InDesign displays [registration], 100% of each ink colour, as a swatch in the swatches palette. It's impossible to remove the swatch.

Why is this? I have never had the need to actually use [registration] in my works, as far as I know it's only ever used to create printer's marks, and that's done by InDesign when exporting a .pdf.

Lots of beginners are confused by the two instances of black in the palette, possibly ruining their work when using the incorrect one. So why is [registration] still there?

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    It's quite common to create your own registration marks depending on what you're putting together. For example, you may be imposing your own set of business cards or the like and would want to create your own registration marks for the printer. – DA01 Oct 21 '14 at 13:54
  • @DA01 I'd upvote that if it were an answer... :) – Vincent Oct 21 '14 at 13:57

In addition to creating your own printer marks or page info, the Registration swatch can be very handy in creating masks.

Often a mask consisting of only K will not completely mask a CMYK object. So, using Registration for the mask "black" tends to be more complete.

It's not very easy to see in InDesign specifically, but "feather" effects utilize the "Registration" Swatch:

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You can't change that swatch, because it's designed to hide all colors via the registration swatch. The other feather options don't even show you the color because it's not necessary. However, they also use "Registration" to mask everything.

Manually, use of the Registration swatch is more easily seen in Illustrator with Opacity Masks. Same theory, just more automated in InDesign.


You're right that it's a little superfluous, especially because InDesign will add any printer marks during export. Registration black is really for adding any custom printer marks or page info.

Because registration black will use 100% CMYK for each value, that's 400% ink coverage and should obviously be used in small quantities.

Hope that helps?

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    InDesign can only add registration marks around rectangular pages. At my office we had to design a multicolored box wrapper once; we did this in ID, drawn our own registration and cut lines. – Jongware Oct 21 '14 at 20:28

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