best software for creating portfolio

just wondering what software everyone used/uses to create a print portfolio.



So true! You’ll be muddling around for a few hours at first, but once you figure out a handful of features, it is SO convenient to have your entire portfolio in one place instead of random illustrator/photoshop files floating around on your comp. The Master Page feature lets you change your entire layout in minutes!

+1 for indesign. I learned how to use it to create a booklet for a project awhile back, and from that point on I’ve used it for my every page layout need, it makes nice PDFs and is great for printing, spreads, double sided pages, etc.

I will reiterate: Definitely InDesign. Photoshop alone is a nightmare and Illustrator w/Photoshop is marginally better. InDesign, with Photoshop and Illustrator assets, will make everything much more manageable and editable.

100% InDesign. If you know Photoshop and/or Illustrator you should be able to pick it up pretty quick. It saves hours if you want a standard layout, page numbers, etc.

I’m going to go against the grain and say I hate Indesign so much. I hate having to have mulitple programs open, I hate that (at least in my experience) it tends to geek out at the worst times, and most of all I hate not being able to create graphic elements in the same program as I am compiling work in.

That being said Illustrator CS4 now has a proper multi page feature so thats all I use. All you need to do to duplicate a background through multiple pages ala master page is this:

Create a box that is your page size around the artwork
Use snap to drag the box and all artwork to the next page
Control D until you have created enough pages for your given layout.

I’m going to go against the grain and say I hate Indesign so much. I hate having to have mulitple programs open, I hate that (at least in my experience) it tends to geek out at the worst times, and most of all I hate not being able to create graphic elements in the same program as I am compiling work in.


Many of my designer friends prefer InDesign, that includes Industrial Designers and Graphic Designers… I know it’s not by accident that they’re in love with this program.

But for me, it just doesn’t work. I feel as if I don’t have the creative freedom that I have in Illustrator (CS4). I know the tools, I’ve become somewhat of a master of the program. Especially with the new CS4, there is much more focus on lining elements to one another, snaps, align, etc. It feels as if they took the pros of InDesign and added them in. I figure, I’ll only work on one page at a time anyway. Save a portfolio template, add and modify content, save as, open up the template and repeat.

They’re both just tools. I feel like Illustrator is my Phillips screwdriver, and InDesign is my flathead. And flatheads really piss me off. But they’ll both turn a screw.

I’m a huge fan of Illustrator, and I’ll probably stick with it.


I just built my most recent portfolio in Powerpoint. Made a really simple master slide and just dropped stuff in. It’s easy to tailor your presentation for depending on who you’re showing it to. I just keep one huge master presentation.

gets rid of all the file management headache of PS and AI. I’ve never even used Indesign

Doesn’t the file get big real quick when pasting your artwork into it, or does it stay manageable? I still think PP would be too lo-fi for me, but it is a commonly available tool that would do the trick instead of ponying up big $$$ for a CS package with InDesign.

InDesign rocks. I used to to multiple Illustrator files but quickly found it got unmanageable. InDesign lets you easily set a master page layout, and add pages accordingly. The best thing though is that you can easily do different output versions at different resolutions, with only certain pages, etc. It’s also great (if you use it correctly) to re-link files for updated ones to quickly swap out the newest versions of
any renders, images that are placed.

Plus, going to print is easy with the pre-flight and packaging in place…

I shudder at the mere thought of doing a portfolio in PP, or let alone anything MS…


InDeed it does! Can’t imagine doing it any other way at this point.

to add to my previous post…

InDesign and Illustrator are different tools for different purposes. If used correctly this makes InDesign a much more powerful and appropriate app for portfolio creation.

Some things you can do in InDesign, but not in Illustrator (at least to my knowledge, but I only have CS3)-

  1. establish bleeds, gutter and slug dimensions. This are key if you are printing a portfolio.
  2. Have a small file with only links to images to allow for easier file handling and quick updating (and illustrator file with images placed gets super huge, very fast).
  3. Preflight check to ensure that there are no missing or mis-linked images, missing fonts, or RGB colorspace pics in a CMYK doc. Key for printing.
  4. Master pages allowing you to change a layout across all pages.
  5. Export to different file types easily (ie. screen rez PDF for emailing, X-1a PDF for print, etc.)
  6. Exporting of only selected pages (for example if you wanted to have one big portfolio but only show certain projects for a certain client.
  7. InDesign file format is the preferred format for any printer, so Illustrator might not be accepted (though in pinch PDF can be OK).

InDesign in not meant to create you artwork in. That’s the whole point. InDesign works to compile all the source artwork, be it PS or Illustrator, etc and manage the layout and print spec. If you have your workflow set up correctly it is much more efficient and you can always directly open any source art for a placed Illustrator file via InDesign for editing.

Just wanted to clear up some common misconceptions/misunderstandings via InDesign. I too, previously used to use Illustrator for all my portfolio stuff, but have found InDesign a lot better since I switched.