Compiling Word and PDF File into one combined PDF

I am a long-term lurker and believe Scrivener would be a big help with many aspects of my academic and consulting writing - with one catch.

Most of the documents I author include a main prose section (currently using Word) followed by a PDF version of a Google spreadsheet.

My current workflow to finalize a document requires conversion of the Word file to PDF and then merging that PDF with the PDF version of the spreadsheet.

Can this be done in Scrivener?

In other words, if I use Scrivener for writing prose, can I ultimately compile the project by creating a PDF version of that text and combining it with another PDF?

Yes, but likely not in Scrivener. Unless it got implemented in a version after this post and I completely missed that.

However, it’s pretty easy to achieve using Preview in macOS: Combine PDFs in Preview on Mac - Apple Support

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Thanks… Preview would work. I am currently combining the PDF files in Devonthink. I suppose I could save the text output of Scrivener as a PDF in Devonthink just as I now save the text output of Word as a PDF in Devonthink. I was just hoping for a solution that eliminates that extra step in the workflow. Oh well.

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Full automation with Scrivener is straightforward, but requires command line tools and for you to change your workflow:

  1. You compile direct to PDF rather than via Word. BUT you use a MMD workflow as this enables a post-processing panel. I would use Pandoc > Typst-PDF or Pandoc > Prince[1]. Pandoc > LaTeX also generates PDFs but this is more complex…
  2. In the post-processing panel you run a script. The script will run a command like qpdf (What is QPDF? — QPDF 11.9.1 documentation) that will automatically merges the compiled PDF with an existing one[2]. Something like qpdf compiled.pdf --pages compiled.pdf 1-z google.pdf 1 -- final.pdf

Optimal automation often depends on command line tools, and you may or may not be comfortable with this, but Scrivener does support it.

[1] There is another workable route: Pandoc > ODT. Then in the post-processer you can use a command-line LibreOffice to automatically convert the odt to pdf using: soffice --headless --convert-to pdf compiled.odt – note you could even convert DOCX to PDF using this, so you could at least automate (1) and then do (2) manually if you really want to stick to Scrivener’s DOCX …
[2] There are several options for automated merging:


That’s a good idea, but how would you pass through the “Google PDF” (I thought of it as a file saved in the Research folder of each specific Scrivener project)? :thinking:

Right, if the google.pdf is stored in Scrivener then, you would need to export the google.pdf to the compile folder. Sadly Scrivener does not support an “Export files” function as part of a compile (I wish it did). Export can be GUI automated using a tool like BetterTouchTool; one could select the pdf, run an automation to first export to a folder then compile to the same folder. It depends where @rkaplan stores his PDFs…

Now being a geek I can think of a way to manually read the Scrivener project folder and copy the PDF out of it as part of the post-processing, but we are entering baroque territory :nerd_face:


Good thinking there. In theory (!) it could also work if the PDF always gets the exact same file name and is stored in the same relative location within the project. I guess. Hmmm.

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Easiest way would be to store the PDF as an alias in Scrivener. Then other tools – including scripts launched by Scrivener – can just go to the external disk location.