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Managing Print Projects: Setting Up Bleeds in InDesign

What is a standard bleed required for printing?

by Clark's Printing Co., Inc. August 16, 2022

Preparing print files can be a challenging task if you're doing it for the first time. However, InDesign makes it easy to prepare your next project for printing.

Here are 4 steps to prepare your project for printing:

Tip #1 - Setting Up Document Size

Open InDesign, select file > new > document. You'll see a window pop up next, where you can set your desired format. Under "units," (you'll see a column on the left side) change "picas" to "inches."

Let's say you're doing a 4 x 6 postcard - you'll need to put 4" in your height column, and 6" in your width. You've now successfully set up your final size for your artwork.

Tip #2 - Setting Up Bleed & Margins

Next, you'll need to set your margins at .5" for both Top, Bottom, Inside, and Outside. Following, proceed to the section titled "Bleed and Slug." Here, you'll want to put in a standard bleed of .125 in for both the Top, Bottom, Outside, and Inside margins. A .125" bleed is standard for most printers and will work fine for most print projects. You don't generally need to put anything in the "slug" category - you can leave it as 0" in all fields.

Tip #3 - Preparing to Print

After you've completed the prior step, click "create" to form your document. You'll see a red line all around the document - the space in between this line and your actual document is your bleed. With every design, make sure your background extends past the document size and all the way to the red line. Don't put any text, images, or illustrations too close to this area, as it could be cut off in the final printing process.

Tip #4 - Exporting to Print

Once you're done setting up your design, with adequate bleed included, go to file > Adobe PDF presets > press quality. Title your document, and click "save." Select from the pop-up "Marks and Bleeds," and check the "crop marks" box. Then, under "Bleed and Slug," enter .125" in all boxes (Top, Inside, Bottom, and Outside) , and select "export." You've successfully completed all your steps, and your file is ready to send to print!

Tip #5 - Call with any questions!

Feel free to call with any questions - I'm here to help! (805) 643-2266.

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