PDF Portfolios for Case Analysis: Part 1

June 16, 2009 Note: I’ve made several changes to this post including an updated Case Analysis Portfolio template.


Case Analysis is the process of reviewing documents associated with a case and making decisions about them. For example, you might use Acrobat to help you find:

  • Documents containing your clients name
  • Documents which relate to a specific issue
  • Documents which are privileged

A PDF Portfolio is a single PDF document which contains other documents. By keeping the documents together in a PDF Portfolio, we can accelerate document review.

In this article series, I’ll discuss how to use Acrobat 9 and a PDF Portfolio for Case Analysis.

For some background on PDF Portfolios, click here to view a demo movie.

In this article, you will open a Case Analysis Portfolio and customize it for your case. In Part 2, we will load documents and start to code and work with documents. In Part 3, you will learn how to export a PDF Portfolio to a spreadsheet file.

A Case Analysis Layout

PDF Portfolios contain layouts which create a user interface for working with a set of documents. While the default PDF Portfolio layouts such as Grid View, etc., are nice, I was seeking something that would allow me to code documents, work with subsets of the data, and use folders to categorize different documents.

Acrobat Email Portfolios offer many of these functions! To create one, you have to archive some email, clear out the documents, and set up fields.

Fortunately, I’ve already done that for you. Download this:
Case Analysis Portfolio (570K updated PDF)

NOTE: This Portfolio will not work in Acrobat X.

NOTE: I’ve updated the Portfolio above using an updated Portfolio layout which is faster. You’ll need acrobat 9.1 or above to use it.


  • Deleted Header (it took up too much room)
  • Updated the Welcome Page
  • Used Acrobat 9.1’s updated email portfolio layout which auto-previews the first file automatically. It’s also a lot faster.

The screen shots below may not match perfectly, but all of the functionality is the same.


When you open the Portfolio, you’ll initially see the Welcome Page:

Click the Get Started button.

I created a generic PDF Portfolio. You’ll want to customize the Portfolio for your case.

Customizing the Welcome Page and Header

The Welcome Page is the first thing someone sees when they open a Portfolio. The Header extends over all of your documents.

The Welcome page could be used for notes about the case, court dates, etc.

To modify the Welcome Page

  1. Click the Modify button at the top of the
    Portfolio and choose Edit.
  2. The PDF Portfolio editing interface opens.
    – Click the Add Welcome and Header option:
  3. Click the Welcome Page option:
  4. Edit the Welcome Page
    A) Click in the text box to change the text
    B) Select text, then use Text widget to change style, size, etc. .
    C) Click the close box to close editing of the Welcome Page, then click the Done button.

Note: The updated portfolio has a different welcome page.

Customize the Header

Note: This is optional. I think the header may take up too much room that might be better used to show more documents. I did not include one in the revised portfolio.


The Header appears across all documents and "brands" the Portfolio. To change it:

  1. Click the Header button
  2. You can then choose from a variety of Header types.

    You may wish to choose No Header. That leaves you more room on-screen to view your documents. Go ahead and try some different Headers. Any change you make is non-destructive, so no worries.
  3. Editing the header is simple. Just click in the area you wish to edit and a text widget will appear:

Tracking Fields

The PDF Portfolio has some spreadsheet-like capabilities. Like a spreadsheet, you can add additional columns. You might use these columns to track information critical to the case like names of the players, dates, etc.

I’ve already added a few tracking fields for you, but you can add more or delete the ones I have provided.

  1. Click the Specify File Details button.
  2. The File Details window opens.

    A) Enter text to add a column
    B) Choose Text, Number or Date for the field type
    C) Click the + to add the column
    D) List of columns. Turn them on or off with the checkmark
    E) Move columns up or down
    F) Delete a column
    G) Set the sort order for the Portfolio

Deleting a column will destroy the data in the column, so if you are not sure, just turn the column off instead.

Color Scheme

You can also customize the colors of the Portfolio such as the background color, text color, etc. I’ll let you discover this on your own!

Adding Folders

You may wish to place different types of documents in different folders in the Portfolio. For example, you might have a depo folder, a Court Forms folder, Letters folder, etc.

  1.  Click the List View icon
  2. Right-click inside the Portfolio and choose Create New Folder:
  3. Enter the name of the folder and click OK.
  4. Add some descriptive text to the folder. Click in the Portfolio list and add a description.
  5. Choose File—> Save to save the Portfolio.

And, in Part 2 of this article . .

Now that the Portfolio is customized for our case, we’ll add documents and start to review and code them.

Go to Case Analysis Part II

5 Responses to PDF Portfolios for Case Analysis: Part 1

  1. Susan Terry says:

    Our office just upgraded from Acrobat 8 Pro to Acrobat X Pro. We’re used to packaging thousands of pages of documents using the grid with file preview layout, and nothing even comes close to that in Acrobat X. Viewing my documents in Acrobat X using one of the few layout options is clunky and very slow — it takes so many clicks to view each enlarge the card view and then read the document and then zoom back down to move to the next document to read that one. Am I missing something? I really liked the grid with file preview layout in Acrobat 8 — you can quickly step through and actually read documents. These new cards are hard to read, then the next level can’t be read either, so I have to click one more time … then how do I get to the next document? I’ll keep working on this. They gave me the new laptop this week, and I’m going to trial next week. Very bad timing for this upgrade … any suggestions?

    • Rick Borstein says:

      Unfortunately, old Acrobat 8 package feature went away with Acrobat 9. It sounds like you are using this to package up files to review and show in court. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great workaround for you as Portfolios are really designed to show a few files in a very pretty way, not lots of files speedily. You could try using a PDF Binder (File>Combine) which would create a single PDF with bookmarks to each file.

  2. Brian Hurst says:

    Will the Case Analysis Portfolio tempalte still not work with Acrobat Pro X? Has Adobe not reincorporated that aspect of earlier versions into the newer versions when users, particularly legal users who I assume make up a large sector of the adobe market, seem to prefer the prior package look and feel. I have been trying to figure out how to make all my portfolios look like the e-mail portfolio because of its functionality, ease and quickness to access docs, and its general aesthetics. I came across your blog but notice the note that it will not work wiht Acrobat X. Please let me know. Thanks.

  3. Susan Terry says:

    I’m going to try to use this “Grid with file Preview” Acrobat X layout which is more like what our attorneys are used to seeing. http://blog.practicalpdf.com/2012/07/grid-with-file-preview-pdf-portfolio-layout-available-now/