this has been bothering me for a while and I can't be the only one. Somehow, I haven't found anything researching. So I create a very simple inDesign document for a letterhead, with standard margins. Like this:

intial document

And I export it as .pdf with pretty standard settings. (No bleed, no printer marks). It looks just fine when opened with Reader or Acrobat Pro. But when I import it back into another inDesign document, it looks like this:


As you can see, it seems that the top "margin" dissapears. The left margin seems untouched, and the right margin dissapears as well.

I know you can get a similar "error" when importing PDFs into Photoshop and not selecting the proper option (Ex: bounding box or whatever), but it seems there's no such options when importing in inDesign.

Only way I found to deal with this was to export the pdf with bleed marks and then just crop it into inDesign, but that seems like a ridiculous thing to do.

  • 2
    Che the Import Options when importing and ensure it's set correctly.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 3:08

2 Answers 2


Thanks, this really helps after googling for serveral hours.

Here's an English version of screenshots, in addition to @Benjamin's answer.

Step One: Menu -> File -> Place, then pop up a dialog, check "Show Import Options" On.

enter image description here

Step Two: Select proper crop options for your PDF file. Here's a ref for PDF's MediaBox/CropBox, http://www.prepressure.com/pdf/basics/page-boxes .

enter image description here

Hope it helps.


Thanks to Scott's comment, I went back and re-checked, and found that when importing, in the file prompt, there's a checkbox option labeled "Show import options" where you'll find something similar to photoshop's PDF import prompt. What fixed my problem was "Support"(Sorry, my Adobe CC is French but the english equivalent is "Media" which is referring to the paper size, which is what I was looking for.):

Import options

Thanks for the pointer, Scott!

PS: I also noticed that this is how you control which pages to import, which is a popular request when importing PDFs.

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