How to Save One Page of a PDF on Mac

Ever run through an entire PDF, frantically searching for just one passage? It’s not an easy thing to do. In some PDFs, you can’t even use a text finder because all of the content comes from a scanned, printed page.

One of the best ways to avoid this conundrum is to save only one page of a PDF to your Mac. But how do you do it in a way that doesn’t take up so much time that the entire process isn’t worth it? Here are the specific steps to saving one page at a time.

Saving Your PDF to a Mac

First things first: let’s get the basics down pat. Let’s imagine you’re starting with a PDF file that needs to be saved to your Mac’s hard drive. You might be surprised to find that “Save as…” can be a little bit more complicated in the most recent versions of macOS.

What’s the best way to begin the process? Open Nitro Sign:

  • Reveal Save As by holding down the Option key before you choose the file menu.
  • Using the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + Option + S, access the Save dialog.
  • Under the Save dialog, deselect Autosave under Preferences -> General. This should bring “Save As” ready for you to click.

Once you bring this up, you can then name the PDF anything you want to name it. Make sure that you’re descriptive here; it may seem like a waste of time, but it will help you search for the file later if you don’t know where to find it.

Using “Print” To Save One Page of a PDF

The above is a nice introduction to saving a PDF to your Mac hard drive. But what if you need just one page? We’ve laid down the fundamentals of saving the PDF. But in this section, we’ll explore how you can use NItro Sign to get more specific with how you save your files.

  • Under Nitro Sign, use Command + P to bring up the Print Dialog.
  • You’ll see something that looks like the below:
Save as PDF option

  • Pretend you’re going to only print one page. For example, you might say only to print Page 1, even if there are two pages. (Don’t worry; you won’t have to print anything just yet!)
  • Under “PDF,” you’ll notice the option that says Save as PDF. You can see it highlighted in the picture above.
  • Name the PDF according to your specific needs, being sure to mention in the title that it’s just a specific page.

What happens next is interesting: because you set the “print” settings to just one page, the dialog will now save only that selection as a PDF. You’re essentially “printing” part of the file to a new PDF file. You won’t actually print anything here, but will save one page of the PDF. Of course, after you’ve done that, you can name it as you like.

Saving One Page of a PDF Using Mac’s Preview App

If you’re using a Mac, you’re probably familiar with how much you can do in the “preview” app. It’s robust—but only if you know the proper steps for using it well. Here are some specific steps you can put into use to isolate specific pages out of a longer PDF, and then save them.

  • Open the PDF document.
  • On a Mac, this will open the preview app. Using the thumbnail views, scroll down to the first page that you want to save separately from your PDF.
  • Drag and drop the single page from the thumbnail of the PDF to your Mac desktop. This results in exporting one PDF page, without exporting the rest of the document. Even better, you’ll notice that you won’t lose any of the visual quality of the page.

And that’s it. You’re now free to use your Mac desktop to put the file where you want to put it. You should also take this time to rename it; chances are that the default renaming Mac uses won’t suit your needs.

Why Might Someone Want to Save One Page of a PDF?

Imagine you have a PDF with 31 pages. You have three pages of that selection (but non-consecutive pages) that need to come out of the PDF so you can upload them to various clients as their own PDF files.

Let’s say you also don’t have a printer handy. You can’t simply print out the PDF, take out the pages you need, and re-scan them. You have to know how to handle the PDF.

But why might someone benefit from taking certain pages out of a PDF? There are a few potential answers here:

  • Sending along specific pieces of information without revealing other pieces of information. The reasons for this can be variable. However, it’s not always necessary to send along a 99-page PDF when you just want someone’s feedback on one of those pages. You may only want someone’s feedback on a specific paragraph. Knowing how to separate that PDF can be a much easier way to seek this out, rather than giving someone an entire PDF and telling them to find the section themselves.
  • Organizing your PDFs accurately. Let’s say you have a file folder full of PDF files you want to access readily on a Mac device. You may need to separately title some sections so you can have easy access whenever you enter a search keyword. Separating certain aspects of a PDF from the rest lets you rename these files so they’re easier to search through. This is especially useful if you have a scanned PDF that doesn’t have text within it, but is only a picture of text. Rather than saving the entire file and making it difficult to search for specific aspects of that file, you can separate it into distinct files with their own names. Later, when it’s time for you to pull up one of these files, you can simply go to Finder in your Mac and type in the keyword you need to look up.
  • Cutting out excess. Let’s face it: not every PDF you receive is going to be enthralling. You may not need an entire PDF file. In this case, cutting out the excess is going to make your life a lot simpler. Simply save the new PDF file and you’ll have everything you need. (However, it’s worth mentioning that it’s a good idea to save entire files for specific cases, such as maintaining accounting and contract records).

Tips for Saving One Page of a PDF at a Time

Now that you know how to save one page of a PDF at a time using multiple methods, let’s get into some best practices that can save you headaches down the line.

  • Save multiple versions. One of the reasons we introduced you to “Save As…” features on a Mac is because it can be good to keep multiple copies of a PDF, just for reference. It’s especially useful when organizing your PDFs in such a way that it’s easy to look up any specific file or section you need.
  • Keep a “master” version of a PDF. You don’t always have to cut out the pages and ditch the rest. Keep a “master” version of a PDF, because you never know when you may need to return to the context of that original file for some additional information. Use the word “master copy” or something similar in the file title to distinguish it from the individual sections of the PDF you’ve saved.
  • Name your files as accurately and thoroughly as possible. When you split PDF files into separate parts, you need to know which one is which. And some people skip straight through this essential step because it seems to cost so much unneeded time. But view a few seconds of your time as an investment in your future ability to search through your files. Give each PDF an accurate name. Don’t say “Contract.” Say “Contract between Business A and Business B - Master File.” Then you know what’s contained within the PDF, and you won’t have to click on it to find out what’s within.

Want more ways to handle PDFs on your Mac? We recommend trying Nitro Sign for Free to find out everything you can do when you have a great PDF editor and eSignature platform on your Mac.

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