When I export a document using PDF Bleed Marks printer options, and set bleed and slug to the document settings, crop marks appear in the correct location, however crop out the actual bleed colour.

Includes bleed region, but no colour

When I turn off bleed marks (but use document bleed settings), the bleed colour appears, though obviously with no marks.

Includes bleed colour, but no marks

How do I export a PDF with both bleed marks AND bleed?

  • errr.. huh? Are you setting the PDF Options to include Bleed and all marks?
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:15
  • I'm setting the PDF options to include Bleed, and only bleed marks. Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:20
  • Based upon those screen shots.. there's no reason why the top settings shouldn't show both the marks and the bleed (you should be including crop marks as well). I think you may be mistaking the bleed marks in the top settings with crop marks. You should use BOTH options.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:22
  • Strange. I get the desired results when using crop marks instead of bleed marks. Maybe I don't quite understand bleed. Bleed is the extra printed area that is to be cut off after printing, is it not? Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:25
  • 2
    Yes. But you need crop marks to tell the printer where to trim the piece. You need both. And crop marks are way more important than bleed marks.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:30

3 Answers 3


When generating a PDF for print production you should first use the PDF/X-1a setting. "High Quality Print" is okay, but PDF/X-1a is much better. It ensures the PDF will meet standard requirements for press in terms of color, flattening, etc.

It is also important to always select the Crop Marks option unless you're asked not to specifically. Crop marks tell the printer where the piece is to be cut. Or, in other words, where the bleed starts. Crop marks indicate the final size of the piece to be delivered from the printer.

The bleed marks aren't really a requirement in many cases. They simply indicate where the bleed area ends, but since the piece will be trimmed at the Crop Marks it's somewhat irrelevant where the bleed ends as long as it's enough of a bleed to allow proper trimming (at the crop marks).

I merely think you've confused what bleed marks and crop marks are.


I figured out why this isn't working for you. Uncheck "Use Document Bleed Settings" and make sure you set the bleed to 0.25, and you should be fine. You also want to check "All Printer's Marks."

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    – Vincent
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 13:54

Yes, like other commenters have mentioned, crop marks are very important - always check that box when doing bleed print projects.

There really isn't any need to ever check the bleed marks box - I have no idea why it is there. I've been doing print-production work for 30 years and the few times I've seen artwork with those bleed marks included it often just confuses the printer who thinks they are crop marks and mistakingly trims to those marks.

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