PDF Portfolios and Backward Compatibility – Part 1

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If you haven’t heard of PDF Portfolios yet, watch a recorded demo or read about the basic plumbing at “Acrobat 9 Portfolios” on “Spartacus of Acrobat”

then come back here.

By default, PDF Portfolios created in Acrobat 9 will open in earlier versions of Acrobat and Reader and the PDF Portfolio will make the best use of the features available to it. When opened in version 8, the PDF Portfolio will act like a PDF Package and in version 7 and 6, the contents will appear as attachments. Since the portfolio layout is actually a SWF file and only Acrobat 9 can “play” it, earlier versions will display a “Cover Sheet”. The “Cover Sheet” was introduced in Acrobat 8 as part of the PDF Package concept and by default is a single page PDF that is used as a wrapper around a bunch of other content. However, in Acrobat 8, the cover sheet could also be a PDF of your own choosing with links and other navigational aides that you specify during the package creation process. This functionality has been replaced by the PDF Portfolio layout concept in 9 and now you do not have the option of setting your own cover sheet during the assembly process. The new default cover sheet looks like the one below.It’s not bad but you might want a more personalized experience for users that don’t have the latest version. To customize the cover sheet, follow the instructions under the graphic.

Replacing the default cover sheet with your own.

  1. Create a PDF file with all of the information you want to convey to users of earlier versions of Acrobat

  2. Open the PDF Portfolio that you want to customize

  3. Select View|Portfolio|Cover Sheet from the menu. You should see the same thing as above.

  4. Select Document|Replace Pages and select the PDF that you just created and follow the rest of the dialog prompts.

  5. Save the file.

Now users of Acrobat or Reader version 9 will see the animated portfolio layout and users of earlier versions will see your custom cover sheet.

Setting the default cover sheet.

Replace the file called “coversheet.pdf” in your version of this directory “C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\DocSettings\CombineFiles\ENU” and that will be the new default.