How to add bleed

Is the term bleed confusing you? Here's how to add it

Merishe Ferreira avatar
Written by Merishe Ferreira
Updated over a week ago

Adobe Photoshop

  1. Open Photoshop and click File > New...

  2. Enter the FULL ORDERS SIZE INCLUDING BLEED dimensions. 3mm to each side of the artwork.

    (Example 210mm+6 x 297mm + 6mm: Canvas Size: 216mm x 303mm)

  3. Set the Resolution at 300 pixels/inch (Image > Image Size > Resolution > Change to 300 > Select OK)

  4. Set the Colour Mode to CMYK (Image > Mode > CMYK)

  5. Save as photoshop PDF (Be sure to de-select editing capabilities)

Adobe Illustrator

  1. Open Illustrator and click File > New...

  2. Enter the product size dimensions in their respective places. Under Bleed add 3mm to each side of the artwork.

  3. Set the Colour Mode to CMYK

  4. Set the Raster Effects at High (300ppi)

Adobe InDesign

  1. Open InDesign and click File > New > Document...

  2. Enter the dimensions under width and height.

  3. Under Margins enter 3mm for the top, bottom, left and right bleed, Scroll down to bleed and slug.

  4. If you do not see "Bleed and Slug" at the bottom of the window, click the "More Options" button.

  5. Enter 3mm for the top, bottom, left and right bleed


Step 1

The content to be used as bleed needs to go into the drawing space (the rectangle indicating your ‘page’ in Corel). We must therefore add 6 mm to the page dimensions by changing the page size from x wide, y high to (x + 6) wide and (y + 6) high.

  • The dimensions are displayed in the toolbar across the top of the screen. Simply type in your new dimensions here.

Step 2

Create a rectangle that is the actual page size – x wide by y high. Centre it on the page area by going to Arrange > Align and Distribute > Center to Page (or by just using the simple keyboard shortcut, ‘P’. We’re all about keyboard shortcuts here!). Now you have a border showing where the print ends and another indicating how far the bleed needs to extend beyond it.

Step 3

It’s often helpful to create a frame to show how the final image will look once the bleed is trimmed off. To do this, just create another rectangle that’s larger than the page area and then use the Trim tool to cut the smaller print border rectangle out of it. Ta-dah! A simple frame. You can move this out of the way and use it whenever you want to see exactly what’s to appear in the final print once the bleed area is cut off. Just click on your frame, ensure it’s the front layer (CTRL + Home) and press ‘P’ to move it to where it needs to be.

Step 4

To export the final file with bleed:

  • Go to File > Publish to PDF.

  • In Settings…, go to the Prepress tab.

  • Tick the ‘bleed lines’ option and enter 3 mm. Hit OK.

  • Click Save.

(For reference, to export without bleed, use the same process but deselect the ‘bleed lines’ option. This exports the image with the bleed area cut off.)

That’s all there is to it!


  1. Select Share (Top Right)

  2. Select Download in the drop-down menu

  3. File Type PDF Print

  4. Select Crop Marks & Bleed

  5. Select Flatten PDF

  6. Select Download

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