To fully understand how a bleed area works, let’s briefly review what happens during the cutting process at a typical printing and binding facility.

When a product is trimmed down to its final size there can be “variance”. Variance is a difference between "the size that a product was ordered to be trimmed to” and "the size that a product was actually trimmed to".  At Glasstree, we anticipate up to 1/8 of an inch (.125 inches or .3175 cm) of possible variance. To be clear, this means that a product may be under-trimmed or over-trimmed by up to 1/8 of an inch (.125 inches or .3175 cm) during production.

Please note that the vast majority of our user’s orders are trimmed well within 1/16 of an inch (.0625 inches or .15875 cm) of the intended size.

How can variance be minimized to create a better file?
There are two actions an author can take to minimize variance and ensure their book prints correctly:
    1.    Add bleed to the file
    2.    Keep important art/text away from the edges

What is a bleed area?
Bleed is extra space that can help reduce the effects of trim variance and under-trimming. By extending the file’s artwork beyond the book's page size by an additional 1/8 of an inch (.125 inches or .3175 cm), when under-trimming does occur it doesn't result in the appearance of thin white edges.

Bleed is added by creating a slightly larger file than the printed page size. For example, a 6 x 9" page is created with larger dimensions (6.25 x 9.25") and is centered .125"(1/8") around the finished page size. The image below illustrates bleed and page trim.

Adding bleed is not necessary for text-only documents.

Include bleed only if you are designing a book with design elements that extend to the edges of any of your pages. With that in mind, even if only one image or graphic on a single page goes to the very edge of that page, then the entire document will need to include bleed.

It is critical that all pages in your document be the same size. If bleed is only included for some pages in your document, our converter will reject it. If you plan to use bleeds, all pages must be sized for full bleed.

When creating a document with bleed, keep in mind that important art and text should be 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) from the edge of the finished page size. This allows for page trim variance as well as bleed. The variance is shown below from the blue dotted line to the orange dotted line.

Note: Glasstree analyses your file's dimensions as part of the file upload process. If your file does not include the extra dimensions required for full bleed, we will make the necessary adjustment to ensure optimal print quality. 

Image illustrating bleed


To create a file with bleed:

  • Create and upload one PDF file for your book's interior content.
  • Page size must be .25 in. (.635 cm) larger in both width and height than the book size.
  • Although we make every effort to provide high quality, consistently produced books, there can be slight variations from press to press in the trim size of your work. Allow for a trim variance of .125 inches. (.3175 cm).
  • In order to prevent the loss of an image's primary subject matter during page trimming, position images on the page so that all important aspects within the image are at least .25 inches (.635 cm) from the edge of the finished page size.
  • If your book is intended for distribution, any text within an image must be positioned at least .5 inches (1.27 cm) from the edge of the finished page size.

Example: 6 x 9" (US Trade) book will need one PDF with a page size of 6.25 x 9.25" (see image above).


Common issues:

  • Improper bleed results in a white strip or important content cut off at the edge of the page
  • If the page size is larger than the sizes on the right hand side of the table below, the PDF will be not be accepted.
  • Crop marks or registration marks should not be included in the uploaded file
  • Multiple-page spreads should be separated into single pages
  • Pages should all be in the same orientation - Portrait
  • When creating a PDF from Word, set pages to portrait not landscape
  • The cover is not be included in the interior file.


 Full bleed dimensions:



InDesign Bleed Settings

To Create a PDF with Bleed using InDesign:

  1. Start a new document.
  2. Set the page size to the book size you intend to publish.


  3. In all Bleed fields, enter .125 inches (.3175 cm) and click OK.
    Note: You may have to click the More Options button to see the Bleed and Slug boxes.

    PDF with Bleed 2.png

  4. Create your book adding graphics and text as needed. Artwork that needs to be printed to the edge of the page must extend to the red line. The page will be trimmed at the black line. The purple line is the margin you set for your book.

    PDF with Bleed 3.png

  5. Once your file is complete, go to File > Adobe PDF Presets, and select Full Bleed Glasstree Job Options attached below.


  6. In the Marks and Bleeds section, select Use Document Bleed Settings.
  7. Click Export.



Please Note: In a finished full-bleed PDF from InDesign, the graphics on adjacent gutter edges (odd pages on right, even on the left) should slightly overlap. This allows your graphics to line up as intended when the bleeds are trimmed during printing.

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