How to merge or combine multiple files?

If you would like to merge multiple Word, Excel or Text files together, it can be done with relative ease, and at no extra cost. Follow the steps below for the type of file you're trying to merge.

Merging Microsoft Word documents
Merging Microsoft Excel files
Merge a text (.txt) file in the Windows command line
Merge a file in the Linux command line
Merge PDF files

Merging Microsoft Word documents

To merge Word documents, you can merge those documents within Microsoft Word itself. To do this, open the first file in MS Word, and follow the steps for your version of Word. The steps are different because of the changes between the file menu and the Office ribbon.

Microsoft Word 2010 or later (ribbon)
Microsoft Word 2007 or earlier (file menu)

Microsoft Word 2010 or later (ribbon)

From the Word ribbon, click Insert at the top of the menu and then click the down arrow next to Object and then Text from File (as shown below).

Word 2010 file merge

Select the file you want to merge into the current document and click Insert. Once completed the text and other information from the document will be merged into the current document. These steps can be completed as many times as you want if you want to merge multiple files.

Tip: If there are multiple files you want to merge at the same time you can select multiple files by holding down the Ctrl key and selecting each file you want to merge.

Microsoft Word 2007 or earlier (file menu)

In Word click on Tools and then Compare and Merge Documents in the menu bar.

Merge Microsoft Word document

Find the document you want to merge. You have the option of merging the selected document into the currently open document or merging the two documents into a new document. To choose the merge option, click the arrow next to the Merge button and select the desired merge option. The files will then be merged.

Compare and Merge files

Tip: If there are multiple files you want to merge at once you can select multiple files by holding down the Ctrl key and selecting each file you want to merge.

Merging Microsoft Excel files

To merge Microsoft Excel files together, it is best to save them as CSV files first. Open the Excel files and in the menu bar, click File, Save As. In the Save as type drop-down list, select CSV (comma delimited) from the list.

Do this for each Excel file you want to merge, then place all the CSV files in the same folder. For ease, place them in a folder in the root of the C: drive (e.g. c:\csvfiles).

Open the Windows command prompt and navigate to the folder containing the CSV files. Type dir to view the files in the folder and ensure all the files are there.

Type in the below command to merge all CSV files in the folder into a new CSV file titled "newfile.csv" (any name could be used).

copy *.csv newfile.csv

After the new file has been created open the new CSV file in Microsoft Excel and save it as an Excel file.

Merge a text (.txt) file in the Windows command line

Place each of the text files you want to merge in the same folder. For ease, place them in a folder in the root of the C: drive (e.g. c:\textfiles) and make sure the folder only contains text files you want to merge.

Tip: Before merging text files you may want to make sure there is a blank line or at least one enter to help separate each file.

Open the Windows command prompt and navigate to the folder containing the text files. Type dir to view the files in the folder and ensure all the files are there.

Type in the below command to merge all TXT files in the current directory into the file named newfile.txt (any name could be used).

copy *.txt newfile.txt

Now you can open the text file and see everything merged together as one file. 

Merge a file in the Linux command line

Linux users can merge two or more files into one file using the merge command or lines of files using the paste command.

Merge PDF files

PDF documents can also be merged. You can use a full version of Adobe Acrobat to do this, but this program is a bit pricy (several hundred dollars).

Another option is to find a free utility on the internet to merge your PDF files. One of the better free utilities is PDF Split and Merge. It is an online tool that lets you merge two or more PDF files into one PDF file with a few clicks of your mouse button. You can also download a version of this program, called Batch PDF Merger, and install it on your computer for a small fee (about $30).

There are other free utilities online that offer this service. However, if there is any confidential information contained in the PDF files, use caution when merging them online. It is recommended that you use a utility on your computer for these types of PDF file mergers, to ensure the confidential data is kept confidential.

  • MergePDF - Online utility to merge PDF files up to 30MB.
  • PDFMerge - Another great free utility to merge PDF documents.
  • Sej-da - An additional utility to merge PDF files up to 50MB.

Additional information

  • See the merge definition for further information and related links.