Creating Electronic Closing Binders using Acrobat 9

Traditionally, at the end of a transaction such as a real estate closing, we would present our client with a binder stuffed full of all of the documents associated with the deal. These “old school” binders were time-consuming to create and costly to distribute.

Creating an electronic closing binder in PDF is a far “greener” alternative that saves time and enhances client satisfaction.


I recently delivered a 1-hour eSeminar on Closing Binders which was well-received.

Check it out! Watch the Recording—>  Electronic Closing Binders eSeminar

In the one hour event,

I showed how to create two kinds of closing binders; 1) PDF Binders and, 2) PDF Portfolios

I also created a 36-page guide Creating Electronic Closing Binders using Acrobat 9. This document should give you everything you need to create great closing binders. 

Click to Download

Read on for a TOC and download instructions.

Downloading the Document

Because of the file size (about 4.5 MB), I’ve placed the file on my file share.

Click to Download

Reuse Policy

You are welcome to redistribute the document in its entirety, so go nuts! If you do, I ask that you provide the following attribution:

Creating PDF Electronic Closing Binders with Adobe Acrobat 9 is from the Acrobat for Legal Professionals (Acrolaw) Blog at


What does the document cover?

Here’s the TOC from the document:

  • What is a Closing Binder?
  • Binders or Portfolios: What’s the difference?
  • What do I need to create Binders and Portfolios?
  • Should I use a PDF Binder or a PDF Portfolio?
    • Binders
    • Portfolios
  • Getting Ready
  • Creating a PDF Binder
    • Combining the Files
    • Setting Default Open Properties
    • Customizing Bookmarks
    • Creating Links on the TOC Page
    • Adding Non-PDF Attachments
    • Adding an Attachments Bookmark Link (Optional)
    • Add a Full Text Index (Optional)
    • Add a Bookmark to open Full Search (Optional)
  • Creating a PDF Portfolio Closing Binder
    • Two Ways to Create Portfolios
    • Create a PDF Closing Portfolio using the Assembly Method
    • Create a new Portfolio
    • Add Files to the Portfolio
    • The Portfolio Window
    • Enter Descriptive Text
    • Selecting a Portfolio Layout
    • About the Welcome Page
    • Customizing the Welcome Page
    • About the Header
    • Customizing the Portfolio Header
    • About Portfolio List View
    • Customizing the List View
    • Entering Field Text
    • Create a PDF Portfolio using the Combine method
    • Add a Full Text Index (Recommended)
  • How will a Portfolio open in Adobe Reader 8?
    • Replacing the Cover Sheet (Optional)
  • Miscellaneous Portfolio Tips and Tricks

5 Responses to Creating Electronic Closing Binders using Acrobat 9

  1. Alan says:

    I need to create a variant which is an appeal brief with a 5000 page appendix of the record. I can easily create the appendix as a portfolio with the 450 or so appendix documents (why Acrobat does not import the pdf description property into the portfolio-document description property is sort of odd, but, I will try the add-on).

    I then add the brief as the first document in the portfolio.

    I know how to hyperlink to each page citation of the appendix – but, the problem is that the destination document opens up in the same window.

    But, if I place the Brief outside the portfolio in a separate pdf document, there is an option to open up the linked document in a new window. This is preferable since the reader can read the brief and the record page at the same time, and does not lose ones place in the original document. This is how I have been doing binders and brief for years in the pre-portfolio era.

    Using the back arrow is not really optimal.

    Is there a way to open up the link in a new window when linking to another document in the same portfolio (or did Acrobat X fix this).

    —- Rick’s Reply—
    Linking between documents in a Portfolio is very challenging and for that reason I don’t recommend it. Portfolios were not designed for the that use case. Instead, use a PDF binder.

  2. Kristin says:

    The link to download the document doesn’t seem to take me the correct place. Can you send an updated link, or the document? Thanks.

  3. Brenda says:

    Has this expired? Everything I select takes me to a blank page.

    • Rick Borstein says:

      All the links work for me. If you are trying this on an iPad, it won’t work. Use a desktop computer.