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Create a Digital Portfolio

A portfolio is a great way to present your best work to potential employers and clients, and a digital portfolio can display your work in a more dynamic and interactive way. Two popular ways to do this are to compile a PDF Portfolio in Acrobat DC or to publish your work on a website.

1. Decide what type of digital portfolio you want to create — PDF or website (or both)?

To make this decision, think about who will be viewing your PDF or website. Not only do both contain examples of your work, but both can also BE examples of your creativity and skills. Your portfolio represents you as well as your collection work, and it will give a potential employer or client a strong first impression if it is done well and with the right medium. One advantage of a PDF portfolio is that it can be emailed or uploaded on job application websites (if the overall file size is within the allowed parameters). One advantage to having your own website is that you can share the URL, and it will be available to virtually anyone.

  • PDF Portfolio

If you do not want to create and publish your portfolio on a website, you can use Adobe Acrobat to create a PDF Portfolio. A PDF Portfolio is basically a container that houses multiple file types such as Word, Excel, Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as other PDFs. You can also include web pages. Hyperlinks within your documents will be live and any navigation and page linking you have done within PDFs will be maintained. When viewing the portfolio, the viewer can select a preview for most file types or open the full file if he or she has the corresponding software. NOTE: Although an Acrobat PDF Portfolio can contain various file formats, use formats that can be opened universally (PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG) in case the person viewing the portfolio does not have all the applications needed for opening your files.

  • Website

If you decide to create a website to showcase the items in your portfolio, there are many options, but two common services are Muse and WordPress. Both use themes and widgets, and both offer information and tutorials for creating your site.

Muse is an Adobe application available through Creative Cloud that you can use to create your website without writing code. Muse is a good starting place if you have never designed a website before. Once you are finished designing your layout, you will need a web hosting service to go online such as In Motion, Host Gator or Go Daddy.

WordPress is an online publishing platform. For more information, visit wordpress.org to download the software needed to create your website. If you go this route, you will need a web host and be responsible for your site’s maintenance, security and backups. A less technical approach is to go through wordpress.com (a hosting service) to create a blog or website using provided themes and tools. There are limitations, but the tradeoff with wordpress.com is ease of use, and the hosting service does all the technical work for you.

2. Gather digital files of your work.

Save your work in formats such as JPG, GIF, PNG and PDF. You can also take photographs and scan documents if you have hard copies of your work.

If your images need to be cleaned up, spend some time editing them in Photoshop. Use Illustrator to alter or update vector graphics. Prepping images and graphics before putting them in a PDF Portfolio or on a website will save you time in the long run and will give your final product a more professional appearance.

Save your high-resolution (300 dpi) images down to low-resolution (72 or 96 dpi) by selecting “Export”, then “Save for Web,” under the File menu in Photoshop and directly to “Save for Web” under the File menu in Illustrator. If you are including PDFs in your PDF Portfolio you can also save them at a reduced file size in Acrobat by selecting “Save as Other” under the File menu. Do NOT save over your high-resolution files – you may need those at a later time for printing or for other projects. When you create a low-resolution file, give it a different name. You may also want to keep your low-res files (“Assets”) in a separate folder on your computer to avoid confusion. Low-res files are best for viewing onscreen, will take up less file space and will load much more quickly.

3. Plan your content.

Select a collection of work that is relevant to the purpose of your portfolio. Keep in mind that you can compile different combinations of work for different purposes.

Organize your files, decide the order of appearance and plan the flow of the content. This is especially important if you are creating a website. You’ll want to think about how the viewer will navigate through your files.

4. Get started!

Now that you have some general information, you can begin creating your digital portfolio. If you find that you are having trouble and need help, visit Lynda.com via the Elmhurst Public Library website (library card required) for online training. The following Lynda classes are very helpful and will provide answers to many of your questions:

  • Acrobat DC Essential Training with Claudia McCue
  • Muse Essential Training with Justin Seeley
  • Designing a Portfolio Website with Muse by Steve Harris
  • Building a Responsive Portfolio Site with Justin Seeley
  • WordPress Essential Training by Morten Rand-Hendriksen
  • Create an Online Portfolio with WordPress by Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Information for this handout was obtained from the Lynda.com classes listed above and from the following web pages:

http://www.manifestyourpotential.com/…/how_to_create_awesome_work_portfolio.htm

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Career-Portfolio

http://www.creativebloq.com/create-perfect-design-portfolio-111153 — TIPS

https://helpx.adobe.com/muse/how-to/what-is-muse.html

https://en.support.wordpress.com/five-step-website-setup/

https://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/

Full reference guide for Adobe Acrobat DC: https://helpx.adobe.com/pdf/acrobat_reference.pdf