Duluth 3075 Breckinridge Blvd.
Suite 445
Duluth, Georgia 30096
(678) 405-4444
Hours: 8:30 am - 6:00 pm

Bleeds & Crops in Duluth, GA


Adding Bleeds and Crop Marks

You've designed your printed piece and now you'd like it to look its very best in the final product. So do we! If you've created a layout where anything -- and we mean anything -- touches the edge of the page, that's called a "bleed".

It's called a "bleed" because printing equipment cannot actually print exactly to the edge of a piece of paper. A bleeding item must be printed with a little extra and trimmed down to the final size, so that the item has the appearance of going exactly to the edge. Alphagraphics bleeds and crops help

The image to the right is an example of a print that bleeds. The bleed points are indicated by the red asterisks.

How do we know where to trim the piece? We need guides, called "crop marks" or "trim marks" to tell our bindery specialist how to cut your piece to its final size.

These file preparation instructions will help you set up a bleed design and export it to PDF so that it will have all the needed bleed and final trim marks, ready for us to print perfectly and deliver to you! This tutorial is for Adobe InDesign, but applies to almost all design software.

Buyer Beware!

Before we get started, you should be aware that not ALL software supports bleeds and crop marks. The most prominent examples are:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (do you see a pattern developing here?)
  • Photoshop (to some extent). Photoshop is usually used to create graphics that are then placed into other layout software. If you need to use Photoshop to make a complete piece with a bleed, make your Canvas size large enough to account for the bleed and give yourself guidelines to compensate for the trimming. 
    Example: to make a letter size flyer (8.5 x 11), set your Image/Canvas size to 8.75 x 11.25 (300 ppi), and pull guidelines at 1/8" on all 4 sides. We will apply crop marks when we receive the file.


Setting Up Your File From Scratch

OK ! Now that that's all out of the way, let's get started. Start a new document:  File>New...

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Alphagraphics bleeds and crops steps

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Exporting Your Final PDF

When you have finished creating your masterpiece, for us to print it, we would prefer to receive it as a Press-Ready PDF, complete with crop (trim) marks and bleeds. Here's how to do that:

  • Choose File>Adobe PDF Presets>[Press Quality]  (or, File>Export...)
  • Give your PDF a name and a destination. You should then see the following options dialog.
  • Note the different settings under "General" and "Marks and Bleeds"
Alphagraphics bleeds and crops steps
Alphagraphics bleeds and crops help
Alphagraphics bleeds and crops tutorial

If you find these tip sheets helpful, we'd love to hear from you. Review us on Google+ by clicking here.

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