To setup a template that can be imported into Proof Portal we recommend the use of Adobe Illustrator CS2 - CS4 to create the PDF.
Proof Portal is sensitive to 5 elements within a PDF. All elements of your template will fall under one of the 5 areas below)

1) Raster Image (eg GIF, JPG, PNG images)
2) Text blocks (This is any text that is typed into a template that is not a variable or converted to outlines or curves)
3) Vectors (These are elements created using paths and points in Illustrator, generally they are crop marks, boxes and simple logos)
4) EPS Images (Generally used for company logos. The file extension is .EPS . These files can contain a series of vectors and raster images within them.
5) Variables (These are the areas in the template that you wish to be editable by the user eg VAR01 , VAR02 , VAR03)

Template Element Order

When a proof is created in Proof Portal the elements of the template listed above are added onto the page one by one; therefore, it is important when creating the template in Illustrator, you ensure the order by which elements are placed onto the page are correct.

If a large background image needs to sit behind an EPS logo/variable text, that background image must be a Raster Image. Above 'Raster Images' are number 1, meaning they get placed onto a template first and become the bottom layer of the proofed PDF.

Raster Images

Raster images can be created in most artwork packages and placed into the Adobe Illustrator template.
Accepted formats are: JPG , GIF, PNG, BTM
Images can be created as RGB or CMYK color profiles.

How will RGB images be handled by Proof Portal?

RGB images will not be changed by Proof Portal, when images are viewed on screen, they are displayed as RGB, therefore no conversion with color needs to take place.

How will CMYK images be handled by Proof Portal?

All images display on screen as RGB, making a slight difference in image color on screen verses print. Proof Portal applies a conversion routine to CMYK images to allow them to display on screen. If you use a CMYK image,  it must be saved as the exact size and original file format. For Example, a 150x150px image.jpg file need to be uploaded to Proof Portal separately if you require the image to output with its exact CMYK values.


Within a template there may be areas of text that are not variable and simply need to proof as they are typed on the template. It is recommended that you type this text into a template and convert it to curves (outlines) this will ensure that no fonts are needed to be matched for this text. The only exception to this is for text that proceeds and follows variable areas, which can be seen in the Variable Text section below.

Once the text is converted to curves (outlines) the text is treated as a Vector in Proof Portal, therefore there is no need to upload the font that this text uses and in this instance you can use any type of font as long as you convert to curves. Variable text and other text will need to be set in a True Type font, see variable text section below.


Vectors are normally used within a template for shapes and crop marks. Vectors are simply the lines within the Illustrator template, usually you have one vector that forms the outer box of your template, i.e. the edge of a business card. This will be added to your template using the shape tool, as illustrated below.

Vectors within a template can be unlimited and do not need to be defined within the template, they simply get recognized by Proof Portal when the template is uploaded.

Crop Marks should be applied toa template before.

EPS Images

EPS files can be placed into a template. If the EPS file is CMYK based and you require the output PDF to contain the exact CMYK values of the EPS, you must save the .eps file seperately as instructed above with the Rater Images.

When placing an EPS file into a template in Illustrator, ensure that the EPS is placed on its own layer within the document. This will ensure all elements of the EPS are handled together by Proof Portal.

EPS files can consist of a combination of vectors and raster images and are generally used when you require a better quality image or a transparent bakground.

It is important that your EPS files, or any other areas of your template do NOT contain clipping masks. If a clipping mask is found in your PDF upon upload to Proof Portal, a warning message will be displayed and although the template will still upload, you should remove the clipping mask from the artwork and re-upload the PDF.

Variable Text

Proof Portal allows you to upload a template with as many variable text areas as you require, there are no limits to this.
Variable text sections allow users creating a proof from your template to enter text into the areas that you have defined as a variable section.

How do I define a variable text section?

When creating your template in Adobe Illustrator, to add variable text, you must format your text in this way.

The triangular brackets around the var text, highlight to Proof Portal that these fields need to be treated as variables.
The sequential numbering ensures each variable is treated seperately and therefore you can edit them seperately within Proof Portal.

Variable text fields do not need to be on seperate lines to other text, they can be embedded within text Eg


Variable fields expand dependant on the entry that the user adds when proofing. Taking the example of above, if a user enters the word 'customersupport' into the area, the text that follows will move right to accommodate this.

To setup VARs embedded within other text on a template, the text need to be set in Illustrator as one text line, which is NOT converted to curves. However, each line of text should be started seperately, by placing your Text Tool curser on the page to start each line, rather than pressing return on your keyboard.


How do I set the properties of a variable text section?

When typing your variables into a template, you should use the exact font and font properties as you require the proofed word to appear in. Eg if you want the variable to proof as bold, Arial text at point size 10, you should type this into your template in this way. Eg

What fonts can I use?

For any text that is not converted to curves (outlines) you must use a True Type font. ((.TTF)) This is the only type of font that the system recognises. However, most fonts can be converted to True Type using conversion tools that can be found on the web. For each font, you will generally need 4 faces.

1) Normal Face
2) Italic Face
3) Bold Face
4) Bold Italic Face

The font files that are used to create the artwork in Illustrator MUST be uploaded to Proof Portal prior to the template being uploaded. If you have multiple versions of the same font installed on your PC or MAC when creating the artwork, please ensure that the correct .TTF file is supplied to Proof Portal, if the .TTF file does not match the font embedded within the PDF output from Illustrator, there will be an error displayed upon upload of your template into Proof Portal.

Creating Your PDF

Ensuring you creating you template with all of the above points in mind, please find a short steb by step guide below to creating your PDF template.

1) Open a new document in Adobe Illustrator, ensuring that your artboard is large enought to fit your artwork within.

2) Create you template outline (this will be recognised as a Vector).

3) Paste any raster image files to the template.

4) Select your text tool and add text and variables to the template (as explained above).

5) Any 'Text' that is not variable or proceeding or following a variable should be converted to curves (outlines).

6) Add a new layer for any EPS files that you wish to place on the template. Then paste the EPS file into that layer. Ensure that each EPS has its own layer with nothing else on it.

7) To create crop marks select the outer box of the artwork and select object > Crop Area > Make. This is the only way crop marks should be created. Do not allow Acrobat to create the crop marks when the artwork is saved as a PDF as this applies a mask to the artwork.

Once you have all of your elements on the template you are ready to save and upload to Proof Portal.

Multipage Documents

Eg Brochures, Double sided flyers etc will need to be created page by page in Adobe Illustrator and combined as a multi-page PDF in Acrobat. In this instance the variables need to be consecutive numbers Eg
Page 1 - shows
Page 2 - shows

Two pages must not have the same number variable on them.