Print your artwork right to the edge of the paper using the proper setup option in Adobe InDesign.

Poster featuring blue sky, ocean, and surfer sitting on the beach is printed to the edges by adjusting print bleed.

To print to the paper’s edge without any margins around your design, first extend your design into a bleed area so it’s slightly larger than your finished print size. You’ll then add print crop marks, which show where to trim the paper to the document’s finished print size. Your design should extend past these crop marks. The excess will be trimmed off after it’s printed, and your design will cover the entire page.

Blank page with purple rectangle showing margin, black rectangle showing page edge, and red rectangle showing bleed area.

Set up bleed when you create your document

If you know your design will extend to the paper’s edge, you can set up the bleed area right when you create your document.

Upon launching InDesign, click Create new. (See Create a new document to learn more about customizing your new document.)

Select the Print tab at the top. In Preset Details, choose your preferred measurement units.

Scroll, and then click Bleed and Slug to expand the panel. Type a bleed value in any units. For example, you can type 0.125 in or 3 mm even if your document uses picas or something else. Set the same bleed on all sides, or click the chain icon to set different values for the top, bottom, inside, and outside settings.

Note: Bleed values of .125 in (3mm) are standard, although some print providers may require a larger bleed area. 

Optionally, you can include job notes and instructions for your printer in a slug area that typically extends beyond the bleed area. The slug is also trimmed off.

Tip: Some desktop printers can’t print to the page edge. You’ll need to start with a document size that’s smaller than your paper size, and then trim the document along crop marks after it’s printed.

Bleed and Slug are changed in the New Document print area. The standard bleed is 0.125 on all sides.

Set up bleed at any time

You can always add a bleed area to your document later, or edit bleed settings you entered previously.

Choose File > Document Setup. Click Bleed and Slug to expand it, and then enter your values.

Bleed and Slug settings may be changed after creating a document by clicking File > Document Setup.

Align your artwork to the bleed guides

Place your artwork on the page and position it so its edges align with the bleed guides. Objects snap easily to the guides, so you can be assured your artwork will print correctly.

The handle at the upper right corner of the artwork is highlighted and an arrow shows where drag to the bleed line.

Preview the printed document

Now that you have some artwork aligned to the bleed guides, you can see how it will appear when printed and trimmed to its final size.

Long-press on Mode at the bottom of the Tools menu and choose Bleed from the drop-down menu. This special preview mode displays all the printing objects within and including the bleed area. Choose Preview to see how your document will look trimmed.

When previewed in Bleed mode, the artwork slightly overlaps the boundary of the page to the bleed line.

Create a PDF that includes bleeds

When it’s time to hand off your document for printing, save it as a PDF file to capture bleed and slug details.

Choose File > Export and select the Adobe PDF (Print) format. Select the Adobe PDF preset recommended by your print provider.

In the General tab, select View PDF after Exporting. In Marks and Bleeds, select Crop Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Select Include Slug Area if you added any notes in the slug area. Click Export.

Bleed settings and crop lines can be retained when exporting the document to a PDF.

Hope this was helpful. View Printer’s marks and bleeds to learn more about specifying various printer’s marks in your print projects.

Learn more about Adobe's leaflet design software.

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