I am making a magazine that is due to be printed tomorrow. I am working in InDesign and need to export it to a PDF (Print) for printing.

It needs to have a 3mm bleed.

I have done this, and checked the 'crop marks' and 'bleed marks' on the export settings - but the double page spreads are showing up strangely: one sliver of the opposite page shows on each page. I've attached a screen shot to show what I mean

I don't know if this is normal, but I presume it won't print correctly like this? What do I need to do to fix this?

enter image description here

  • Yes it is normal and yes it will print like this. Except when the printer uses imposition software - then, no, it will not print like this.
    – Jongware
    Mar 9, 2016 at 10:12
  • 1
    Unless it makes things easier for what ever reason, I always opt out of using Facing Pages. It's easier to work with, even though you don't have master spreads. So if I for example want to apply a master to every second page for numbering or what ever, I generate a list of numbers elsewhere ( 1, 3, 5, 7... ) and use Apply master and just paste in the list. Call me crazy, but I like the freedom of having one page in each pasteboard.
    – Joonas
    Mar 9, 2016 at 13:32
  • That said, there are some methods people have come up with, to handle bleeds with Facing pages, such as: Using page tool to make a gap between the pages or Separating pages to their own pasteboards, while keeping the spreads. I don't like either of these. The first one is still not so great, if you like to use the pasteboard. In the second one, page position is weird and I don't like it. It's difficult to add pages while using these methods.
    – Joonas
    Mar 9, 2016 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


Ideally, it's better to output each page as if they were separate pages with their own bleed.

The reason why: magazine don't have the same thickness and when the printer does the imposition work, he needs to calculate the "creep" (How can I determine how much bleed to use?). When each page has its own bleed, the printer has a bit more freedom in how they will apply the creep.

It's not a big issue when your 2 pages actually share the same image/background but it can give ugly results with 2 different pages as shown in your example.


  • Separate your pages so they don't share the bleed but have all their own 4 sides bleed. You can slide down each page in the page layout so they're not facing anymore and then open the bleed where it's missing. Make sure to groups together the elements on the page, sometimes some elements will not follow the page when you do this.

(Very good url suggested by Joonas: http://indesignsecrets.com/breaking-pages-apart-to-bleed-off-a-spine.php)

It's alright to work with facing pages when you're doing your layout, it helps having a good idea of the final result. But it's true it makes things complicated when it's time to prepare the print-ready file and it's almost necessary to always split the pages once the design part is done and approved.

One technique you can use to avoid doing this is to work as single page with 4 sides bleed, export your PDF and then create a "proof" Indesign by importing the PDF pages where the pages will be facing. There's less risk of mistakes this way and you'll always have your print-ready file ready to export once the project is approved. It won't require to do any extra manipulation therefore less risks of last minute mistakes!

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