11 Best PDF Splitter Tools & Methods

Split a PDF to make smaller parts or separate pages

Illustration of a PDF splitter
Icon made by Dimitry Miroliubov from www.flaticon.com

A PDF splitter is used to splice a PDF file into pieces. You might split PDF pages if you only want one or two (or more) pages from the document and the rest to be removed, or if the PDF is too large for whatever you want it for.

PDF splitting might sound like a complicated procedure but it's actually very easy to do. There are several online PDF splitters and offline programs that can split PDFs in just a few clicks. In fact, you might even already have a program installed on your computer that can split PDFs into multiple files.

How PDF Splitting Works

Most of the PDF page separators below give you a few options to split the PDF: "explode" the document into multiple files where each page of the original becomes its own PDF, extract one (or more) specific pages from the PDF, or delete particular parts of the PDF so you're left with just the portion of the original that you want.

When extracting specific pages from the PDF, you're often given the option to split the PDF in half so that one PDF holds the first half of the pages and the other has the second half. For example, you could split a 100-page PDF in half so that you have two separate PDFs, each with 50 pages.

Another way these PDF separators work is by letting you split the PDF by picking a range of pages. Maybe your PDF has 225 pages but you only want pages 10–50 and 223–225. In this scenario, you'd split the PDF into two separate PDFs, both containing only the pages you chose to extract. Some PDF splitters even let you merge your split page ranges—in this example, the PDF would just contain pages 10 through 225, with 1–9 and 51–222 removed.

A few of the better PDF splitters can also split the document by size, a perfect solution if your PDF is too large to upload to a website, send over email, etc. Just choose the size you want each PDF piece to be and the program will split the PDF into as many pieces as necessary to ensure that each file is under the size you've specified.

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Screenshot of the iLovePDF website for splitting PDFs
iLovePDF.

The iLovePDF website is one of the easier ways to split a PDF’s pages online, into separate, individual PDFs. You can upload a PDF from your computer or via your Dropbox or Google Drive account.

When you choose your PDF, you have two options, to either split the PDF by page ranges or to extract all the pages from the PDF. 

The “Split by ranges” option also lets you merge all of the extracted ranges into one PDF, essentially removing some pages out of the original PDF but leaving everything else (the pages you chose) intact.

The “Extract all pages” option at iLovePDF is self-explanatory: every page will be extracted into its own PDF. For example, if your PDF has 254 pages, you’ll get a ZIP file of 254 PDFs.

What we like:

  • You can use it to save one page of a PDF, a set of pages, or every single page
  • PDFs can be uploaded and saved back to your computer, Dropbox account, or Google Drive account
  • Conversions are really fast
  • It’s free and works from any web browser on any computer

What we don’t like:

  • The page previews aren’t very big, so you can’t easily confirm that the pages you’re choosing are the ones you actually want to extract
  • No explicit option to delete just a few pages
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Screenshot of the Sejda free online PDF splitter website
Sejda.

Sejda’s free online PDF splitter is very similar to iLovePDF but lets you preview all the pages before you extract them. In addition to loading PDFs from your computer, Dropbox, or Google account, this website can also import PDFs by URL.

Once the document is uploaded to Sejda, you have four options for how you want to split up the PDF pages. You can either extract every page to a separate PDF, select which pages you want to split, split every so-many pages, or split every even page.

All of these PDF splitting options are easy to understand except for the “Split every X pages” option. You’d use this one if you wanted every PDF to be a specific number of pages. For example, if you have a 12-page PDF, you could split every two pages to make six separate PDFs.

What we like:

  • Has several options for splitting PDFs
  • Lets you split an online PDF using its URL
  • Supports large page previews
  • You can rename the result before you download it
  • The result can be downloaded to Dropbox, Google Drive, or your computer
  • Works with all browsers and operating systems

What we don't like:

  • PDFs have to be 200 pages or less
  • PDFs can not be larger than 50 MB
  • Limits PDF splitting to three per hour
  • Selecting the pages you want to split can be confusing
Screenshot of Google Chrome saving select pages from a PDF
Google Chrome.

If you use the Google Chrome web browser, you can easily use it as a PDF separator to save just one page (or a range of pages) to a PDF file. 

Because Google Chrome functions as a PDF printer, it means you can “print” any file to a PDF file and save it to your computer. Since Chrome can also open and read PDFs, you can combine these two into an easy-to-use PDF splitter feature.

Here’s how to split specific pages from a PDF with Chrome:

  1. Either open the PDF online using its URL or with the Ctrl+O (Windows) or Command+O (Mac) keyboard shortcut to open a local PDF from your computer.
  2. Choose to print the page like you would normally print in Chrome to save a paper copy, but don't actually print it! Use the Change… button to change the “Destination” to be “Save as PDF”.
  3. Next to the “Pages” option, remove the bubble selection next to All and change it to the other one with the text box. Type the pages you want to split from the PDF. For example, to save just the second page from the PDF, you’d type 2.

You can also print other pages at the same time, and even entire ranges of pages—just separate everything with commas. Another example where Chrome would split the PDF so as to save only pages two and four through six, would be to type 2,4-6.

What we like:

  • Quick to use if you already have Chrome installed
  • Provides really large page previews
  • Lets you extract a single page from the PDF or an entire range of pages

What we don’t like:

  • Pages split away from the PDF are always merged into one PDF file (to make multiple PDFs, you have to "print" several times, each time choosing a different page)
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Screenshot of the Smallpdf online PDF splitter option
Smallpdf.

Smallpdf is similar to the other online PDF splitters above but has a lot more options if you want to do more with your PDF than just cut out some pages. You can keep your PDF online and do all sorts of neat things with it.

After uploading your PDF, you have two very easy-to-understand choices when it comes to PDF splitting: extract every page into a separate PDF or select which pages to extract to make a custom PDF.

If you pick the option to make individual PDFs from every page of the PDF, you can download each page separately, get all of them in a neatly organized ZIP file, and rotate the PDF pages. 

If selecting individual pages to separate from the PDF, you get to see a preview of the pages and select which ones you want. Some PDF splitters make this harder than it has to be but Smallpdf does it really well.

Once you split the PDF, extracting out the pages you don't want, you can even convert the PDF to Word, compress it, merge it with other PDFs, and edit it on the Smallpdf website.

Another unique feature in Smallpdf is that you can merge some of your PDF pages with select pages from a different PDF. This is perfect if you need to attach together certain pages from multiple PDFs and want to avoid the middle processes of extracting and merging.

What we like:

  • Very easy to understand and use
  • Has multiple options to split PDFs
  • Opens PDFs from (and save them to) your computer or Dropbox account
  • Includes lots of other free PDF tools
  • Runs in any browser on any OS

What we don't like:

  • Only lets you process two PDFs every hour
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PDF to PNG (or JPG)

Screenshot of the PDF to PNG website
PDF to PNG.

Use PDF to PNG if you want to separate your PDF into PNG files instead of PDFs. There's also the PDF to JPG website to split the PDF into JPGs.

These websites essentially split every page from the PDF and then convert each page to an image format.

There are no custom options here—just an upload button and a download button. Downloads are saved to the ZIP format.

What we like:

  • Can split up to 20 PDFs at once
  • Saves PDF pages to two of the most popular image formats
  • Works with any browser on any operating system

What we don’t like:

  • Automatically extracts every page from the PDF instead of specific ones you choose
  • No option to combine multiple PDF pages into a single image
Screenshot of the PDFsam PDF splitter program in Windows 10
PDFsam.

PDFsam is a free PDF editing suite that merges, extracts, rotates, and splits PDFs. The PDF split options are almost identical to the ones in Adobe Acrobat (below), but this program is 100% free to use.

You can split the PDF after every page so that you get a separate PDF for each page in the document. You can also split the PDF at every even or odd page.

PDFsam can split the PDF into two separate PDFs, too, by choosing a page number. This will create one PDF with all the pages before the number you choose and another with every page after it.

Another option is to have the PDF split by every “n” page. This is similar to the even/odd option but gives more options. For example, if you have a PDF with 100 pages in it, and you choose to split it after every 7 pages, you’ll get 15 PDFs—14 with 7 pages and another with two.

If your PDF has bookmarks or is too large, use the “Split by bookmarks” or “Split by size” option. 

To extract specific pages out of the PDF, use the “Extract” option and pick which pages, or ranges of pages, you want to export to a new PDF.

What we like:

  • Really easy to use
  • Several split options
  • Can choose a different PDF version for the outputted file
  • Supports command line usage
  • Works with all operating systems

What we don’t like:

  • You can’t preview the PDF pages from inside the PDFsam program (unless you pay for it)
Screenshot showing how to split a PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Just like PDFsam, Adobe Acrobat is an excellent way to split PDFs into multiple parts. You get to choose to split by the number of pages, by the file size, or by the top-level bookmarks. 

For example, if you have a 6-page PDF that you want to split so that each document has only two pages, you can pick 2 as the “Number of pages” to split the PDF by and Adobe Acrobat will make three parts to the PDF, each one containing two pages (to make up the six total pages).

Adobe Acrobat also makes it easy to send really large PDFs over email or to upload them to websites that don’t accept big PDFs. Use the “File Size” option to split the PDF into pieces that are small enough to be accepted wherever it is you’re using it.

The PDF split option in Adobe Acrobat is in the Tools menu—choose the Organize Pages option and then select which PDF you want to split. In older versions of Adobe Acrobat, use the Tools > Pages > Split Document option.

What we like:

  • Lets you split more than one PDF at once
  • Can split PDFs into smaller sizes

What we don’t like:

  • Adobe Acrobat is not free
  • Can be confusing to use because of all the other options
Screenshot of the PDF split option in Microsoft Word 2013
Microsoft Word.

If you already own Microsoft Word, it's super easy to use it as a PDF splitter. However, if you don't, there's no need to purchase Word just to use it as a splitter when there are better (and free) options out there.

The way it works is that you have to first open the PDF in Word for editing. When it's time to save the PDF and choose which pages to keep, you'll essentially be splitting the PDF.

Here's how:

  1. Use the File > Open menu to find the PDF.

    It might be easier to find the PDF if you change the file extension drop-down option to PDF Files (*.pdf).
  2. If you see a message about Word having to convert the PDF into an editable document, choose OK.

    Depending on the size of your PDF, amount of text, and number of pages, this could take quite a while.

    Tip: Before continuing, you can use this time to edit the PDF while it's in the DOCX format.
  3. Hit the F12 key to open the Save As dialog box.

    Note: Another way to open this window is to navigate to the File > Save As menu and click or touch the More options... link under the save options (in Word 2016), or use the Browse button (older versions of Word).
  4. Decide where to save the new document. Give it a different name if you're saving it to the same location as the original PDF.
  5. In the "Save as type:" drop-down menu, pick PDF (*.pdf).
  6. Use the Options... button to open the Options dialog box.
  7. In the "Pange range" area at the top, select the bubble next to Page(s).
  8. Decide how you want Word to split the PDF. To just extract one page from the PDF and remove all the others, type the same page number in both text boxes, otherwise pick a range of pages to keep.
  9. Click or touch the OK button.
  10. Select the Save button back on the Save As dialog box. You can now exit Word—you don't need to save the changes to the DOCX file Word created during Step 2.

What we like:

  • No need to download anything new if you already have MS Word installed
  • It's easy to know what each page looks like before splitting the PDF
  • Lets you edit the PDF at the same time

What we don't like:

  • MS Word isn't free
  • The PDF needs to be converted to text first (which usually drastically affects the overall formatting of the document)
  • Only works on Windows and Mac
Screenshot of the PDFelement 6 Professional program's PDF split options
PDFelement 6 Professional.

PDFelement Professional is another full-fledged PDF editing suite that isn't free but does provide tons of options for editing, compressing, protecting, and splitting a PDF, among other things.

With your PDF open, go to the Page tab and use the Split option to see a similar screen to what you see above. You get to split the document by number of pages or by top-level bookmarks.

If you use the Extract option instead, you can pick which pages from the PDF should be saved, which will remove the absent pages from the PDF. Or, just right-click and delete any pages you want gone.

You can also use PDFelement to rotate specific pages in a PDF, join pages together to make a single image, replace or add pages with ones from another PDF, insert blank pages, print specific pages, extract form data, add a password, crop the PDF pages, save PDF pages to several file formats (images, Excel, Word, TXT, HWP, etc.), and more.

What we like:

  • Self-explanatory options
  • Large page previews
  • Multiple PDF splitting options
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Lots of tools to do other PDF-related tasks
  • Works with Windows and Mac computers

What we don't like:

  • Is not free (the trial puts a watermark on all PDFs)
  • Only supports two operating systems
  • All the options can be overwhelming if you're just wanting to split the PDF
Screenshot of the PDF Split & Merge program in Windows 10
PDF Split & Merge.

This program takes the guessing out of what will happen when you select certain options. Just choose the Split option on the main window and the pick from any of the four PDF split options.

Every option has a short explanation in the program, clearly explaining what will happen if you follow through with that option. This isn't common in PDF splitters or other PDF editing programs, so that's something to think about if you go with this program.

You can save every page to a separate PDF, group pages together to split the PDF into chunks, pick which pages should be deleted from the PDF, and split the PDF into groups of so-many pages.

Besides adding a password to the PDF and being able to merge multiple PDF pages together, this program only functions as a PDF splitter—perfect if you don't want to mess around with tons of other editing options.

What we like:

  • Straight and to the point; easy to use
  • Multiple PDF splitting options
  • Gives large previews of the pages
  • Runs on Windows and macOS

What we don't like:

  • This program is only free during a trial period
  • No Linux version
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Screenshot of the A-PDF Split program in Windows 10
A-PDF Split.

Like the name implies, A-PDF Split is a PDF splitter. There isn't much to this program except for PDF splitting abilities, but it does it well and has a few unique features worth noting.

For starters, this program works much like the others in this list. You can pick a page range to split the PDF by, make a separate PDF for every page in the document, or split it after every so-many pages. If there are bookmarks embedded, you can split the PDF by those, too.

A-PDF Splitter can also extract certain pages from the PDF to separate them from the original file, or you can choose which pages to remove.

The "Advanced Define" option is the same as a multiple range option in the other PDF splitters above, just in an "advanced" part of the program. So, you can use it to split pages 1–4 and 8–15, for example, to quickly remove the middle few pages.

In the settings is an option to enable the right-click context menu option to easily open PDFs in this program.

What we like:

  • Simple interface
  • Multiple ways to split the PDF
  • Runs on macOS and Windows

What we don't like:

  • Isn't free
  • Doesn't include a built-in PDF viewer to see which pages you're working with