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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
Let's say you're making this brochure and you want this background color to extend all the way to the edge of the page. Well, in order for this to work, you have to actually extend it past the edge of the page onto the pasteboard. Here's why/ Let's say it reaches just to the edge of the page, when it ends up on a printing press the paper might move just a tiny amount but you'd end up with a little white sliver down one side. So to compensate, printers want you to extend the object off the page onto the pasteboard and this is called a bleed.
They print the whole thing on a larger sheet of paper and they trim it down to where the edge should be. But how far onto the pasteboard should these objects go? A little bit? A lot? Well, it would be helpful to have some guides to guide us in this process. And we can get those guides by going to the File menu and choosing Document Setup. At the bottom of the Document Setup dialog box, you'll see Bleed and Slug options. Well, if you don't see them make sure you click on More Options so that you do see them, but once you see them you can add a bleed guide.
I'm going to add a bleed guide of about 9 points, p9. You could just type in 3 millimeters if you want or 0.125 inches, about an eighth of an inch or 9 points is pretty good for a bleed guide. And I'm going to make sure that I've got bleed guides on all four sides of my page by clicking on the Link button over here. I'll unlink it and then link it again, there we go. Now I have got 9 points on all four sides of the document. Great! Click OK, and you'll see that I now have this red line on the outside of the document page, out on the pasteboard, and that's my bleed guide.
That's going to give me an indication of where things should bleed to. You don't have to do a bleed guide if you don't want to, but it certainly makes it a lot easier. Now all I need to do is resize my objects until they snap to that red line. I'll grab that image back here and I'll resize that as well, just snap that up in the corners and I'll snap this down to the bottom here. This is going to take just a moment here. I'll click on this image over here, snap that to the corner and it looks like I've got an orange frame here, better snap that and this. It just takes a few moments here to resize all your objects until you have them bleeding off the page onto the pasteboard all the way to your bleed guides.
And that looks pretty good. We can check to make sure that it's looking just right by going into Preview Mode. I'll press W to go into Preview Mode and I can see that everything's still bleeding. The document looks just the way I want it to be. It looks terrific. But there's one thing you absolutely have to keep in mind when you're bleeding off to the edge. And that is, you need to set up either your Print dialog box or your Export PDF dialog box to include your bleed. I can't tell you how many InDesign users have been frustrated, they add bleed guides, they make everything bleed off the page, and then they're frustrated because it won't bleed in their output.
Well, you must take one additional step and I'll show you how to do that by exporting to a PDF. I'll go into much more detail on how to export PDFs in a later chapter, but I'll just do the quick version here, I'll choose Export from the File menu and I'm going to save this to my Desktop as a PDF file. I'll choose PDF from the Format pop-up menu here. I'm going to leave this set up. I'll just use this High-Quality Print Preset and here in the Marks and Bleeds pane, that's what I want to pay attention to right now, I want to make sure I've got my Printer Marks on and I want the Use Document Bleed Settings.
If this is off and these are set to 0, I'm not going to get my bleed. That's the important thing that I'm trying to get across to you. Make sure that you either type in the values manually here, I mean I could just type in 9 points or 3 millimeters or whatever, or much easier, just turn on Use Document Bleed Settings and it takes those values that I put into the Document Setup dialog box and puts them in here for me automatically. And if I were printing this document instead of exporting it as a PDF, I would do the same thing but do it in the Marks and Bleed pane of the Print dialog box rather than the Export Adobe PDF dialog box. And that's great.
That's pretty much all I need to do. Now I click Export and it saves it out to a PDF and will open it in Acrobat. And here we go, here is the final PDF in Acrobat, you can see I've got trim marks where the where the edge of the page is and bleed marks where the edge of the bleed is. And I've got registration marks and it's good to go. Now when you're bleeding objects off your page you really need to talk to your printer first to make sure they're set up to print bleeds, and also to find out how large the bleed should be. I'm using this 9 points but they might want a larger bleed. Otherwise, if you don't talk to them you may not get the results you expect.
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