PDF Portfolios are only supported by the Acrobat Family (Acrobat and Adobe Reader) on desktop platforms. If your recipients are using other programs (OS X Preview, mobile device, etc.) they will just see a warning message.
You can't "save down", it's not a meaningful concept. Portfolios are collections of several files, not single PDFs.
Thanks. In the meantime, I reached someone at Adobe. He said there is a function similar to "save down" which is "Make compatible" under the "Optimize pdf" button. When you go to that, there is a pull-down that allows you to specify how low an Acrobat version to go to. In other words, you can say, 4.0. I tried this with a new portfolio, but the agency still cannot read it. BTW, I am using the term Portfolio, but it is a single pdf file that you open when you open the Portfolio....it is not a folder, for example. So right now, I still don't have a solution. According to the official description of Adobe Reader, which everyone should have, that program can read any pdf document. So it makes no sense why the agency cannot read this pdf portfolio document. Thanks for you input though...have to keep trying. Bill
Portfolios can't be saved down in any real sense, because the concept doesn't exist in older versions of PDF. You could make a single PDF (not portfolio) by joining pages. Or include the other material as attacments.
"According to the official description of Adobe Reader, which everyone should have, that program can read any pdf document. "
You're making a huge assumption - three actually - that
(a) they HAVE Adobe Reader
(b) their version is up to date
(c) they are USING the copy they have, rather than - for example - viewing in Chrome or FireFox or Preview.
(Try your file in Preview at least).
Thank you for that feedback. They are helping me get closer to a solution for this. I do want to explain a few points though. To my knowledge, pdfs are among the most universally read documents there are. I have rarely run into a situation in publishing when someone couldn't open one, unless they were woefully behind in their version of Reader....and that would be their fault. But I just don't understand how an ad agency (or anyone else for that matter), could not have a program to handle basic pdf documents.
BTW, this portfolio is from the new Indesign, CS6 package. It is a specific program that joins pdf samples (such as ad copy, etc.) into a single pdf called a portfolio. I wouldn't think older versions of Adobe Reader would have any trouble with these, particularly when the portfolio is "saved down," to 4.0 or larger (which is what the dialog box does--this is what Adobe recommended doing this morning and I accomplished.) I know what you are getting at as to "saved down," but the Adobe Tech guy said that Optimization is basically the same thing...making it compatible with earlier versions of Acrobat. I"m also aware of the old method of joining pdfs...that is the older "portfolio" method of Acrobat. But this is the new version that combines many pdfs into a single pdf document in a much better, advanced format (it does flyaways and other effects for example). Nonetheless, you still end up with a single pdf that can be optimized (down) to Adobe Acrobat 4.0 and higher.
So, to your points, I think if someone who has Adobe Reader doesn't have a version 4.0 or greater, I can't even count them in this concern....if that is the case, the fact that they can't open it is their fault. So I"m not too concerned about them having the latest version. But your point as to whether they even have it....wouldn't any "preview" or 'firefox' or other browser be able to read these documents? And the corollary question... if Adobe has created a portfolio program that isn't at least close to universally readable, what good is it? The very concept of a portfolio is that an artist, editor, etc. showcases their work by sending it out to myriad sources. One needs the confidence to know that most if not all recipients can read it.
Bottom line.....if there are so many versions of "Preview, Reader, etc." programs out there that freelancers can't send their work out in a fairly universal way, then that sounds like a business opportunity to me! Again, thanks for your comments......they were very helpful. I will continue to work with the forum and directly with Adobe on this until we get it solved.
"I just don't understand how an ad agency (or anyone else for that matter), could not have a program to handle basic pdf documents."
But you aren't making a basic PDF document, you are making a portfolio. This was a new feature in a recent version of Acrobat (X, maybe). It won't work as a portfolio in older versions of Acrobat or Reader, because it uses brand new things. And it will never work on an iPad or Android tablet, and will never be a standard in its current form, because (unaccountably) it uses Flash. Portfolios are designed to "degrade gracefully" to a basic PDF with attachments.
"I wouldn't think older versions of Adobe Reader would have any trouble with these, particularly when the portfolio is "saved down," to 4.0 or larger (which is what the dialog box does--this is what Adobe recommended doing this morning and I accomplished.)"
If it's saved down to an older PDF format, then it isn't a portfolio any more. If what you have now works, that's great. But if you use "real" portfolios, it's important to know that portfolios need new(ish) technology and to tell people what they need.
"But your point as to whether they even have it....wouldn't any "preview" or 'firefox' or other browser be able to read these documents? "
Portfolios aren't a secret. Apple, FireFox, Google are free to make readers for portfolios, according to their business direction.
" if Adobe has created a portfolio program that isn't at least close to universally readable, what good is it? "
Two answers, one less cynical.
1. It's great for selling copies of Acrobat, and encouraging people to use, and upgrade Adobe Reader.
2. Portfolios solve a very important limitation on PDF files, that you cannot combine secured or signed documents into one, yet people desperately need to do this. For these people (and perhaps only them) the portfolio is a vital tool worth the incompatibility.
"The very concept of a portfolio is that an artist, editor, etc. showcases their work by sending it out to myriad sources."
That definition of portfolio, the folder of an artist's work, has no connection at all the "PDF portfolio" except that they both have a folder motif. There is no single reason for an artist to use this kind of portfolio, but artists commonly embrace new technologies that make them look better without regard to whether it makes them easy to access.
One more point: PDF is a moderately universal format, probably the best we have if HTML won't cut it. But it has evolved over the last 20 years. You probably wouldn't want to be stuck with the limitations of PDF 1.0, and it was unusable for production printing... Adobe have never seen it as a big problem if (a) people have to upgrade Reader nor (b) if they move ahead of rivals in the viewing stakes. Whether you see it as a problem is another matter. We have just entered a new world very suddenly where probably the number of people using the multitude of other readers outnumber those using Adobe software, and creators need to at least be aware of this. If you want to use a format with reasonable accessibility in modern software, you might be interested in PDF/A.
This is a very detailed and thoughtful explanation that I fully appreciate. You have helped a lot in my learning curve on this. I will continue to investigate this with Adobe and by trial and error with the agency with which I am working. I do know that many freelancers are using portfolios, and the agencies are able to open them. So the important question is, what are they using? Single documents are no longer acceptable (at least to the agency I am using); they are seen as passe. So I understand what you are saying about artists wanting to look good, but much of this is also a case of just keeping up with what the competition is doing....and the competition, I am being told, is using portfolios.
Nonetheless, all of your technical points are extremely helpful. You obviously know a lot about this. At this point, I am thinking that I discovered an amazingly good portfolio program with my new CS6 package that, apparently, is going to be totally useless until the world catches up with it. (It is a great program technically BTW...one can create an amazing profile in under 10 minutes...and with totally intuitive software). But I don't have time to wait for everyone to get Acrobat 10. So I'll find another program that most people can open and see.
Meanwhile, again, I appreciate your time and expertise....very helpful.
So, not to hijack, but we have recently started having problems opening pdf Portfolios as well. I can open them on my desktop (Windows 7 64bit, Acrobat X Pro, Reader XI) but my associates in the office cannot open them with Reader XI. Not only that, but one of the people from outside the company who originally sent use some of these Portfolios can now no longer open the files he created.
All of my users have the most up-to-date Reader XI and Flash plugin.
I initially thought it was an issue with a PolicyPak GPO (we are on an Active Directories network) disabling some function in reader, but that has proven to not be the case.
One of my users has no problem opening them on his Galaxy S4, but cannot open them on his laptop (Win7 64bit)
Perhaps a broader issue
I share your frustration!!! This is the official word I received from Adobe. (Yes, it took a week for them to figure it out!). The functionality is a flash player issue. The recipient would need to install and have the latest version of Flash Player in order to view the portfolio. It seems like an aweful lot of work to ask a client or potental employer to go through. Have to admit I am a little dissapointed by the lack of simplicity for what could be a really professional presentation of your work.
At least in my case, this isn't an issue where the Flash player plugin is missing. In fact, if you attempt to open a Portfolio PDF without the plugin installed you are prompted to install it, and directed to the appropriate site.
I have several systems, all Windows & 64bit with Reader XI and the Flash plugin and when I open Reader the 'Tools' menu on the right never finishes loading, the little Java wheel just spins and spins and I can't open Portfolio PDFs so that they are viewable. If I uninstall Reader and everything else Adobe and reinstall all newest versions I still have the same problem. All of these systems are 4 or 5 months old.
If however I reformat any of these systems to factory fresh and then install Reader and the Flash plugin the 'Tools' menu loads properly and Portfolio PDFs open just fine. So it seems to me that some kind of garbage has built up over the past several months that hoses Reader, whether a Reader update or something Java, who knows, but the only fix I have found is to reformat the affected systems, and that really isn't an acceptable solution.
Adobe techs, can you read the last reply on this thread and give us a solution! I created a portfolio and fellow teachers can not view with latest Reader. I uninstalled Reader XI and installed a older version Reader 9 and the problem was solved. I can not expect all of our teachers (1000+) to uninstall Reader XI and then to re-install Reader 9. Most of the teachers are going to have different versions of Reader too. Adobe techs, we need a solution, thanks!