How to Use Bleeds in Graphic Software

What is a Bleed?
Bleed refers to printed area that goes beyond the edge of the final page size before it is trimmed. In other words, bleed is the area to be trimmed off. It gives the printer some space to account for the paper shifting in the press. Artwork and background colors should extend into the bleed area to ensure that the final product will have no blank or unfinished edges once it is trimmed.

Standard bleed size in USA is a 1/8 inch on each side of the document (0.125 on the right, left, top and bottom).

How to Make a Bleed in Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop doesn’t have an option to add bleed to documents automatically, so let’s talk about this process with an example:
When you want to make an 8.5×11 inch letter size document you should make the dimensions to have the bleeds, so the new document file size would be 8.75×11.25 inches. This will allow an extra 1/8 inch on every side for the bleed. Any color background or image on this document should extend into the bleed area.

How to Make a Bleed in Adobe InDesign
InDesign does this process automatically. When you create a new file in Adobe InDesign you can setup bleeds in the new file window by clicking on “More Options” and adding 0.125 on the “bleed boxes”. The new document will now have the bleeds. Again, any color background or image on this document should extend into the bleed area.

How to Make a Bleed in Adobe Illustrator
Illustrator does this process automatically. When you create a new file in Adobe InDesign you can setup bleeds in the new file window by clicking on “More Options” and adding 0.125 on the “bleed boxes”. The new document will now have the bleeds. Again, any color background or image on this document should extend into the bleed area.

How to Save a File with a Bleed as an Exported PDF
From Photoshop, all you need to do is “File > Save As” and select “Photoshop PDF.”
From Illustrator, go to “File > Save As” and select “Adobe PDF” Then, in the PDF window, go to “Margins and Bleeds” tab on the left side and select “Use Document Bleed Settings.”
From InDesign, go to “File > Export” and select “PDF” Then, in the PDF window, go to “Margins and Bleeds” tab on the left side and select “Use Document Bleed Settings.”

Ash Sami

Senior Graphic Designer

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