Learn how to set up your design so it prints artwork to the edge of the paper.

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If your design contains a background or artwork that must run to the edge of the paper without any margin, you’ll need to extend the art past the edge of the page in InDesign. The artwork is printed with crop marks— also called trim marks—and the bindery will cut the edges of the page at the crop marks. Bleed is the term used for the area that extends beyond trim area, and it ensures that no white edges show up on the final trimmed page.

Bleed extends beyond the trim area
The Bleed extends beyond the trim area

Set up bleed when you create your document

If you know in advance that your artwork will print to the edge of the page, you can set up bleed when you create your document, using a value specified by your printer. Bleed values typically range between .125 inches - .25 inches, or 3mm - 5 mm.

Choose File > New Document.

Click Bleed and Slug to expand it. Enter the bleed in one of the fields, and click the Make all settings the same icon to extend the bleed evenly on all sides.

Bleed and Slug option
Click the Bleed and Slug option, and then click the Make all settings the same icon

Tip: If you enter “.125 in,” InDesign will translate it into default units for you.

Convert into default units
InDesign converts values into default units.

Click Preview to see the bleed area represented with red bleed guides outside the page boundary.

Click OK.

Preview the bleed area
Preview the bleed area

Place your artwork to the edges of the bleed guides. You can easily snap objects to these guides, so you know that artwork extends far enough to the specified bleed area.

Snap object to bleed guides
Snap objects to the edges of bleed guides

Set up bleed after you create your document

You can always add bleed to your document later.

Choose File > Document Setup.

Click Bleed and Slug to expand it. Enter the bleed in one of the fields, and click the Make all settings the same icon to extend the bleed evenly on all sides.

Click OK.

Set up bleed later
Set up bleed later

Create a PDF file that includes the bleeds

When it’s time to handoff the document for printing, save it as a PDF file to ensure that bleeds are saved correctly.

Choose File > Export. Select Format: Adobe PDF (Print).

Save the file as a PDF
Save the file as a PDF

Select the Adobe PDF Preset recommended by your print provider.

In the Marks and Bleeds section, select Crop Marks in the Marks area, and Use Document Bleed Settings in the Bleed and Slug area.

Select the Adobe PDF Preset
Select the appropriate Adobe PDF Preset

Click Export to save a PDF file with correct bleed values that is ready for handoff.

Export the PDF file
Export the PDF file

06/15/2015
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