Note: This article, Part 1 of a two-part series, provides an overview of PDF Portfolio features and workflow. In Part 2, read about customizations and specialized tasks you can perform in Portfolio.
PDF Package fanshold on to your hats. Acrobat 9 takes the spirit of PDF Packages to a whole new level of visual interest and functionality with the introduction of PDF Portfolio.
Were you a big PDF Packages fan in Acrobat 8? I certainly was. Instead of building an interface PDF file and then adding bookmark or link navigation to bring together a collection of files, all it took was a few mouse clicks and file selections.
You won’t find PDF Packages in Acrobat 9, but you’re sure to find a terrific substitute in PDF Portfolio, available for Acrobat 9 Standard and up. Combining the document management abilities of PDF and the functionality of Flash results in a powerful way to compile, present and maintain collections of documents.
A PDF Portfolio brings together the materials for a project or task while maintaining the integrity of the component files. At its simplest configuration, the Portfolio interface provides a cohesive appearance. Each file in the Portfolio displays as a thumbnail on a common background in the default grid pattern. (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Basic Portfolio interface.
If you can define a situation in which you need to bring together files for presenting, storing or collecting information, look into building a PDF Portfolio.
Presenting materialwhether an investment prospectus, client information or in-house trainingis an everyday part of business life. Designing a presentation using a PDF Portfolio lets you easily present an overview while maintaining the option to drill down into a component file as the situation requires.
As the PDF Portfolio author, you control the design of your presentation, including the ability to customize the style, introduction and branding elements incorporated into the material (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Brand a Portfolio with a custom header.
Using a PDF Portfolio as a method for storing information is one of the stellar new features in Acrobat 9. Here’s a scenario: Suppose you regularly communicate with a colleague and need several files of different types to support your demonstration or explanation. How do you do it? Until now, you’d combine the different files into a .zip file, attach it to an e-mail and describe the contents of the files as they relate to your project in the e-mail.
A PDF Portfolio simplifies the workflow and decreases misinterpretation and ambiguity when you don’t have to preface a statement with directions on where to find a particular piece of data. At the end of a project, the materials assembled into a PDF Portfolio are ready for archiving and future reference.
Figure 3: Add detail to the file’s thumbnail page in the PDF Portfolio.
Finally, you can approach a PDF Portfolio as a template for collecting different types of data and documents. In Acrobat 9, form returns readily incorporate into a PDF Portfolio for collection and analysis. There are other ways in which to collect data in a PDF Portfolio. For example, at the start of a campaign, move a Portfolio through workgroups where each adds an overview of their participation in the project. At the end of the distribution cycle, the final Portfolio is ready to use as the basis for campaign development.
One field where I predict a significant adoption of a template-type of PDF Portfolio is in education. It’s common for students’ work to be collected into Portfolios that track their progress during their student years. Using a PDF Portfolio lets the faculty and student collect files of many types, search for content using a variety of parameters and add to the Portfolio on an ongoing basis.
You can assemble a Portfolio in both Acrobat 9 Standard and Professional versions. The Acrobat 9 Standard version has limited choices of layouts and color schemes. Once you have decided how to use a PDF Portfolio as part of your workflow, follow these steps:
1. Click the Combine task button and choose Assemble PDF Portfolio. Your Acrobat window is renamed the Portfolio[#].pdf window, and is now a dedicated Portfolio interface.
Tip: If you look in the program menus, you’ll see that only those commands that are applicable to PDF Portfolio are active.
2. Click Add Files at the bottom left of the window to display the Add Files dialog. Locate and select the files you want to use, and click Open. The dialog closes, and the selected files display in a grid at the left of the Edit window.
3. Select appearance and display options from the panes at the right of the window, including:
Figure 4: Display and customize file details.
Click the Publish bar to display options for managing the PDF Portfolio. You can save, e-mail or share the Portfolio on Acrobat.com.
4. Click Save on the Portfolio toolbar and save the Portfolio file.
5. To close the Portfolio and return to Acrobat, close the Portfolio’s program window.
The finished package provides its own interface for controlling the view of the Portfolio and its contents (Figure 5).
Figure 5: The Portfolio presents with the Welcome Page content.
There are several viewing modes in the PDF Portfolio interface, accessible from the Portfolio toolbar (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Manage viewing modes from the toolbar.
Click a mode button to activate the view (Figure 7). Your viewing mode options include:
Figure 7: Work in four viewing modes.
Ready to dig in? You can check out the new PDF Portfolio at [[please insert link here]]. How do you anticipate using PDF Portfolio?