable, deleting information may be as simple as highlighting the desired sections and pressing delete. But if you need to repurpose PDF files or redact certain information from them, being able to remove pages may be crucial. This is especially true when handling PDFs with many pages. There are a wide variety of different methods for editing PDF files, but when it comes to removing pages, it partly depends on what you have at hand. One of the methods below should identify itself as the most desirable option depending on your need.

The Best Ways to Delete Pages from a PDF File

Below are the four best tools that you can use to remove pages from your PDF. 

  • Adobe Acrobat 
  • Preview (MacOS)
  • Google Chrome
  • Free online PDF editors

Let’s look in more detail at each one:

Deleting Pages from a PDF Using Adobe Acrobat Pro

  1. Open your PDF in Acrobat.
  2. Find and click Organize Pages in the toolbar on the right side. The document will now appear in thumbnails (smaller images of each page).
  3. Select the pages you want to delete. To do this, simply click the thumbnail of each page that you want to delete. The border of the thumbnail will become highlighted when selected. 
  4. Click the Delete Pages icon represented by a trash can at the top of the window to remove the pages from the PDF. 

*Adobe’s free subscription (Reader) does not allow you to delete pages from PDFs. However, Adobe does offer a free 7-day trial if you’re interested in using their editing services. Just be sure to cancel your subscription in advance if you don’t want to be charged. 

Deleting Pages from a PDF Using Preview on Mac

  1. Open the PDF file using Preview (this application is typically the default on Mac unless other software has been installed).
  2. Select the pages on the left side of the screen that you want to delete by clicking on their thumbnails. In order to select more than one page at a time, you will need to press and hold Command as you click on the thumbnails.
  3. Press the Delete key on your keyboard, or click the Edit menu at the top of the screen and select Delete instead. The selected pages will then be removed from your PDF.

*All MacOS computers come with Preview.

Deleting Pages from a PDF Using Google Chrome

  1. Right click your PDF file.
  2. Under Open With, select Google Chrome.
  3. Click the Edit menu at the top of your screen and select Print. Alternatively, you can hold Command (Mac) or Control (PC) and press the P key on your keyboard. This method will also open the print menu.
  4. Under Destination choose Save to PDF
  5. In the print menu, find the Pages tab and change it from All to Custom.
  6. Enter the page numbers you want to keep separated by a comma (ex. 1,2,6,8), a range of pages (ex. 1-5), or a combination of both (ex. 1,2,4-10). 
  7. Click Save and the pages you selected will save as a copy of the original. 

*Google Chrome is free to download on both PC and MacOS.

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Deleting Pages from a PDF Using Free Online PDF Editors

There are a ton of free online PDF editors, most of which are capable of deleting pages from PDF files. However, each of these free applications will have a slightly different way of going about it and may require you to download certain software on your computer. 

Typically, these editors will also have certain limitations. For example, SmallPDF has a set amount of files that you can alter each day without a paid subscription. Small PDF works very well and doesn’t require you to download any software as it operates within your internet browser. Many free online PDF editors use this format and a quick search will reveal a bunch of options. However, not all free PDF editors allow you to work within your browser, some of them do require the installation of their software.

If you only have one or two PDFs to alter, these free tools can work quite well. However, if you have a large number of PDF files to edit, this means that you would have to use several different sites and spend a decent amount of time learning how to use them. 

Comparing Methods 

While you have numerous options for deleting pages from PDF files, they are not equally convenient. Each method has advantages and disadvantages which will be explained below. Take a look at the different methods and decide which one is the best choice for you.

Adobe: A great platform that can make any edits on PDF files possible. Still, unless you already have a paid subscription or you have a lot of PDF editing to do, it probably isn’t worth the money. Having to deal with a free trial period can also be a headache as it is easy to forget about it and be charged anyways. 

Preview: Only downside is that it’s MacOS specific. If you are only looking to delete pages from a PDF file and you are a Mac user, Preview is definitely the easiest method. Its click-and-delete method of editing matches the efficiency of Adobe without needing a paid subscription or the downloading of additional software. 

Google Chrome: Being a universally effective and free internet browser, the fact that it’s compatible with the google platforms is a huge bonus. As far as a means to remove pages from a PDF file, Google Chrome gets the job done but requires some extra steps. If you don’t already have Google Chrome downloaded it takes a bit of extra time to install it. Additionally, using the print function on Chrome requires a bit of mental gymnastics if you need to remove pages in a non-standard order. All in all, Google Chrome is a great and free option with added benefits if you already have it.

Free Online PDF Editors: These work quite well once you figure out how to use them. The main advantage being the fact that they’re free. The downfall is the amount of initial time required to find and set up these editors. Also, similar to Adobe, most offer a paid version as well and some require you to set up a trial in order to use their services. Further, like Google Chrome, a handful of free editors require the installation of software onto your computer. As mentioned above, there may be daily usage limitations as well. If you have a considerable amount of editing to do, these probably aren’t your best option. 

Limiting Factors when Deleting Pages of PDF Files 

In general, deleting pages from PDF files is a relatively simple process, but there are some instances where it is restricted. 

  • Password protection

Is the PDF you’re trying to delete pages from password protected? Regardless of the approach you use, you will need to know the password in order to open the file and remove the desired pages.

  • Read-only PDFs

As the name suggests, these PDF files can only be viewed. Without the capability to edit, you won’t be able to delete pages from a read-only PDF unless you are able to change the settings. If you can’t do it yourself, you’ll need to ask the file’s creator to change the editing settings for you.

Overview

While the process of deleting pages from a PDF file can vary greatly depending on the approach you take, it is not as complicated as you may assume! The best approach for you depends on a few factors: the amount of files you need to edit, what software you already have available, and the type of operating system that you are using.

Take all of these into consideration when deciding which method you would like to use to delete pages or organize your PDF documents! 



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