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I've been manual tiling large documents in a way that just seems so long winded to me – I'm thinking there must be a more efficient method?!

This is what I've been doing:

  1. Work out the print area of my printer (eg. If my sheet is A3, the printer can't print full bleed so the printer area will be slightly less than A3)
  2. Draw a box frame the size of the printer area
  3. Copy + paste the frame around the artwork to positions I want the tiles to be (eg. no cuts going through a key part of an image)
  4. Reposition the zero point around each of these frames and print each of these 'tiles' 1 by 1 as I go.

I know it's called manual tiling but it seems like there's quite a bit of room for human error here, and if you need to print something quickly it's a bit long winded!

Another thing I've noticed with manual tiling is that only the top left, bottom left and top right crop marks are printed, meaning unless you have a full bleed design you don't know where to cut the sheet on the right + bottom sides? Could that be because I have the overlapping margin set to 0?

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  • To get the outer crop marks you could first export a PDF with crop marks which you place in another InDesign document and then print from that.
    – Wolff
    Oct 7, 2022 at 6:58
  • Hi Wolff, thanks for getting back to me. That would add crop marks to the entire artwork, but the crop marks are missing on each tile (the printed page with only a section of the artwork) so you don’t actually where to connect the second tile to the first, if that makes sense?
    – Hellbent5
    Oct 8, 2022 at 12:50

2 Answers 2

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I'm unsure if I fully understand your question, but here's how I would manually print a large image in tiles.

I would prefer to use InDesign, but here I'll show a solution for Illustrator. I'll make a grid of tight fitting artboards. This could be done in InDesign as well, but InDesign spreads can only contain 10 pages and you might sometimes need more.

First you need to find a fitting page size. Find out the print area of your printer. Subtract 6 mm from each dimension to make room for 3 mm bleed and subtract an additional 4 mm from each dimension to make room for 2 mm crop marks.

On an A3 (297×420 mm) you might be able to print 287×410 mm (a 5 mm margin). Then we'll subtract 6 mm for bleed and 4 mm for crop marks and we get 277×400 mm.

In Illustrator, create a new document with the number of artboards you need. Here I'm making 16 artboards in 4 columns.

Set Spacing to 0 mm and make sure to set Bleed to 0 mm as well.

Now you have a document that looks like this.

Enter File > Document Setup and set Bleed to 3 mm.

Now your document should look like this, with the bleeds overlapping the neighboring pages.

Now you simply place the image or PDF you want to print and position it on the grid of pages as you want.

Use File > Save a Copy to save a PDF with Trim Marks (as Illustrator for some reasons calls it) and Bleed set to 3 mm.

Print the PDF at actual size (100%) and the tile with 3 mm bleed and 2 mm crop marks should fit within the printable area.

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  • Thanks so much for spending the time putting this together, Wolff. I see where you’re coming from by manually creating your tiles using art boards. I normally print artwork direct from InDesign as well (eg. A poster) – in that case would would you not use the ‘Manual Tiling’ feature in the print settings, rather than setting up the tiles yourself?
    – Hellbent5
    Oct 10, 2022 at 18:47
  • I'm pretty sure I misunderstood your question. 😀 I wasn't sure what you meant by "manual". But you're talking about the "manual" setting in the print dialogue. I never really understood it tbh. If I am to print a poster to check the size, I would always use "Auto" (with an overlap btw). I don't really get the question. Are you doing it in a cumbersome way? Yes, why not just use "Auto" or the method shown here? Why are you missing marks? I don't know, I don't seem to have that problem. Could it come from having 0 overlap? When in "Manual" mode, I don't have an "overlap" setting.
    – Wolff
    Oct 10, 2022 at 20:25
  • Fair question! Using the 'manual' setting means you can control exactly which section of the document you are printing, meaning you can control where the edge of each tile is. So if your document is intended to be folded than maybe you might want to have the cuts in the same place as the folds. Or not cuts over integral parts of text. But yes, I guess Auto setting is easier! Thanks for your input :)
    – Hellbent5
    Oct 20, 2022 at 16:56
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An efficient way:

  1. Export to PDF
  2. Use the tile print option in Adobe reader. https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/print-posters-banners-acrobat-reader.html

Here is a screen capture of the steps.

enter image description here

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  • Thanks! Tiling from Adobe Acrobat is easier than from InDesign then, I assume?
    – Hellbent5
    Dec 13, 2022 at 0:04
  • Yes. on Indesign you need to manually setup a new document and paste the parts. In Acrobat you just fill checkboxes on what you want, including marks to align the finished puzzle.
    – Rafael
    Dec 13, 2022 at 1:57

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