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Adobe Photoshop Tutorial – Adding Bleed

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial – Adding Bleed


Hi and welcome to this printed.com tutorial on how to add bleed in Photoshop. My name’s Dan, and I’m going to show you through the process. Bleed is an area of print outside the document that’s trimmed after printing. It’s there as a precaution to make sure there’s no white space left on the document after it’s trimmed. When preparing a document for print, it’s really important to make sure the image extends right to the edge of the bleed, and that any text is set at a safe distance from the trim line. Photoshop doesn’t have a bleed option, so instead we have to manually add space to the edge of the document. To start, click file-new, and set your document size. At printed.com we require documents to be set to CMYK colour mode, with a resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi). Once those are set, click OK. Now the document’s set up, we can prepare to add bleed. To make sure we can see where the trim line will be, we need to drag guides to the edges of the document. Go to view-rulers to show the rulers, or press ctrl+r (or cmd+r on a mac). Use the mouse to drag line guides from the rulers to the edges of the document. They should snap to the edges. If they don’t, make sure snapping’s on by clicking view-snap to, and make sure document bounds is ticked. Once we have guides on all four sides, we can add bleed. To add bleed, go to image-canvas size, and make sure the units are set to millimetres. We need to add 6 millimetres to the values in these boxes. That’s 3 millimetres on each side of the document. Photoshop doesn’t add the number automatically, so you’ll need to calculate it yourself. Once your values are correct, click OK, and the document should expand on all sides. It’s really important to make sure any images extend right up to the edge of the bleed. The area inside the line guides is the area that will appear in print – the rest will be trimmed off. Make sure any text is set over 3mm from this line, so it won’t be cut off. To export your document for print, click file-save as, and choose Photoshop PDF from the dropdown menu. Turn off layers to save file size, and make sure ‘as a copy’ is selected. Type in your filename, and save. For print, we recommend the PDF/X-1a:2001 preset. Once that’s chosen, click ‘Save PDF’ Be sure to check your PDF is exactly how you want it before sending it off. If everything looks ok, you’re ready to send your document to print. Thanks for watching — we hope you found this tutorial useful.

Comments (14)

  1. How did you make your photo so that you could simply drag parts into the bleed areas at 2:22– 2:47?

  2. Hi there,

    How did you make the marks on all sides after you dragged the lines to the top and the left?

  3. Thanks – does it matter if my bleed is greater than 3mm e.g. 6mm?  

  4. lol!! Tried Adobe Live Support, they were useless! So iv ended up here! And oddly enough, i have a friend who works for you! Small world!

  5. Photoshop wont let me save the file as a 'Photoshop PDF' as it's too big, what can I do to get around this?

  6. why not save for high quality print? what the different?

  7. How to add marks for cutting in photoshop.

  8. Thanks a lot…. 🙂

  9. Is this 6mm same for all formats, A5, A6…?

  10. Thank you – very helpful & easy to understand!

  11. nice intro and nice tutorial 🙂

  12. I'm not good at numbers, so how would I know if I was to print bleed on a a4 paper?

  13. Very helpful, thank you.

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