How to Set the Trim & Bleed in InDesign

by Andy Walton
Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Adobe InDesign's Document Setup panel allows you to set bleed areas and trim marks precisely, helping to ensure that your work looks professional when printed. A bleed is an area around the edges of a document that is designed to be cut away and discarded after printing. By printing into the bleed area and trimming the document, you can ensure that backgrounds and boxes appear to have been printed all the way to the very edge of your project.

Step 1

Open InDesign and then click “Open” from the “File” menu. Select the document you want to set bleed marks for and click the “Open” button.

Step 2

Click “File” and then select “Document Setup” to open the Document Setup menu.

Step 3

Enter the required dimensions for the document into the Width and Height boxes. You can specify whether your units are in inches or pixels by typing either “in” or “px” after the number. These boxes set the document's trim lines, denoting the “active” area of the document and indicating where the printed document should be cut.

Click “More Options” and then enter your desired bleed area size into the Bleed boxes. You can set separate bleed areas for the top, bottom, inside and outside of your document. Alternatively, enter a value into one box and click the “Make All Settings the Same” button to create an even bleed on all sides. When you are finished, click “OK” to confirm your settings.


  • Information in this article applies to InDesign CC. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.


  • You can also use the Document Setup panel to create a slug area. A slug area is outside the bleed area and is reserved for printer's marks and other instructions.


Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

About the Author

Andy Walton has been a technology writer since 2009, specializing in networking and mobile communications. He was previously an IT technician and product manager. Walton is based in Leicester, England, and holds a bachelor's degree in information systems from the University of Leeds.

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