How to Make a PDF Catalog in Photoshop

Written by crystal street
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How to Make a PDF Catalog in Photoshop
Using Photoshop to design your catalogue will yield professinal results. (computer image by blaine stiger from

Using Photoshop to build a PDF catalogue will take some time and patience, but will create a nice document to represent your products or services. Photoshop uses powerful editing tools to enable a designer to create a professionally designed file that you can export to a PDF in the final stages of production. You will need to create each page individually and merge it into a PDF document using Adobe's Acrobat Professional to present the catalogue in a cohesive book. Be sure you have access to this program prior to building your catalogue using Photoshop.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Adobe's Acrobat Professional

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  1. 1

    Open a new file in Photoshop and set the size dimensions. Go to "File" > "New" and enter 8.5 by 11 inches, if your catalogue will be a standard letter size, when the dialogue box appears. Enter a print resolution of 300 DPI to allow for the best possible printing quality.

  2. 2

    Go to "Image" > "Mode" > "RGB" to set the colour dimensions of your catalogue. If you are using a professional printer for your catalogue, contact them prior to beginning the document to confirm the colour space of your document. Some printers only read a four-color document and you will need to use the "CMYK" setting instead of "RGB." RGB refers to red, green and blue colours where CMYK references Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key/Black.

  3. 3

    Open your Layers window and create a new Layer. Go to "Window" > "Layer" and your Layers window will appear to the side of your workspace. For each element added to your page, a new Layer will be created and in order to work with this graphic element, you must highlight the corresponding Layer to activate the content in Photoshop.

  4. 4

    Use the Text Tool and begin adding text to your document. Use the Character window to see the various options for your text, such as size, font, colour and spacing.

  5. 5

    Add images to your catalogue by opening the appropriate image in Photoshop, using the Selection Tool and dragging the image onto your catalogue page. The image will be brought in to the document at its original size on a separate Layer. Resize the image before placing it in the catalogue or go to "Edit" > "Free Transform" to adjust the size of the image. Hold the "Shift" key as you resize the image to maintain the appropriate dimensions and prevent distortion.

  6. 6

    Save the file as a PSD, or Photoshop Document, once the page is laid out properly. The PSD will serve as a master file that you can edit anytime. Store it in a separate location to avoid damaging the original file in the next step.

  7. 7

    Flatten the Layers on your page to make the document smaller. A PSD with Layers containing graphics, images and text at document size with a 300 DPI resolution is a very large document and may not open easily. Go to "Image" > "Flatten Image" and select OK when the dialogue box asks if this is the correct step. Flattening the image will merge all the Layers and will prevent you from editing any existing content, which is why you created the master file in the previous step.

  8. 8

    Export the flattened file as a PDF to the proper location on your computer. You will need to create each page individually using this method, so organise and label them in the proper order.

  9. 9

    Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Professional to merge the PDFs into one document once all the pages of your catalogue are complete. Simply open the first page, go to "Merge Multiple Files" and select all your pages once the dialogue box appears. Select "Save" and follow the dialogue boxes to meet your final output specifications for size and location of the catalogue.

Tips and warnings

  • Photoshop will not create multiple pages as this is an image editor not a document creating program. If you are creating a large catalogue, consider using Adobe's InDesign, which is a publishing program and made by the same developer as Photoshop. The programs are designed with similar interfaces, so the learning curve will be shorter.

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