bleed specifications

Adobe Photoshop

Existing Document:

  1. Add guides lines by going to the View dropdown menu and clicking on Rulers
  2. Rulers will be placed in your document window. Click on the rulers and drag guidelines to all 4 edges of the document.
  3. After the guidelines are set, go into the Image dropdown menu and select Canvas Size.
  4. Add .25” to both the height at width of the document. If you want a 5”x7” card to have a bleed area, the canvas size must be set to 5.25”x7.25”.
  5. Once the canvas size has been changed, the guidelines from the original document will stay, indicating the edge of the print area and beginning of the bleed area.
  6. Save the document as a PDF using PDF settings Press Quality (for almost all CMYK printing) or High Quality Printing (if the artwork includes spot colors).

New Document:

  1. Open a new document, setting your dpi (resolution) to 300 pixel/inch.
  2. When choosing the dimensions of the document add .25” to the width and height (allowing for .125” on all sides). For example, if you want a 5”x7” card to have a bleed, the Photoshop file must be set to 5.25”x7.25”.
  3. Once the dimensions are set, use the guide tool to set guides at .125” for the height and width to designate where the bleed area will be.
  4. Design with the bleed area in mind, making sure not to put crucial text or images within the area.
  5. Save the document as a PDF using PDF settings Press Quality (for almost all CMYK printing) or High Quality Printing (if the artwork includes spot colors).

Adobe InDesign

Existing Document:

  1. Go to the File dropdown menu and select Document Setup
  2. Select Bleed and Slug
  3. Enter .125” for top, bottom, left, and right values
  4. Check the Preview box in the dialogue box to see what the bleed area will look like on your document (it will be represented by a red guide). Any elements that bleed must extend to the red box.
  5. Export your document as a PDF using the Press Quality or High Quality Printing setting. Under the Marks and Bleed tab, check the Use Document Bleed Settings box and verify that .125” is entered for top, bottom, left, and right values.

New Document:

  1. Open a new document. Select Bleed and Slug and enter .125” for top, bottom, left, and right values
  2. Check the Preview box in the dialogue box to see what the bleed area will look like on your document (it will be represented by a red guide). Any elements that bleed must extend to the red box.
  3. Use the bleed guides while positioning your artwork or design to ensure that your design fits within the lines.
  4. Export your document as a PDF using the Press Quality or High Quality Printing setting. Under the Marks and Bleed tab, check the Use Document Bleed Settings box and verify that .125” is entered for top, bottom, left, and right values.

Adobe Illustrator

Existing Document:

  1. Go to the File dropdown menu and select Document Setup
  2. Under Bleed, enter .125” for top, bottom, left, and right values
  3. A red box will appear around your document, indicating where the bleed area is.
  4. Any elements that bleed must extend to the red box.
  5. Under the File dropdown menu, select Save As and save your document as a PDF (choose Adobe PDF in the Format dropdown menu in the Save As dialogue box). Use PDF settings Press Quality (for almost all CMYK printing) or High Quality Printing (if the artwork includes spot colors).
  6. Click Save. Then, under the Marks and Bleed tab, check the Use Document Bleed Settings box.

New Document:

  1. Open a new document.
  2. In the New Document dialogue window, enter .125” for top, bottom, left, and right values
  3. A red box will appear around your document, indicating where the bleed area is.
  4. Any elements that bleed must extend to the red box.
  5. Under the File dropdown menu, select Save As and save your document as a PDF (choose Adobe PDF in the Format dropdown menu in the Save As dialogue box). Use PDF settings Press Quality (for almost all CMYK printing) or High Quality Printing (if the artwork includes spot colors).
  6. Click Save. Then, under the Marks and Bleed tab, check the Use Document Bleed Settings box.
Examples of good and bad bleed practices