Trap presets

Trap Presets panel overview

A trap preset is a collection of trapping settings you can apply to a page or range of pages in a document. The Trap Presets panel provides an interface for entering trap settings and saving trap presets. You can apply trap presets to any or all pages in the current document, or import the presets from another InDesign document. If you don’t apply a trap preset to a trapping page range, that page range will use the [Default] trap preset.

View trap preset settings

  1. If the Trap Presets panel is not open, choose Window > Output > Trap Presets.
  2. Do one of the following in the Trap Presets panel:
    • Double-click the preset.

    • Select the preset and choose Preset Options in the panel menu.

Compress the trap presets list

  1. In the Trap Presets panel, choose Small Panel Rows in the panel menu.

Identify unused trap presets

  1. In the Trap Presets panel, choose Select All Unused in the panel menu. The trapping engine highlights all presets (except [Default] and [No Trap Preset]) that have not been assigned to the current document. You can easily delete these presets.

Create or modify a trap preset

  1. If the Trap Presets panel is not open, choose Window > Output > Trap Presets.
  2. Choose New Preset in the panel menu to create a preset, or double-click a preset to edit it.

    Clicking the New Preset button at the bottom of the Trap Presets panel creates a preset based on the [Default] trap preset settings.

  3. Specify the following options, and then click OK:


    Type a name for the preset. You can’t change the name of the [Default] trap preset.

    Trap Width

    Type values to specify the amount of overlap for inks.

    Trap Appearance

    Specify options for controlling the shape of the traps.


    Specify settings that determine how to trap imported bitmap images.

    Trap Thresholds

    Type values to specify the conditions under which trapping occurs. Many variables affect the values you’ll need to enter here. For more information, consult with your prepress service provider.

Manage trap presets

You can duplicate, delete, import, and customize trap presets.

Duplicate a trap preset

  1. Do one of the following:
    • In the Trap Presets panel, select a preset and choose Duplicate Preset in the panel menu.

    • Drag a preset to the New Preset button at the bottom of the panel.

Delete a trap preset

  1. In the Trap Presets panel, select the preset(s), and then do one of the following:
    • Click the Delete button.

    • Choose Delete Presets in the panel menu.

  2. If prompted to replace a trap preset, choose one in the Delete Trap Preset dialog box that appears. This dialog box appears if at least one of the selected presets has been assigned to a page.
  3. Click Yes to confirm the deletion.

You cannot delete either of the two built‑in presets: [Default] and [No Trap Preset].

Import presets from another InDesign document

  1. In the Trap Presets panel, choose Load Trap Presets in the panel menu.
  2. Select the InDesign file and click Open.

Assign a trap preset to pages

You can assign a trap preset to a document or to a range of pages in a document. Pages with no abutting colors will print faster if you disable trapping on those pages. Trapping doesn’t actually occur until you print the document.

Trap assignments list the presets you have applied to various pages; the trap assignments are updated each time you click Assign.

  1. In the Trap Presets panel, choose Assign Trap Preset in the panel menu.
  2. For Trap Preset, choose the preset you want to apply.
  3. Select the pages to which you want to apply the trap preset.
  4. Click Assign, and then click Done.

If you click Done without clicking Assign, the dialog box closes without making any changes to the trap assignments. Trap assignments previously made using the Assign button are preserved.

Set up trapping page ranges

  1. In the Trap Presets panel, choose Assign Trap Preset in the panel menu.
  2. For Trap Preset, choose the preset you want to apply to the page ranges.
  3. Select Range, and type one or more ranges in ascending sequence, using a hyphen for each range, and separating pages and ranges with commas, or with commas and spaces. For example, 2‑4, 6, 9‑10, 12‑ is a valid range.
  4. Click Assign, and then click Done.

To disable a trapping page range, choose Assign Trap Preset in the panel menu, type a page range, and choose [No Trap Preset] in the Trap Preset menu. Click Assign, and then click Done.

Trap preset options

You can change trap preset options whenever you create or edit a trap preset. The same trap preset options are available in Acrobat and InDesign. In Acrobat, you can view trap presets by choosing Tools > Print Production > Trap Presets. In InDesign, choose Window > Output > Trap Presets.

Trap widths

Trap width is the amount of overlap for each trap. Differences in paper characteristics, screen rulings, and printing press conditions require different trap widths. To determine the appropriate trap widths for each job, consult your commercial printer.


Specifies the trap width in points for trapping all colors except those involving solid black. The default value is 0p0.25.


Indicates the distance that inks spread into solid black, or the holdback amount—the distance between black edges and underlying inks for trapping rich blacks. The default value is 0p0.5. This value is often set to be 1.5 to 2 times the value of the default trap width.

In InDesign, the value you set for Black Color determines the value for a solid black or a rich black, a process black (K) ink mixed with color inks for increased opacity and richer color.


(InDesign) If you choose Application Built‑In trapping, and you specify a Default trap width or Black trap width larger than 4 points, the resulting trap width is limited to 4 points. However, the value you specified will continue to be displayed, because if you switch to Adobe In‑RIP Trapping, traps larger than 4 points are applied as you specified.

Trap appearance

A join is where two trap edges meet at a common endpoint. You can control the shape of the outside join of two trap segments and the intersection of three traps.

Join Style

Controls the shape of the outside join of two trap segments. Choose from Miter, Round, and Bevel. The default is Miter, which matches earlier trapping results to retain compatibility with previous versions of the Adobe Trapping Engine.

Trap join examples, left to right: miter join, round join, bevel join

End Style

Controls the intersection of three‑way traps. Miter (the default) shapes the end of the trap to keep it away from the intersecting object. Overlap affects the shape of the trap generated by the lightest neutral density object that intersects with two or more darker objects. The end of the lightest trap is wrapped around the point where the three objects intersect.

Close‑up of trap end examples: miter (left) and overlap (right)

Trap thresholds


Specifies the color change threshold at which the trapping engine creates a trap. Some jobs need only the most extreme color changes trapped, while others require traps for more subtle color changes. The Step value indicates the degree to which components (such as CMYK values) of abutting colors must vary before trapping occurs.

To change how much the component inks in abutting colors can vary before causing those colors to trap, increase or decrease the value for Step in the New Trap Preset or Modify Trap Preset Options dialog box. The default is 10%. For best results, use a value from 8% to 20%. Lower percentages increase sensitivity to color differences and result in more traps.

Black Color

Indicates the minimum amount of black ink required before the Black trap width setting is applied. The default value is 100%. For best results, use a value no lower than 70%.

Black Density

Indicates the neutral density value at or above which InDesign considers an ink to be black. For example, if you want a dark spot ink to use the Black trap width setting, enter the neutral density value here. This value is typically set near the default of 1.6.

Sliding Trap

Determines when the trapping engine starts to straddle the centerline of the color boundary. The value refers to the proportion of the lighter color’s neutral density value to a darker, abutting color’s neutral density value. For example, setting the Sliding Trap value to 70% moves the point at which the trap begins to straddle the centerline to where the lighter color exceeds 70% of the darker color in neutral density (lighter color’s neutral density divided by darker color’s neutral density > 0.70). Colors of identical neutral density will always have their traps exactly straddle the centerline, unless the Sliding Trap is set to 100%.

Trap Color Reduction

Indicates the degree to which components from abutting colors are used to reduce the trap color. This setting is useful for preventing certain abutting colors (such as pastels) from making an unsightly trap that is darker than either color. Specifying a Trap Color Reduction lower than 100% begins to lighten the color of the trap; a Trap Color Reduction value of 0% makes a trap with a neutral density equal to the neutral density of the darker color.

Trapping imported graphics

You can create a trap preset to control traps within images, and to control traps between bitmap images (such as photographs and those saved in raster PDF files) and vector objects (such as those from a drawing program and vector PDF files). Each trapping engine handles imported graphics differently. It’s important to be aware of these differences when setting trapping options.

Trap Placement

Provides options for determining where the trap falls when you trap vector objects (including objects drawn in InDesign) to bitmap images. All options except Neutral Density create a visually consistent edge. Center creates a trap that straddles the edge between objects and images. Choke causes objects to overlap the abutting image. Neutral Density applies the same trapping rules as used elsewhere in the document. Trapping an object to a photograph with the Neutral Density setting can result in noticeably uneven edges as the trap moves from one side of the edge to another. Spread causes the bitmap image to overlap the abutting object.

Trap Objects To Images

Ensures that vector objects (such as frames used as keylines) trap to images, using the Trap Placement settings. If vector objects don’t overlap images in a trapping page range, consider turning this option off to speed trapping of that page range.

Trap Images To Images

Turns on trapping along the boundary of overlapping or abutting bitmap images. This feature is on by default.

Trap Images Internally

Turns on trapping among colors within each individual bitmap image (not just where they touch vector artwork and text). Use this option only for page ranges containing simple, high-contrast images, such as screen shots or cartoons. Leave it unselected for continuous-tone and other complicated images, as it will create bad traps. Trapping is faster when this option is unselected.

Trap 1-Bit Images

Ensures that 1‑bit images trap to abutting objects. This option doesn’t use the Image Trap Placement settings, because 1‑bit images use only one color. In most cases, leave this option selected. In some cases, such as with 1‑bit images where pixels are widely spaced, selecting this option may darken the image and slow the trapping.

Set sliding traps

  1. Choose New Preset in the panel menu to create a preset, or double-click a preset to edit it.
  2. In the Trap Thresholds section, for Sliding Trap, enter a percentage from 0 to 100, or use the default of 70%. At 0%, all traps default to centerline; at 100%, sliding traps are turned off, forcing one color to be spread fully into another regardless of the neutral density relationship of the abutting colors.

About trapping black

When creating or editing presets, the value you type for Black Color determines what is considered solid black and rich black. A rich black is any black color that uses a support screen—additional percentages of one or more process inks to strengthen the black.

The Black Color setting is useful when you must compensate for extreme dot gain (as when using low-grade paper stock). These situations cause black percentages lower than 100% to print as solid areas. By screening back blacks or rich blacks (using tints of solid black) and decreasing the Black Color setting from its default of 100%, you can compensate for dot gain and ensure that the trapping engine will apply the proper trap width and placement to black objects.

When a color reaches the Black Color value, the Black trap width value is applied to all abutting colors, and keepaway traps are applied to rich black areas using the Black trap width value.

If support screens extend all the way to the edge of a black area, any misregistration causes the edges of support screens to become visible, creating an unwanted halo or distorting the edges of objects. The trapping engine uses a keepaway, or a holdback, for rich blacks to keep support screens a specified distance away from edges of reversed-out or light elements in the foreground, so that the light elements retain their sharpness. You control the distance of support screens from the edges of black areas by specifying the Black trap width value.


If the element you’re trapping is a thin element, such as a black keyline around graphics, the trapping engine overrides the Black trap width setting and limits the trap to half the width of the thin element.

Set the trap width for colors next to black

  1. Choose New Preset in the panel menu to create a preset, or double-click a preset to edit it.
  2. In the Trap Width section, for Black, enter a distance (in points) for how far you want other colors to spread into black, or for how far you want support screens choked back under black. Typically, the Black trap width is set to be 1.5 to 2 times the value of the Default trap width.
  3. For Black Color and Black Density, set values.

To use black trapping features, a color area must use an ink with a neutral density greater than or equal to the Black Density, and the ink must occur in percentages greater than or equal to the Black Color.

Print books with conflicting trap presets

You can apply one trap preset to one sheet of output, such as one page. Normally this is not a concern. However, if you print multiple documents in a book, and each document or page has a different trap preset, InDesign can resolve some trap preset conflicts by synchronizing presets among documents:

  • If documents in a book use different trap presets with the same name, InDesign assigns the trap preset used in the master document, provided you’ve selected the Trap Preset option in the Synchronize Options dialog box.

  • The synchronizing feature makes all the master document’s presets available to the other documents in the book, but does not assign them; you have to assign trap presets in each document, or use the [Default] trap preset. The presets appear in the Trap Preset menu of the document’s Assign Trap Presets dialog box.


If different trap presets are applied to pages in a spread, InDesign honors each trap preset.


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