lately I had a problem that I neved faced before now, I'll try to explain quickly: usually I setup documents in InDesign CS6 with side-by-side pages and work with pictures that run over two (side-by-side) pages, then I export to PDF.

The problem is that a printing service asked me to export to PDF only in single pages with page bleed on each size and each page, but of course in the "middle side" of the two pages, there is no bleed (on the left page there is no bleed on the right side, and on the right page there is no bleed on the left side).

Is there a way to achieve that result, or I have to work since the beginning with single pages? For example, if I want one big image on two side-by-side page, should I import two times the same image and position it cutting it properly (half image each page)? Isn't it very uncomfortable?

I tried many things but couldn't find any solution.

Thanks a lot for your answer that are great, but I'm adding some details to explain myself better (sorry but english is not my mother language and also my InDesign is in Italian).

The method explained works fantastic with the images if you add them into the pages, but if you have something in the "master" pages, they will overlap on the pages, I did an example to explain better.

This one is with a banner on the master page right and left, with different colors.


You can see that a yellow part of the title background overlap the right page, and vice-versa. How do you manage this problem?

  • I don't have any print-production experience so what they do is {magic} from my perspective, but I would presume that they will take your pages and impose them for printing in a way that the bleed at the gutter is cropped. Beyond that, any fold inaccuracy would be hidden in the gutter.
    – Yorik
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 15:07
  • The pink and yellow that you see overlapping on the opposite page appears outside the crop marks, so ostensibly that area will be trimmed off and never seen. Even if the printer mis-cuts and leaves a sliver of the opposite page showing, that are will still be tucked away inside the binding (as Yorik referred to above), so there's really no problem.
    – DLev
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


I’m not sure I fully understand your problem.

If you create a document with Facing Pages in InDesign and specify a bleed of, say, 3mm, then that bleed will be there on all four sides of each individual page if you export as pages, rather than spreads. To illustrate:

Set up your document with page settings like these

Document Setup


Make a spread with an image straddling the pages

Page-straddling image


Export to PDF

In the General section, choose Pages (rather than Spreads) Export to PDF - General

In the Marks and Bleeds section, choose Use Document Bleed Settings (and whatever mark settings your printer wants) Export to PDF - Marks and Bleeds



When you open the resulting PDF, the image should go past the crop area, all the way out to the edge of the bleed area. The parts of the image that flow over the crop area will thus be ‘repeated’, appearing once in the bleed area of one page and once in the crop area of the other page: Image flows into bleed area

(I flipped the photo in the last screenshot because the white of the tiles meant you couldn’t see that it actually does extend beyond the crop area.)



To address your clarification:

What you’re essentially looking for here unfortunately is not possible.

Since there is no actual bleed on the centre margin for spreads, what InDesign really does is take the first closest millimetres of the opposite page’s content and add that to the bleed area.

In your example, you really have two mutually exclusive requirements:

  • You need the big image to fake-bleed across the gutter of the final page
  • You need the title containers not to fake-bleed across the gutter of the final page

There is, sadly, no good way of doing this. If you have spreads, both the image and the title containers will bleed over, and you get that ugly little sliver of the wrong colour on the side of the page; if you have single pages, you have to have the straddling photo on both pages, positioned so that it aligns perfectly.

The latter of these options is a major hassle, and it’s not a solution I would ever advise anyone to follow. But as Yorik and DLev have both mentioned, the ugly bleed in the former option generally doesn’t matter. The bits that are the wrong colour will be chopped off before printing when pages are reordered and imposed to spreads in a printing file if the document is to be saddle-stitched, and they’ll be chopped off after printing if the document is to be perfect-bound.

In either case, the risk of anyone ever seeing any of the ugly bleed is quite small. It is bigger with saddle-stitching because the staple spine has to align exactly with the gutter of the printed page: if the pages are folded and stapled a millimetre too far to one side, you’ll see the edge of the opposite side in the centre of every spread if you look closely (but this is true whether you have any bleed in your file or not). With perfect-bound prints, the gutter is usually tucked away in an ‘invisible’ folding area where the pages ‘buckle’ up towards one another, so no one will be able to see the edge of the page without breaking the book.


Great answer from Janus! And great visuals. :)

One other question that needs to be asked: Is the finished product going to be saddle-stitched or perfect-bound? (Forgive me if I'm stating info you already know, maybe someone else will benefit from it) Saddle-stitched is where the printer/bindery takes the spreads (2 pages on front of each sheet of paper, 2 on back), and staples them all together to form your "book". Perfect binding is where there is only 1 page on either side (similar concept to just printing a 2-sided sheet on an inkjet printer), then stacking the sheets together and gluing them together on the left edge (or sometimes using a spiral binding, or something similar).

The reason this is important is that with saddle stitching, what Janus told you is correct, but not usually necessary, because any elements that would technically bleed on the inside edges of each page won't need to be set up that way, as that artwork would be in the gutter of the two pages, not trimmed off the outside edges. And you wouldn't want art from the lefthand page to bleed into the right, in many instances (Say the design had a border at the top of all lefthand pages, but not on the righthand pages). In this instance, using facing pages in InDesign is your best bet.

Conversely, for Perfect binding, you WOULD want to make sure your art is bleeding on all 4 sides (again, what Janus said still holds true, regardless) because there is no gutter between pages, and using non-facing pages in InDesign is the easier way to go.

Hope I made this clear enough, sounded better in my head. ;) Good luck!

  • I agree with everything you say here, except that non-facing pages is the easier way to go for perfect binding. If you have artwork that needs to straddle a spread, non-facing pages are (to me, anyways) a terrible hassle: making everything line up exactly, managing left- and right-page master pages separately, aligning towards/away from spine, etc., are all things that are incomparably easier to do with spreads than with non-facing pages. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 17:06
  • I may not be understanding your comment, but I think we're saying the same thing. Perhaps my answer above was unclear. I agree, facing pages is definitely a better choice when using spreads, and by proxy, saddle-stitching. Perfect binding though, does not use spreads, it's binding many single sheets together to form a book. In that case, I suggested that using non-facing pages may be easier/better, because there are no elements that would be straddling a spread.
    – DLev
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 20:57
  • We're mostly saying the same thing—I'm just saying that even though the actual printing and binding in a perfect bind doesn't include spreads, it is often much easier to prepare the actual InDesign document as facing pages, since the end product is still spread-like and the same alignment and straddling considerations do still apply. Basically, I personally never set up documents as non-facing for anything that's going to be bound; only for things that are going to be loose-leafed (if that's a term… well, it is now, I've just decided). Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 21:08
  • Ah, I see your point. Probably falls under "workflow comfort level" category. :) But you're right, even though elements don't technically straddle/cross the gutter, they'd still need to line up as closely as possible.
    – DLev
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 12:51
  • Not just ligning up—the most head-against-wall-inducing thing in an InDesign document is having a document with 400 non-facing pages with alternating LeftPage and RightPage master applied to them (to align page numbers away from spine, for example)—and then having to insert an extra page between page 18 and 19. Argh! *brainsplode* Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 12:54

This script can separate your pages. Then you must check and repair bleeds on inner page sides.



Go to document setting and take off inside bleed. So [Bleed], [Inside=0mm] It works!!!

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