Easy Proof Sheets with Adobe Bridge

Most designers I know can probably count on one hand the number of times they’ve opened Adobe Bridge. But Bridge really does have some useful tools. One of my favorite uses for Adobe Bridge is selecting a series of pictures and creating a customized proof sheet.

I’ve seen people try to do this in InDesign and Photoshop, but with versions 5 and 5.1, Bridge makes it incredibly simple and provides lots of options.

Pick your images

Open Bridge and go to the Output Tab in the upper right. Finding the folder with your images on the left. You’ll need to select the specific images you want included from Content section in the bottom center. All images you select will appear in the Preview section in the top center.

Your proof sheet can include bitmap images (jpg, tif, png, gif and more), vector images (.eps), PDF files and even native Adobe files (.indd, .ai and .psd). Of course, the documents with multiple pages will only show the first page in the proof sheet.

Build a PDF Proof Sheet

To the right of the window is the Output tab with two options, PDF and Web Gallery. Select PDF and look at some of the default templates. 2x2 Cells will give you four pictures per page. 4x5 Contact Sheet will give you 20 per page. Click the Refresh Preview button and a preview will appear in the middle of the screen.

To generate the PDF, go to the bottom of the Output palette and press the Save… button.

Options to customize

Let’s say you want to customize your proof sheet. Bridge provides many options. (Just look at the screenshot of the entire Output Panel to the right.) The interface is divided into several sections:

Document - Change the size of the paper, resolution of the images and background color. Plus you can add a password to the document.

Layout - Change how the images are placed, how many columns and rows, the spacing between the images and more.

Overlays - Determine how the filenames are displayed and add page numbers.

Header and Footer - Two separate sections to add text to header and footer areas, set their dimensions and customize the appearance.

Playback - Want your PDF to open in Full Screen Mode and have transitions like a a PowerPoint presentation? Set it in this section.

Watermark - Add images or text as watermarks, either for individual images or for the entire page.

Brand your proof sheet

By combining several of the options, it’s possible to add a company logo to your page and then save it for future use.

Go to the Watermark section and select Add Watermark. Select Insert Image: and select the path for your logo. By default, the logo will be placed in the middle of your page, which you probably don’t want. Change the size and placement of the logo with Scale, Horizontal Offset and Vertical Offset sliders.

You may also want to customize your header and footer to add other details. I’ve added a title in the header and a copyright statement in the footer.

Remember that you can hit the Refresh Preview button at the top of the page to see a sample of your proof sheet.

Once you have it exactly the way you want it, look back to the top of the Output palette. Next to the template list is a new page icon and a trash can. Click the new page icon to save your design as a template. (And if you want to delete one, you guessed it, click the trash can.)

Thumbnail of custom Sketchbook B proof sheet.

Next time you need to make a proof sheet for a client, select your template and click Save… at the bottom.

If you want to see how the various elements can be combined, check out this PDF sample of my Sketchbook B proof sheet showing some of my Flare effects. I’ve included my logo in the upper left, changed the typeface to SBB Periodic and added a title at the top of the page.