Creating PDF Portfolios

PDF Portfolios are a powerful way to present your content. Your customers can use the free Adobe Reader, and get rich, engaging content that has become quite the norm today. Portfolios let you package content created in various authoring applications such as FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate, and even non-adobe software such as Microsoft Word and Excel into a nifty PDF package. I’ve written about the advantages in an article for Indus, the newsletter for STC India Chapter.

In this post, let’s get our hands dirty and go ahead and quickly create a PDF Portfolio.

A PDF Portfolio may include various types of content:

  • PDF documents, created using FrameMaker, RoboHelp, or any other authoring application
  • SWF files: created using Captivate, Flash, or a tool of your choice
  • Links to web pages, and embed codes for online videos
  • A sprinkling of native Microsoft Office documents such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint
  • An image, if you’d like to brand the portfolio and use a custom background image

Create a PDF Portfolio

  1. Open Acrobat X Pro and choose Create > PDF Portfolio.

    In Acrobat X, choose Create > Portfolio

    In Acrobat X, choose Create > Portfolio

  2. In the Create PDF Portfolio dialog box that displays, Choose a layout for your portfolio. A preview of the portfolio is displayed to help you decide. (You can even create custom layouts and import them but that’s out of scope here, some other time)
  3. The Create Portfolio dialog box

    The Create Portfolio dialog box

  4. If you’d like to include files at this stage, click Add Files, browse to the files, and click OK.
  5. Click Finish.

As easy as that! You just created a PDF Portfolio. If you added files in step 3, it has some files, or else it’s empty right now.

Add Content to a Portfolio

Whether you created an empty portfolio, or one with a few files, chances are that you’ll have to add content to it.
Choose Layout > Add Content to open the Add Content panel. You can add the following types of content:

  • Files : Any discrete files on your computer. For example, PDF, SWF, HTML, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, or whatever you fancy.
  • Folders: A folder/directory on your computer. All files inside the folder are included in your portfolio. The portfolio maintains the folder hierarchy.
  • Web Content: Simple URLs for web pages or online forms, or the embed code from video sites such as  YouTube, Vimeo, Adobe TV etc.
Choose Layout > Add Content

Choose Layout > Add Content

Add Files or Folders

  1. Choose Layout > Add Content > Add Files or Layout > Add Content > Add Folder. The Add Files or Browse for Folder dialog box opens.
  2. Select the file(s) or browse to the folder, click  Open.
  3. The files are added to the portfolio.

Add Web Content

  1. Choose Layout > Add Content > Add Web Content. The Add Web Content dialog box opens.

    Add Web Content dialog box

    Add Web Content dialog box

  2. Enter the name and description for the file.
  3. Depending on the type of web content, choose Add a web link or Add an embed tag.
  4. Paste (or enter) the URL or the embed code and click OK.

Specify Visual settings

Acrobat makes it really easy to specify visual settings, such a colors, themes, and layouts. All you need to do is select it from the Layouts pane.

  • Choose Layout > Portfolio Layouts and select a layout style
  • Choose Layout > Visual Themes and select a theme theme
  • Choose Layout > Color Palettes and select a color palette
  • Choose Layout > Background to specify a custom specify background settings and to select a custom background images.

Sample Portfolio

I’ve created a sample portfolio that contains a few documents, a folder with images, online web pages, and online videos. Take it for a test drive!

Right-click > Save As to download the PDF file; click to open

Right-click > Save As to download the PDF file; click to open

The Portfolio can also be accessed from here.