As a professional in the digital age, you should have a portfolio. And if you’re not up for building your own website, a PDF portfolio is an effective alternative.
A PDF portfolio is a collection of images and information in PDF format that highlight your career-related skills and talents, including your work history and professional accomplishments. PDF portfolios can even showcase endorsements or testimonials if you’ve been praised by clients, employers, or colleagues for your work in the past.
Ultimately, your PDF portfolio should make a good impression on anyone who sees it, so it also needs to look good.
In this article, we’ll show you how to create a fully functional PDF portfolio with different platforms and tools so you can proudly attach it to job applications or even your own email signature.
1. Design a PDF portfolio with Canva
Canva is a free-to-use online platform that features ready-to-use templates for everything from posters, invitation cards, newsletters, logos, to online portfolios. Canva lets you drag and drop graphic elements to make visually attractive, unique assets in minutes, and its portfolio builder is easy to use as well.
Here’s how to create a PDF portfolio with Canva in five steps:
Step 1: Go to Canva.com.
Step 2: Sign up with your email, and on the search bar, type in Portfolio. Various results will pop up.
Step 3: Choose a template that fits your niche, and fill out your information. You can change the pictures to your taste. There are thousands of free photo resources on the internet.
Step 4: After completing your portfolio design, click the Download button at the top right corner of your screen.
Step 5: A drop-down option will appear, showing different File export options. Choose PDF Standard and download your PDF Portfolio.
NOTE: You will not be able to download the PDF if you used Canva Pro resources. So if you don’t want to pay for Pro access, replace these resources before downloading your PDF portfolio.
2. Create a PDF portfolio using Google Docs
You can also design your professional portfolio using Google’s free web app Google Docs. All you need is an internet connection and a Gmail account. And Google makes it simple to save your Google Doc as a PDF once you’re ready.
Here’s how to use G Docs to make a PDF portfolio quickly:
Step 1: Click the Google Docs app icon within Gmail. The “Template Gallery” should be visible (if it’s not, make sure you’re not actually inside a blank Google Doc yet)
Step 2: Find the “Reports” templates (you can try other free templates within the app, but we think “Reports” look the best for portfolios). Click the one you like the most to begin.
Step 3: Edit all your information into the structure of the report template. Add your achievements, the images, pictures, and arrange them properly. Once you are done, at the top row options, select File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf)
Step 4: Your new portfolio will download as a PDF to your chosen file destination.
3. Build a PDF portfolio on Android using Art Portfolio
Art Portfolio is a free, downloadable application available on the Android Play Store.
If your portfolio requires many visual examples of your work, Art Portfolio is a great choice — providing an easy-to-edit interface that allows you to drop all your necessary pictures into segments. After a bit of arrangement, you’ll soon have an engaging portfolio that lets prospective clients and employers get a better understanding of your professional background and skill set.
Follow the steps below to create your own PDF Art Portfolio:
Step 1: Open Google Play Store and search for Art Portfolio.
Step 2: Download the app.
Step 3: Once installed, open the application, and on the Create Portfolio field include your NAME, DESCRIPTION, YEAR, and add PICTURES. Click the Check button afterward.
Step 4: Once you’re done building your portfolio, click the three-line icon at the center of the bottom screen. Select Download Portfolio.
Step 5: Click the download icon and select Download as PDF.
4. Assemble your PDF portfolio with Microsoft Word
It may seem simple, but Microsoft Word is also a viable way to build a portfolio in PDF format. Converting Word to PDF is no problem either, so all it takes is a bit of work within a Word document.
Here are some steps for quickly creating a PDF portfolio in Word:
Step 1: Open a new Word Doc
Step 2: Give your portfolio a title (ideally some variation of your name and portfolio, like “Geoffrey Scott: Portfolio of Collected Work”)
Step 3: Insert images, add links, import anything related to your background, and arrange it as necessary
Step 4: Once you’re ready, click File -> Save As… and in the “File Format’ dropdown menu, click PDF
5. Make a PDF Portfolio with Adobe Acrobat
Creating your PDF Portfolio using Adobe Acrobat is a good option if you don’t mind paying for the subscription. As the creators of the PDF file format, it’s hard to go wrong with Adobe and its suite of software.
Here’s how to make a PDF portfolio with Adobe Acrobat:
Step 1: Open Adobe Acrobat. Select File and click Create. Click on the option that says PDF Portfolio.
Step 2: Insert the file in the Create PDF Portfolio field. You can also select another option from the Add Files menu.
Step 3: Select the Create option to include the files in the PDF Portfolio.
6. Use a PDF converter to change your different file types into PDFs
If the content of your portfolio includes images (JPGs, PNGs, HEICs), text (TXT, Word, webpages), and other different file types, use a PDF converter. Then combine those PDF files on Mac or whatever operating system you’re on, and boom. You now have a fully PDF portfolio built up of all your various professional assets.