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InDesign Setting to Show Bleeds in PDF - InDesign CS2 Tutorial

Jake Van Ness


June, 2007

In this tutorial you will learn how to set up an InDesign document and save it as a PDF with your bleeds showing.


1. Open InDesign and go to File – New - Document

New Document


2. The New Doc pallet will open with it's default setting for Letter Size. I have decided to work with a business card size document. So you will need to change the width to 3.5 inches and the height to 2 inches.


3. Find the Margins section.

Margins Section


4. Change the Top margin to .125 inches (in red) and then click on broken link just right of the Top and Bottom margins (in green). This will apply the first setting to all four margins.

First Margin Changed


5. Once we have the margins done we now want to set our Bleeds. To do this we will need to bring up the rest of the options by clicking on More Options (in red).

Click More Options


6. You will see the button change to Fewer Options and two new rows of setting will appear for the Bleed and Slug.


7. Most print shops require between .125 inch and .75 inch bleeds. Where I work we require .125 inches so that will be what we use for this tutorial. Change the Top bleed to .125 inches (in red) and then click on the broken link to the far right of that row (in green). This will change them to all match.

Change First Bleed Setting


8. Once you have the bleeds set you can hit OK and you will see a new document with a set of margins and bleeds.

New Document Shown


9. The inside line shown in pink is the margin and the outside line shown in red is the bleed. The middle one in black is the actual finished document size.

Lines Marked


10. As you will see in the image below I have added some boxes of color to the left side and a set of triangles to the bottom right corner.

Art Added to Document


11. As you can see I have made sure they run into the bleed area.

Art Bleed Shown


12. You can preview how the document looks without the bleeds but just hitting the W key. This will gray out the bleeds so it is just the finished document size. This is good for checking to see if anything that shouldn't be in the bleeds does not fall into that area.

Animation to show bleeds hidden


13. Now that we have a document set up we will learn to export the document to a PDF that shows the bleeds. You will go to the File menu and then select Export.

Export Menu Item


14. An Export window will open for you to name your PDF. I chose to name the file BCBleeds.pdf

Name Export File


15. Once you hit Save the Export Adobe PDF window will open. I chose to use the High Quality Print setting and then adjust from that. The printer you work with may have their own special setting so be sure to check with them.

Export Window


16. On the left you will see a list of setting you can work with. We are going to go into the Marks and Bleeds section.

Marks and Bleeds Section


17. I have highlighted the items I chose to click on. You don't have to put on your page information if you don't want to. For me it is just a habit. The important area to locate for this tutorial is the Bleed and Slug section at the bottom (last red indicator).

Items Clicked On


18. When you click the setting Use Document Bleed Settings you will see the four Bleed setting gray out. This is because it is using the Bleed settings that you set up at the beginning of this tutorial. You can see in the boxes that even though they are gray they have changed to the .125 inches setting. This is because it picks up what we had already set.

Animation to Show Bleed and Slug Settings


19. Once the setting are check on that you want you can hit Export.



20. Depending on if you have the automatic open checked on or not you may need to open your Acrobat to open the file we just created. If the auto open is on then it will pop open for you.

21. As you can see there are crop marks that fall with in the color bars and triangles we made. This is because these marks are indicating where the cuts should be to make our final document size.

Actual PDF


22. Here is a closer look at how the marks cut into the image. Some printers may not want these crop marks on because it can sometimes make it tougher to trim the document correctly but this is a good practice when you are proofing someone. This will show that the image will bleed off and the cut should be much more professional looking because of that. There will be no risk of white lines showing on the sides of your document after trimming. This may happen if you do not use bleeds. So this is how you set up your InDesign document to show your bleeds when you export it to a PDF.

Trim Marks Shown Closer





Download the original source files from this tutorial in Zip format Here

Copyright (c) 2007, Jake Van Ness, All Rights Reserved

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