Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Illustration by Don Barnett

Setting trim size and bleed


Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Setting trim size and bleed

In this exercise, we are going to discuss two page attributes that are specifically applicable to printing directly from Illustrator, whether we are printing this file from Illustrator to a local printer, something in the building that's connected to a network or directly to the computer itself, or whether we are prepping an illustration for pre-press to send out to a commercial print house. Either way, you want to keep track of trim size and bleed size inside of your illustration. What in the world am I talking about? Well, let me demonstrate. I have opened Murderous assets, you may want to go ahead and open. If you don't have the fonts, you would open Murderous outlines, both found inside the 11_printing folder. All of the three artboards inside of this document, they are all the same size.
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  1. 42m 8s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 58s
    2. The Welcome screen
      3m 3s
    3. Creating a new document
      5m 6s
    4. Advanced document controls
      4m 43s
    5. Saving a custom New Document Profile
      8m 46s
    6. Changing the document setup
      4m 21s
    7. Special artboard controls
      4m 58s
    8. Accepting artboard changes
      2m 19s
    9. Saving a document
      4m 33s
    10. Closing a document
      2m 21s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Adobe Bridge
    2. Opening an illustration
      4m 45s
    3. Modifying an illustration
      6m 27s
    4. Saving changes
      4m 58s
    5. Introducing Adobe Bridge
      8m 41s
    6. The all-important file type associations
      3m 20s
    7. Navigating inside Bridge
      4m 23s
    8. Previewing and collecting
      5m 55s
    9. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    10. Customizing a workspace
      6m 14s
    11. Cool Bridge tricks
      8m 17s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
    2. Keyboard increments
      5m 12s
    3. Scratch disks
      3m 48s
    4. Changing the user interface and setting Appearance of Black
      4m 14s
    5. Best workflow color settings
      9m 17s
    6. Synchronizing settings across CS4
      3m 2s
    7. Working inside tabbed windows
      7m 6s
    8. Organizing palettes
      5m 4s
    9. Saving a custom workspace
      4m 12s
    10. Zooming and panning
      4m 19s
    11. Using the Zoom tool
      3m 3s
    12. Navigating the artboards
      5m 5s
    13. Nudging the screen image
      3m 3s
    14. Scroll-wheel tricks
      2m 8s
    15. Cycling between screen modes
      4m 35s
  4. 1h 22m
    1. The Wedjat (or Eye of Horus)
    2. The line tools
      2m 57s
    3. Introducing layers
      5m 10s
    4. Creating ruler guides
      6m 18s
    5. Creating custom guides
      5m 16s
    6. Snap-to points
      5m 25s
    7. Organizing guides
      5m 44s
    8. Making a tracing template
      3m 42s
    9. Drawing a line segment
      4m 29s
    10. Drawing a continuous arc
      5m 28s
    11. Drawing a looping spiral
      6m 5s
    12. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 20s
    13. Joining open paths
      7m 31s
    14. Aligning and joining points
      6m 34s
    15. Drawing concentric circles
      4m 41s
    16. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      5m 34s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the shape tools
      3m 5s
    3. The traceable Tonalpohualli
      2m 52s
    4. Drawing circles
      4m 38s
    5. Enhanced Smart Guides
      4m 1s
    6. Aligning to a key object
      4m 29s
    7. Creating polygons and stars
      5m 4s
    8. Using the Measure tool
      3m 47s
    9. The Select Similar and Arrange commands
      3m 56s
    10. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 8s
    11. The amazing constraint axes
      5m 26s
    12. Grouping and ungrouping
      3m 35s
    13. Flipping and duplicating
      4m 12s
    14. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      5m 24s
    15. Cutting and connecting with Scissors and Join
      3m 31s
    16. Tilde-key goofiness
      2m 53s
  6. 1h 41m
    1. The ingredients of life
    2. Fill and Stroke settings
      4m 22s
    3. Transparency grid and paper color
      5m 47s
    4. The None attribute
      5m 4s
    5. Color libraries and sliders
      3m 39s
    6. Industry-standard colors
      4m 38s
    7. Using CMYK for commercial output
      6m 39s
    8. Using RGB for the web
      7m 23s
    9. Color palette tips and tricks
      7m 18s
    10. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 35s
    11. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      6m 46s
    12. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 39s
    13. Dragging and dropping swatches
      5m 0s
    14. Paste in Front, Paste in Back
      4m 54s
    15. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 28s
    16. Pasting between layers
      4m 41s
    17. Joins, caps, and dashes
      6m 50s
    18. Fixing strokes and isolating edits
      7m 12s
    19. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 57s
  7. 1h 50m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 20s
    2. From primitive to polished art
      2m 42s
    3. Using the Blob brush
      5m 46s
    4. Resizing the brush and erasing
      4m 15s
    5. Selection limits and methods of merging
      6m 39s
    6. Cloning and auto-duplicating
      6m 45s
    7. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 7s
    8. Moving by the numbers
      5m 15s
    9. Using the Reshape tool
      7m 47s
    10. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 14s
    11. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 43s
    12. Styling and eyedropping
      5m 29s
    13. Making a black-and-white template
      2m 27s
    14. Scale and clone
      4m 57s
    15. Enlarge and stack
      5m 46s
    16. Positioning the origin point
      6m 59s
    17. Using the Rotate tool
      3m 55s
    18. Using the Reflect tool
      4m 15s
    19. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      6m 48s
    20. Rotating by the numbers
      6m 12s
    21. Transforming the tile patterns
      7m 52s
  8. 2h 4m
    1. Next-generation text wrangling
    2. Placing a text document
      5m 38s
    3. Creating a new text block
      6m 1s
    4. Working with point text
      3m 57s
    5. Selecting the perfect typeface
      5m 44s
    6. Scaling and positioning type
      8m 57s
    7. Leading, tracking, and lots of shortcuts
      5m 54s
    8. Adjusting pair kerning
      6m 55s
    9. Eyedropping formatting attributes
      3m 54s
    10. Flowing text from one block to another
      8m 28s
    11. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      7m 39s
    12. Rendering the text in graphite
      5m 55s
    13. Creating a scribbly drop shadow
      5m 17s
    14. Advanced formatting and bullets
      7m 43s
    15. Setting Area Type options
      4m 57s
    16. Justification and the Every-line Composer
      5m 52s
    17. OpenType and ligatures
      7m 19s
    18. Fractions, numerals, and ordinals
      9m 7s
    19. Swashes and small caps
      5m 40s
    20. The amazing Glyphs palette
      8m 12s
  9. 1h 18m
    1. Points are boys, handles are girls
      1m 20s
    2. Placing an image as a tracing template
      6m 56s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path
      6m 8s
    4. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      6m 50s
    5. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      9m 7s
    6. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 29s
    7. Defining a cusp between two curves
      6m 59s
    8. Replicating and reshaping segments
      8m 31s
    9. Converting anchor points
      7m 55s
    10. Deleting stray anchor points
      5m 1s
    11. Separating and closing paths
      5m 43s
    12. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 55s
  10. 1h 40m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 34s
    2. Exploring the Appearance palette
      9m 54s
    3. Snip and Spin
      8m 3s
    4. Adding a center point
      4m 12s
    5. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 42s
    6. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      5m 54s
    7. Saving and recalling selections
      6m 20s
    8. Rotating is a circular operation
      8m 32s
    9. Lassoing and scaling points
      5m 28s
    10. Using the Transform Each command
      4m 11s
    11. Using the Magic Wand tool
      8m 1s
    12. Eyedropping live effects
      9m 58s
    13. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 50s
    14. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      7m 59s
    15. Scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      5m 16s
    16. Expand before you merge
      4m 17s
  11. 1h 26m
    1. The new pleasures of printing
    2. Outlines and artboards in CS4
      7m 35s
    3. Setting trim size and bleed
      7m 17s
    4. Creating custom dynamic crop marks
      3m 41s
    5. Working with the Separations Preview palette
      7m 42s
    6. Trapping an object with an overprint stroke
      8m 20s
    7. Placing multiple artboards into InDesign
      5m 17s
    8. Working with the Print Tiling tool
      4m 56s
    9. Setting the General Print options
      6m 9s
    10. Setting printer marks
      5m 16s
    11. PostScript-only output and graphics
      9m 10s
    12. The Color Management options
      6m 56s
    13. Adjusting the Flattener settings
      7m 32s
    14. Setting the Raster Effects resolution
      5m 33s
  12. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator does pixels
    2. Illustrator, PDF, and Save As formats
      8m 15s
    3. Saving an illustration for the web
      6m 13s
    4. Saving a continuous-tone JPEG image
      10m 2s
    5. Saving a high-contrast GIF graphic
      6m 27s
    6. The versatile PNG format
      4m 45s
    7. Saving a scaleable Flash (SWF) graphic
      11m 0s
    8. Opening and placing an Illustrator file in Photoshop
      12m 44s
    9. Exporting a layered PSD from Illustrator
      12m 57s
    10. Exporting to Microsoft Office and PowerPoint
      7m 24s
    11. Sharing with InDesign, Flash, and Photoshop
      12m 12s
  13. 1m 4s
    1. Until next time
      1m 4s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals
16h 48m Beginner Feb 06, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Creating continuous arcs and looping spirals
  • Building with geometric shapes
  • Selecting, placing, and scaling type
  • Creating spine curves with round corners
  • Using the new Blob brush to quickly draw and merge paths
  • Working with flattener and raster effects
  • Saving illustrations for the web
Deke McClelland

Setting trim size and bleed

In this exercise, we are going to discuss two page attributes that are specifically applicable to printing directly from Illustrator, whether we are printing this file from Illustrator to a local printer, something in the building that's connected to a network or directly to the computer itself, or whether we are prepping an illustration for pre-press to send out to a commercial print house. Either way, you want to keep track of trim size and bleed size inside of your illustration. What in the world am I talking about? Well, let me demonstrate. I have opened Murderous assets, you may want to go ahead and open. If you don't have the fonts, you would open Murderous outlines, both found inside the 11_printing folder. All of the three artboards inside of this document, they are all the same size.

So to check out what size they are, I'm going to go ahead and switch over to the Artboard tool by pressing Shift+O of course. We are just clicking on the tool and by default, the first artboard is selected and I can see it up here in the Options bar that it's 504 points wide and 648 points tall. What in the world does that mean, in inches? Let's go ahead and press Ctrl+R or Command+R on the Mac to bring up the rulers, and then I'll right-click on this ruler right here and choose Inches, and then I can see-- That would be a Ctrl-click on the mouse, if you have a right mouse button. You will see that this document measures 7 inches wide by 9 inches tall.

And then of course, if you are curious how big it is in centimeters or something along those lines, you could choose that as well, and I apologize, since I'm working here in the United States, we don't know anything about the metric system, we never will. We will be the only people on the planet one day. I am going to press Ctrl+R, Command+R on the Mac to hide that ruler and I'm just going to press the Escape key in order to return to the standard Editing Mode here. So I just want you to know, we have got three artboards, they are all 7x9 inches. That will tidily fit on your A4 page and your letter size page and all that jazz in case you want to print this document.

But that is the trim size. So in other words, by default, Illustrator is set up to only print the area inside of that artboard. Anything that sloughs over outside the artboard, like all this extra red right here, this red gradient area, that will not print by default. You can force it to print if you want to, but by default, it won't. And also, Illustrator will go ahead and give you trim marks right here at the boundaries and the corners that is of this trim size here, which is represented by the artboard. So the artboard and the trim size are one and the same. It will go ahead and add trim marks so that your printer can cut your page for you.

The thing is that's going to work out just fine for my other two pages. So for Page 2, for example, you notice that I have got a white background. So, there is no issues there, we will just have a nice trim size, and we don't need to have the ink go all the way to the edge of the page, so we are fine. We don't need to bleed. Then I'll switch over to Page 3 or artboard number three if you prefer, the same thing, that t-shirt fits tidily on the page in its entirety. It's just back here on Page 1. I'll go ahead and click on this little first button, actually to save myself the time of choosing one all the time.

Back here on Page 1, we have this gradient that exceeds the boundary, and so in order to make that work, we need to go ahead and establish a bleed. The reason being if the printer goes ahead and trims this red to the exact size of my page, and then the printer has to turn around to trim the pages manually. I mean with knives that are actually slicing the pieces of paper. Why then, we are going to have a little bit of a white edge at some place where the paper is exposed because not everything is going to be done exactly right. We need a little bit of a wiggle room and that's where bleed comes in.

So what I have done is I have setup some bleed artwork here, and I'm going to show you how I did that in just a moment. But let's let Illustrator know that we have a bleed. By going up to the File menu, and choosing the Document Setup command, you could also much more easily just click on this Document Setup button right there in the Control palette, so that's what I'll do. Right here at the top, you can see that we have some bleed options. Right now the Bleed is set to 0. I would go ahead and make sure this little Chain icon is on. You only want to turn it off if you want to set each bleed independently. Now my printer asks for a pica-and-a-half of bleed, which is 18 points by the way, and that is industry standard, you will find some commercial print houses want more bleed than that. In my opinion, that's an awful lot.

I would prefer that they gave me a little more wiggle room than that by having a smaller bleed. But anyway, they want a big, chunky, quadrants bleed, is what that boils down to. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that and then you are going to see this red outline here. I'm going to click inside of my zoom factor and press Shift+Down-Arrow and then press the Return key or the Enter key here on the PC in order to take in the entire bleed. So this would be the boundary of the bleed, and now we are ready to print this document. This red gradient would extend to this red boundary right there and if the red gradient goes outside that bleed boundary that's just perfectly fine. You just want to make sure that you have enough of whatever material you want to expose all the way to the edge of the page to fill in that bleed boundary which we do.

Now I want to show you how I made this bleed artwork. I'm going to click right there, right at the trim size, at the boundary of the artboard. This is the rectangle that makes up the gradient artwork and if I were to drag it to a different location, you can see the entire thing moves, and I have established this by of course dragging with the Rectangle tool, filling it with the gradient, using the Gradient tool by the way, in order to establish exactly where the gradient lies, and I'm going to be discussing the Gradient tool in all kinds of detail in a future chapter, in a chapter in Part-2 of this series.

But here is the salient point. I'm going to switch back to my Black Arrow tool here. Here is the really important stuff. Here in the Appearance palette, I want you to make sure that the Appearance palette is visible. If you twirl open the Fill as I have, you will see this item right there called Transform. That transform in our case doesn't have to be assigned strictly to the Fill, because we don't have a stroke. So it could be assigned to the path in general like so. I'm going to get exactly the same effect as you see here. So I just dragged it up to the top of Appearance palette so that it's assigned to the object as opposed to the attribute. Then I'll click on Transform. Make sure the Preview checkbox is on so I can see what I'm doing. I would make sure that all of my scaling is happening with respect to the center of the shapes, and my origin is set to the center right there, and then you can see that I have got the Horizontal Scale value set to 114 % and the Vertical Scale value set to 110 %. I could take those values down if I wanted to.

I will press the Down Arrow key for Vertical and you can see a change in the background. I just want to make sure that it doesn't go into the bleed. It should say outside the bleed boundary, just to keep things safe, and I'll take this guy tighter to the bleed as well. Now notice that I'm having two different percentages for Horizontal and Vertical to get the same results here, and the reason is because it is a relative change, and the document is narrower than it is tall. So it requires a smaller percentage assigned to the Vertical value to do just as much damage here as the larger Horizontal value. If that makes sense.

All right, if it doesn't, I'm going to click the OK button in order to apply these changes and this is what we have. We have an industry-standard bleed set up inside of this document and this is going to serve us extremely well when we go to print the document in a future exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals .

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Q: Adobe Bridge CS4 is not previewing files in the same way for me as it is in the tutorial. All I am seeing is a low-quality thumbnail of the image, not previews of each artboard.  Why is there a difference between the tutorial and what I am seeing?
A: There is a different view in the tutorial because the author used a beta version of Bridge during the recording. The final release of Bridge CS4 displays thumbnails as you describe.
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