What am I doing wrong? When I save my InDesign file as a PDF the margins are different when I open the PDF and off when I print. They are correct in ID. Why would they be different?

Here is the InDesign Doc, I hope it is visual enough to see what I am talking about:

Here is the PDF of the doc- Outside 1" Inside- 1.5" Bottom 1.375", Top 1.125- But in InDesign the margins are Top and Bottom 1, Inside 1.5 and Outside .875.


1 Answer 1


It appears as though you've included the bleed area when exporting to PDF. There are merely no "marks" to show you this. The margins haven't changed, but the bleed is included in the PDF, making it appear like there's more document there. Well, because there is, the bleed.

If I overlay your two screen shots on top of one another, and scale them to be relatively the same size, you can see the page sizes for the PDF match the bleed guides in the InDesign screenshot.

enter image description here

So, when exporting the PDF you'll want to ensure Use Document Bleeds is either off or that you set the bleed to 0.

If you do indeed want to include the bleed area, without any trim or crop marks, then the PDF is correct.

CS6 PDF Export Window:

enter image description here

Should be relatively the same in CC.. I don't want to launch CC at the moment.

  • @Scott, why do you include "Bleed Marks" and "Registration Marks"? I work at a print house and everything else than "Crop Marks" always annoy me - looks messy and doesn't have a purpose for me. (Even "Crop Marks" isn't really needed, but it quickly shows me that the pdf has a bleed.)
    – Wolff
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 19:12
  • @Wolff .. because generally it doesn't matter. I deal with a few different print vendors of varying abilities and some want some marks others don't. It's merely a happy medium... and I'd rather include them and not need them, than need them and not include them. Really the color bars are the most annoying to pretty much all of my vendors. :)
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 19:17
  • @Wolff Trim/crop marks are nearly always required by print houses in my experience. How would you know where to trim the print without them? Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 20:53
  • 2
    @JanusBahsJacquet, I do recommend adding crop/trim marks every time! It shows the designer's intention and helps me see if everything is in order according to the bleed. But a pdf contains information about its own boxes, so when I place the pdf in my imposition program it automatically understands the trim size and the bleed size of the document. Crop marks are added in the process and everything outside the bleed is cropped away. The original crop marks are reduced to tiny dots inside the bleed. The worst is homemade crop marks because they look real but cause page size errors.
    – Wolff
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 21:20
  • FYI... it also allows some of my clients (which want the press-ready PDFs but aren't printers) to know which PDF is the press-ready PDF, because they can and often do retitle the actual file. So they see marks.. they know it's press-ready.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 21:23

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