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How to Set Up Bleed Using Adobe Illustrator

How to set up bleeds using Adobe Illustrator:

1A) If you are creating a new document

  1. Click File, New

  2. Adjust the Bleed (as indicated by the yellow box in the illustration below).

  3. Set the four values for Bleed to 0.125 in (1/8th of an inch).

  4. Set the Width and Height to the desired finished size of your piece.

1B) If you have an existing document

  1. Click File, Document Setup

  2. Set the four values for Bleed to 0.125 in (1/8th of an inch).

2) Now that you have set the bleed margin properly, look at the below example that illustrates the proper and improper use of trim and bleed margins.

  1. Bleed Line – the blue bleed line indicates where your photos, illustrations, and objects must extend to in order for your document to have proper bleeds. In this case, the gray colored box at the top must extend to the left, top, and right (not shown) bleed line.

  2. Trim Line – the red trim line indicates where the document’s final cut will be, and this will be the edge of your finished piece.

  3. Correct Placement of Text – be sure to place text (and other objects) that you don’t want to bleed at least 1/8″ inside the trim line to avoid the possibility of these elements being unintentionally clipped during cutting.

  4. Photos that Bleed – extend photos beyond the trim line and all the way to the bleed line.

  5. Non-Bleeding Object – Once again, be sure to place text (and other objects) that you don’t want to bleed at least 1/8″ inside the trim line to avoid the possibility of unintentional cutting.

  6. Improperly Bleeding Object – DO NOT place objects right up against the trim line. These objects will most likely not bleed or will be clipped during cutting.

3) Once you are done designing your document (and now that you have properly set up your document for bleeds)

  1. Click File and then Save in order to save a copy of your AI file before making a PDF.

  2. Then click File and then Save a Copy… A file save prompt should appear.

  3. Change the Save as format to Adobe PDF (*.PDF).

  4. Save this PDF file to a location that is easy to locate and give your file an appropriate name.

4) The Save Adobe PDF window will appear. This is the last step in the PDF saving process. Set the following:

  1. Adobe PDF Preset – choose an appropriate PDF preset. It’s recommended that you choose  “Press Quality” (built-in to Adobe products) to produce a file with proper resolution and color.

  2. Marks and Bleeds – click this to show the settings for marks and bleeds.

  3. Trim Marks – check Trim Marks and leave the other values at their default.

  4. Use Document Bleed Settings – IMPORTANT: be sure to check this box, otherwise all of your effort to create proper bleeds will be ignored when producing the final PDF.

5) The resulting file should be a PDF with properly formatted bleeds. Now is the time to send us the PDF file and we’ll look it over for you.