Printer marks and hairlines (Acrobat Pro)

About printer marks in PDFs

When you prepare a document for print production, a number of marks are needed to help the print service provider align separation films for producing proofs, measure film for correct calibration and ink density, trim film to size, and so on. Printer marks indicate the boundaries of document boxes supported by Adobe PDF, such as trim boxes and bleed boxes.

You can add printer marks temporarily at print time using the Marks And Bleeds panel of the Advanced Print Setup dialog box, or you can embed printer marks in the file (and optionally in a layer) using the Add Printer Marks dialog box. For information about adding printer marks to just the printed output, see Include marks and bleeds.


A PDF created from Adobe InDesign CS and later can include printer marks, either in a separate layer or on the page. You can view these marks using the Layers tab in Acrobat. If the printer marks were exported as a layer, any printer marks you create using the Acrobat Add Printer Marks feature replace the InDesign printer marks. If the printer marks are not in a layer, Acrobat printer marks overlay InDesign printer marks and might not align.

Embed printer marks in a PDF

  1. Choose Tools > Print Production > Add Printer Marks.

  2. Specify the pages to mark.
  3. Specify the marks and settings.

Set Page Boxes dialog box overview

Use the Set Page Boxes dialog box (formerly called Crop Pages) to define boundaries for trim, bleed, and art when preparing your PDF for printing and other output. You can adjust the margins of document boxes supported by Adobe PDF, including the media (page size), trim, bleed, and art boxes. This capability is useful if the printer marks you add using the Add Printer Marks tool (not the Marks And Bleeds panel of the Advanced Print Setup dialog box) would be clipped because the crop box is too small to accommodate the marks. Print service providers can also use this tool to expand the page size for imposition tasks.

You can switch between boxes without losing the margins you set for each. As you adjust individual boxes, the preview in the Set Page Boxes dialog box is redrawn to reflect the new settings. For example, if you expand the crop or media box, the page content “shrinks” in the preview.


When the crop box is expanded, the media box adjusts accordingly.

Page Boxes dialog box
Set Page Boxes dialog box lets you set boundaries for trim, bleed, art, and page size

Open the Set Page Boxes dialog box

  1. Choose Tools > Print Production > Set Page Boxes.

Fix hairlines

Very thin lines, called hairlines, are problematic in offset printing. If left as is in PDFs, they might not appear in the final printed piece. The Fix Hairlines tool can find most hairlines and replace them with a heavier-weight line.

  1. Choose Tools > Print Production > Fix Hairlines.

  2. Enter a width for the hairline you want to find, and enter a replacement width.
    Fix Hairlines dialog box
    Adjust hairline widths using increment arrows. Shift-click arrows to change widths by whole integers.

  3. Select the unit of measurement from the Units menu.
  4. (Optional) Select Include Type3 Fonts or Include Patterns to replace hairlines in Type 3 characters or patterns with the same replacement width as other hairlines.

    Font characters and patterns can be used in a variety of contexts in the same document (for example, different magnification values), so changing the line width may produce unexpected results. Check the results if you select these options, and adjust your selections as necessary.

  5. Specify the pages to check.
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