In Acrobat 9 Pro, there was a Portfolio layout called Grid with File Preview. We use it as our primary layout for PDF portfolios because it allows users to rapidly view PDFs within a portfolio. This was our primary reason for using Portfolios. Unfortunately, this important feature was removed in Acrobat X Pro resulting in clunky and very slow PDF viewing within a portfolio.
Is there a custom layout which emulates Grid with File Preview?
Thanks in advance.
Sadly, no. Adobe has really dropped the ball with Acrobat X portfolios. PLEASE bring back the Acrobat 9 layout options!
It's simply unrealistic to expect users to become Flash developers before they have access to additional Portfolio layouts options. The current layout options are poorly designed and too flashy for use in the legal world.
Are you listening Acrobat? Bueller? Bueller?
Not to be dismissive of your suggestion George, but hiring a developer is simply not a solution for us, or I'd imagine for the vast majority of Acrobat users.
Of the five layout options currently available, two ("Free Form" and "Wave") are simply unusable to anyone working in a corporate environment. I've heard the same complaint from others in the legal industry.
PDF Portfolios arrived out of the blue with Acrobat 9 and have been somewhat of an experiment - Acrobat contains some to get you started, but by also releasing the SDK it was hoped that the Flex programming community would have provided an ecosystem to support Acrobat users who wanted more choice - so just as you can buy or download hundreds of templates for websites, you could find them for Portfolios too.
Unfortunately it hasn't happened, and the technological landscape has changed dramatically in the past three years - the rise of HTML5, dominance of tablets/iOS, security concerns and Adobe's repositioning of Flash in the marketplace have all affected the commercial viability of Flex as a career, and consequently the availability of free third-party Portfolio layouts. It would have been nice to see a vibrant community of people sharing their designs, but the reality is that the majority of custom PDF Portfolios are created for enterprises as part of their brand identity, and there is an obvious cost involved in hiring one of the small number of expert programmers (of which Joel Geraci is the #1) to do the work.
Adobe has never claimed that the layouts which ship with Acrobat were the best/only way to do things - just as with the default presets in Lightroom, they're examples of what can be done. With Acrobat X it became easier for non-programmers to style the layouts (via Themes) but there's no escaping the basic fact that making a layout itself is a Flex programming job, and not one you'd attempt as your first chunk of code.
When Acrobat 9 launched, I saw pretty equal levels of complaints that the bundled layouts were too boring and too flashy. The target was shifted in Acrobat X to a less corporate style, but again people loved and hated them in equal measure. Given how much work is involved in writing and testing each layout, you can't expect Adobe to release a version for everyone.
There were legitimate reasons why the bundled layouts from A9 weren't included in AX. Speaking personally I don't expect my assessment to change: Portfolios may stick around, they may not - it depends on a mountain of bigger questions about Web standards, device popularity, politics and economics which Adobe have no control over.
Hi Dave-- Thanks for taking the time to weigh-in on this issue. I have to disagree with you on several points though.
First, I sure hope Adobe doesn't share your perspective that a major product feature was simply some kind of capricious "experiment." Second, I haven't been exposed to any public statements by Adobe where they made claims or where they tried to temper user expectations about Portfolios. Every launch/promotion event I attended, not only was Portfolio featured prominently, but its introduction invariably led to a small round of applause or hoots.
Certainly, yes, any time there is a change, there are users who will both praise and complain about the exact same features-- that's natural, but the bottomline here is that for the last three years, this feature, while limited, provided an excellent alternative for sharing multiple documents and, particularly in my industry, sharing documents while maintaining a folder-level structure.
And yes, I can absolutely expect Adobe to write and test a larger and more diverse gallery of Portfolio options. At minimum, I would expect Adobe to offer the basic layouts it previously offered. Perhaps they should simply hire Joel Geraci to continue the development of this once promising feature that Adobe has now "improved" into obsolescence.
Sorry-- I don't mean to heap this on you-- none of this was your doing. Or WAS it?
Portfolios certainly were an experiment, just as with PDF forms, rich media, scripting and XFA. Before Acrobat 9 we had Packages (binders) but the Flash-based layout system for Portfolios was a closely-guarded secret until launch day. Nobody knows how much a feature will be liked until it's out there, and it's not only "will people use it?" but "how?". Adobe experiments with new ideas all the time, some are previewed on the Adobe Labs site and you'll see technology sneaks at MAX, but you can't play with most of them until launch. A lot of the time users will find completely-unexpected ways to use stuff, occasionally they simply don't use it and the feature is removed again. We're also playing in a much larger pond - things are changed or depreciated because of external security threats (e.g. legacy media in PDF), evolutions in hardware and software (the sudden change in Firefox's update mechanism broke the plugin) and plain old consumer demand (Adobe Reader for Mobile has had to evolve very rapidly to keep pace with the explosion in mobile device consumption - back in 2000 nobody expected someone would run their life and company from a phone).
Adobe did strongly promote Portfolios in their launch materials (I should know, I'm in the videos) but there's a difference between the concept of Portfolios and the layouts bundled with the application - nobody said that the bundled layouts were intended to satisfy every customer, hence the SDK and the new Themes engine in AX. They provide a selection of functional examples - most customers will be OK with one of them for most projects, but as previous posters have said there are specific and individual demands from corporations, legal professionals etc. as to how they want a Portfolio to look, and to satisfy those demands users should employ the SDK and someone to drive it.
Fundamentally we can't escape the fact that Portfolios rely on Flash Player, which back at the A9 launch party was as ubiquitous as fresh air. The world has changed, and the end game is still far from certain - which is why Portfolios are not in PDF/A.
FYI, Joel was employed by Adobe as the Acrobat Technical Evangelist.
Thanks Dave. It's helpful to hear the views of an insider.
What it boils down to is simply this-- why weren't the basic layouts available in Acrobat 9 included? For me, as a technical trainer, I've been advocating and extolling the potential of packages and portfolios for years. I finally started to get some adoption over the two years-- but I'll back off that now and remove it from my training materials.
And good luck to Joel. Adobe is on top of my list for the most frustrating software companies I've ever had to deal with.
The API within Acrobat and Reader that renders the layout (using the assets embedded from the .NAV file) changed Flex versions between A9 and AX, so the layouts written for A9 simply couldn't be read by the new API - to include them in AX, engineering would have had to rewrite them from scratch. In a later point release AX/RX gained the legacy code to be able to view A9 layouts but there's still no way to edit them. Added to this change in Flex versions, the 'card' system in AX layouts which supports Themes and save to Web is structured differently, so making an exact copy of the old designs is actually rather difficult. Not saying it's impossible, but although the Acrobat X Family employed 950 engineers who worked for 5 million man-hours, not counting the 3100 beta testers, things still have to be prioritized.
What it boils down to is simply this-- why weren't the basic layouts available in Acrobat 9 included?
Joel has published a great "retro" as he calls it Grid with File Preview layout that you can download and install. This really made my day!! I had abandoned using Acrobat X because my attorneys couldn't stand reviewing thousands of those flying cards. http://blog.practicalpdf.com/2012/07/grid-with-file-preview-pdf-portfo lio-layout-available-now/
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