10 Best PDF Splitter Tools & Methods

Split a PDF to make smaller parts or separate pages

A PDF splitter is used to splice a PDF file into pieces. You might do this 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.

This might sound like a complicated procedure, but it's actually very easy to do. There are several online and offline options that work in just a few clicks. In fact, you might even already have a program installed on your computer that can do the job.

How PDF Splitting Works

Most of the picks from our list below give you a few options: "explode" the document into multiple files where each page of the original becomes its own PDF, extract one (or more) specific pages, 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 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 document so that you have two separate PDFs, each with 50 pages.

Another way these separators work is by letting you pick a range of pages. Maybe your file has 225 pages, but you only want pages 10–50 and 223–225. In this scenario, you'd split into two separate PDFs, both containing only the pages you chose to extract. Some splitters even let you merge your split page ranges—for this, 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 cut the document by size, a perfect solution if yours is too large to upload to a website, send over email, etc. Just choose the size you want each 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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Extract all pages from PDF option on ilovepdf
What We Like
  • Save one page, a set, or every single page.

  • Get and save PDFs between Dropbox or Google Drive.

  • Fast conversions.

  • Runs in any browser on any computer.

What We Don't Like
  • Small previews; can’t easily confirm which pages are which.

  • No explicit option to delete just a few pages.

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

The Custom ranges option also lets you merge all 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 is self-explanatory: every page will be extracted into its own PDF. For example, if there are 254 pages, you’ll get a ZIP file of 254 PDFs.

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Sejda free online PDF splitter website
What We Like
  • Several options.

  • Choose a PDF by URL.

  • Large page previews.

  • Rename the result before you download it.

  • Works with all browsers and operating systems.

What We Don't Like
  • PDF can't exceed 200 pages.

  • PDF must be smaller than 50 MB.

  • Limited to three jobs per hour.

  • Selecting pages can be confusing.

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, OneDrive, or Google account, this website can also import PDFs by URL.

Once the document is uploaded, you have four options: extract every page to a separate PDF, select which pages to split, split every so-many pages, or split every even page.

Files uploaded to this site are auto-deleted after two hours.

All these splitting options are easy to understand, except for “Split every X pages.” 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.

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Google Chrome

Chrome's print to PDF option
What We Like
  • Ideal if you already use Chrome.

  • Provides really large page previews.

  • Extract a single page or a range.

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).

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

Since Chrome functions as a PDF printer, you can “print” any file to a document 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. Open the PDF using its URL or with the Ctrl+O (Windows) or Command+O (Mac) keyboard shortcut to open a local file from your computer.
  2. Choose to print the page as you would normally print in Chrome to save a paper copy, but don't actually print it! Use the Destination drop-down menu to pick Save as PDF.
  3. Select the Pages drop-down menu and select Custom. If you know you want just odd or even pages, those options are available here, too.
  4. Type the pages you want to split from the PDF. For example, to save just the second one, type 2. You can also print other pages at the same time, and even entire ranges of pages—just separate everything with commas. To save only pages two and four through six, for example, type 2,4-6.
  5. Choose Save.
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Smallpdf online PDF splitter option
What We Like
  • Very easy to understand and use.

  • Import from online storage sites.

  • Lots of other PDF tools.

  • Runs in any browser on any OS.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited to two free tasks per day.

  • Only one free splitting method.

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

After uploading, you have two very easy-to-understand choices: extract every page into a separate PDF (this one isn't free) or select which pages to extract to make a custom PDF.

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

If selecting individual pages to separate, there's a preview of the pages; select which ones you want. Some splitters make this harder than it has to be, but Smallpdf does it really well.

Once you split the PDF, you can even convert it to Word, compress it, merge it with other PDFs, and edit it on the same website.

Another unique feature 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 certain pages from multiple PDFs and want to avoid the middle processes of extracting and merging.

Everything you upload to this site is removed automatically after an hour for privacy reasons.

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PDF to PNG (or JPG)

PDF to PNG website
What We Like
  • Can split up to 20 PDFs at once.

  • Saves PDF pages to two of the most popular image formats.

  • Runs entirely online.

What We Don't Like
  • Automatically extracts every page instead of specific ones you choose.

  • Can't combine multiple pages into a single image.

  • Open from your computer only.

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 and then convert each one 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.

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PDF Split and Merge (PDFsam)

PDFsam PDF split settings
What We Like
  • Really easy to use.

  • Several split options.

  • Choose a different PDF version for the outputted file.

  • Command line usage.

  • Works with all operating systems.

What We Don't Like
  • Can’t preview from inside the program (unless you pay for it).

PDFsam is a free PDF editing suite that merges, extracts, rotates, and splits PDFs. The split options are almost identical to the ones in Adobe Acrobat (below), but this program is 100 percent 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 at every even or odd page.

This tool also lets you split the PDF into two separate documents, 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 split at 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 there are bookmarks in the document or it's too large, use the Split by bookmarks or Split by size option. 

To extract specific pages out of the PDF, use Extract and pick which pages, or ranges of pages, to export.

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Adobe Acrobat

PDF splitting with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
What We Like
  • Split more than one PDF at once.

  • Split into smaller sizes.

What We Don't Like
  • It's not free.

  • Can be confusing to use because of all the other options.

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.

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Microsoft Word

PDF split option in Microsoft Word
What We Like
  • No need to download anything new if you already have Word installed.

  • It's easy to know what each page looks like before splitting.

  • Lets you edit the PDF at the same time.

What We Don't Like
  • MS Word isn't free.

  • Must be converted to text first (this usually drastically affects formatting).

  • Only works on Windows and Mac.

If you already own MS Word, it's super easy to use it as a PDF splitter. However, if you don't, there's no need to purchase it 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 document for editing. When it's time to save 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 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 the file, the amount of text, and the page count, this could take a while.
  3. Use the F12 key, or go to File > Save As, to open the save dialog box. If you see a message about Protected View, select Enable Saving.
  4. Decide where to save. Give it a different name if you're storing it in the same location as the original PDF.
  5. In the Save as type drop-down menu, pick PDF (*.pdf).
  6. Select Options.
  7. In the Page 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 and remove all the others, type the same page number in both text boxes, otherwise, pick a range of pages to keep.
  9. Choose OK.
  10. Select Save on the dialog box. You can now exit Word.
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PDFelement PDF split options
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.

What We Don't Like
  • Is not free (the trial posts a watermark).

  • Only supports two operating systems.

  • All the options can be overwhelming if you're just wanting to split the PDF.

PDFelement 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 Split to see a similar screen to what you see above. You get to split the document by the 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 to go.

You can also use this program 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.

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PDF Split & Merge

PDF Split & Merge program in Windows 10
What We Like
  • Straight and to the point; easy to use.

  • Multiple splitting options.

  • Gives large previews of the pages.

What We Don't Like
  • Free only during trial.

  • No Linux version.

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 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.

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