What is a PDF Portfolio file format?

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A PDF Portfolio is just like any other PDF document, but with multiple documents or files embedded as attachments (just like an email that has multiple attachments). In short, it acts as a kind of a wrapper for other files. These files, not necessarily of the same type or format, could have been produced from different applications.

A structure of the pdf portfolio showing the attachments in their original formats

For instance, take a PDF Portfolio file that contains a Zip, Word, Excel, PowerPoint presentations etc. as attachments. Here each of the attachment file maintains its original document format, but is embedded or assembled into one PDF Portfolio file. You can of course, open, read or edit each of the individual file of the PDF Portfolio as if it is on a drive or folder. In addition, just like a normal PDF document, you can also apply watermark, set passwords and security permissions such as ability to view, print or make changes to the attachments of the PDF Portfolio.

How is it different from combining multiple files into one?

We can place or assemble native files, in their original type or formats as attachments, into a PDF Portfolio file. That is, each document retains its individual properties and can be opened independently of other documents in the PDF. There is another popular way to combine multiple files into a single PDF file. Which is, to convert each of the native file format (word DOCX, excel XLSX etc.) to PDF document (if not PDF) before finally, combining all the pages of these multiple PDF documents into one long continuous PDF file.

Each PDF type has its advantages. Which one should you use would depend on what you want to achieve.

Combine files into a PDF Portfolio

  • When there is a need to work on the files in their original formats.
  • When you want to keep multiple files together for distribution or archiving.

TIP 1: Learn how to create a PDF Portfolio from an email and its attachments
TIP 2: Learn how to create a PDF Portfolio from different files in your Windows Explorer

Combine files into one single PDF file

  • When ‘reading’ is all you and others have to do with the files to be combined.
  • When ease of management with one file is of the highest priority than dealing with multiple files.
  • Convenience of printing or sharing one file is important against several documents.

TIP 3: Learn how to combine emails and attachments into one continuous PDF file


A PDF Portfolio is an excellent way to create dynamic presentation of related files and easier to send as one file. Use Email to PDF add-in to quickly create PDF portfolio from an email and its attachments.

PDF is short form of Portable Document Format. For more on PDF format, read here.