I have a pdf template file with printers marks and a bar code. I'd like to add graphics to the file (essentially cover the whole page). Covering the printer's marks is required, but I'd like the bar code to survive the coverup.

How can I accomplish this?

Here's the template. PDF's can't be uploaded here, so it's a screen shot. The printer only issues templates in pdf or InDesign format--there are no other options. Notice the bar code in the left panel:

enter image description here

The blue portion must be covered completely, like so:

enter image description here

Notice that the bar code now is different, because it's not the bar code that came supplied with the template. I'd like to preserve this bar code in some way.

In terms of tools, I've created the overlay using various programs, Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Gimp, etc. But I'm having trouble preserving the bar code.

If I just open the template in Photoshop, for example, and copy the barcode, I can't paste it into the overlay because the barcode is only 72 dpi when you do a cut and paste in this fashion, and the template must be at 300 dpi. If you resize the image after the cut and paste, it's fuzzy. Is there a way to do this with layers, where the only element on the template, the bar code, is preserved onto the overlay, which would be on a new layer?

  • It's @Wrzlprmft or another moderator that will have to unlock this. Unfortunately with only raster image editors, your options may not be great.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:05
  • If it helps, when you open a PDF with Photoshop, there are options to set the resolution (PPI) as you open it.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:21
  • @Scott: While I just reopened the question, five reopen votes from regular users would have done the same.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:37

1 Answer 1


Be aware, this is not ideal. Using a raster image editor can be fraught with pitfalls for someone unfamiliar with print production and things like bar codes. Ideally, you'd use InDesign with "their" provided InDesign template. Or use a Photoshop template "they" may provide.

Also be aware, crop marks are important. Especially if they are part of any template.However, crop marks can be easily drawn in when needed. You will want to be certain you place them accurately though.

When you open a PDF with Photoshop, you are presented with a dialog window. Note the right side.....

enter image description here

This window allows you to set options for how Photoshop will rasterize the PDF (Photoshop always rasterizes non-Photoshop PDFs when opened).

In this instance ...

  • You can probably leave the Width and Height fields as they are. Switch to Inches to verify the dimensions are what you should be using.

  • Then in the Resolution field, ensure it reads "300" [Pixels/Inch].

  • For print, you probably also want to adjust the Mode drop down to read "CMYK".

This should open your PDF as a high resolution CMYK file. From there you can mask, cut/paste, etc without any considerable degradation.

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