I've created a few files for a client. They are standard forms that they will need to fill several times, each with different information. I made the forms in InDesign and exported them as interactive PDFs so that they can use them over and over and just export them as needed each time.

The issue is that they'll be getting these forms printed with a bleed and the printer has asked that they give him a file of combined PDFs with bleed and registration marks on each page.

My question is How do I create an interactive PDF that includes registration marks and bleed? It must be interactive and it must be able to be printed. They aren't completely untechnical, but I'd love to have a solution that allows them to just Save As when they've finished filling out a form, no need to change any export settings or anything.

Is there a plugin or am I just missing something?

Further Information

  1. I've tried changing the settings in InDesign, bleeds and slugs are not an option in the export menu for the interactive PDFs
  2. I do not see any option to add bleeds and slugs in Acrobat
  3. I am fine with creating my own registration marks, but am afraid that I'll misalign something. If anyone could give me advice on ensuring it is done right, that would be a great help.
  1. Select ALL the text in your file and "hide" it.
  2. Export the InDesign file as a for-print PDF with bleed, registration, crop marks, whatever. The result should be a correctly sized PDF with nothing but the desired marks.
  3. "Place" the resulting file back into your InDesign file at exact size (no scaling).
  4. Center it to your page. (Object -> Align, I believe.)
  5. Select Object -> Arrange -> Send to back. Put it on its own layer. Lock it.
  6. Expand your canvas/page to match.
  7. Show all your text again.
  8. Export as interactive PDF. You now have all the crop marks, etc., as part of the interactive PDF.

There may be a better way. But I know this will work.

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  • That was my first thought, but when I resize the document, it resizes all the content even if I lock or hide it. – Keisha Perkins Jun 25 '17 at 1:22
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    @KeishaPerkins what if you make a new larger document and move the content over? – Wildcard Jun 25 '17 at 5:29

For anyone looking for a solution for this and finding that their page elements get resized like mine, here is what I did:

  1. Add a rectangle that is the size of your page
    • Mine was 8.5" x 11"
  2. Make sure that the new rectangle is centered on the page
    • I used the align tools, making sure to set it to "Align to page"
  3. Group all of the page's elements, including the frame
    • You will need to do steps 1-3 for each page of your document, as InDesign has a seperate set of layers for each page
  4. In Document Setup (File -> Document Setup), set your document size to the desired size for your finished product
    • Factor in bleeds
    • Factor in slugs
    • If you'd like to create the marks via @Wildcard's method, you can just plug in that document's dimensions
    • InDesign has resized your layer groups!
  5. Select your group of layers and making sure the proportions are restrained, resize them to your desired size
    • Here I just resized it back to 8.5" x 11"
  6. Center your group(s) on the page
  7. Ungroup your elements, they'll return to their proper layers
  8. You can delete that frame you made at the beginning now.
  9. Now, if you're adding your own bleed and registration marks, you've got a perfectly centered and proportioned document to work with.
Now would be the time to place your guides that you made via @Wildcard's suggestion in your document.

This solution was what I ended up needing to do because I'd already made documents with 200+ form fields and styling for each on a layer beneath. I couldn't (more like wouldn't) start from scratch.

Note: If you're wondering why I created a frame in the first step, it is because I wanted something with a simple size and shape to reference when resizing. This was easiest for me because all the text boxes from page to page resulted in element groups with varied heights and widths. You could always just note the size your group is at the start of the process and resize it back to that, but for me, adding a frame allowed for easy resizing and alignment.

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