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.

3 Answers 3


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.

  • I believe that as long as your interactive elements aren't positioned in or near the bleeds, that you can just create the pages same as you would for print and let indesign add in the printer marks and bleeds. So that it can be printed and trimmed. Then, select the interactivity options in the profile you use to create the pdf. Once you have the pdf, crop it to the desired size. The pdf can now be distributed for filling out and renamed. Before giving the pdf to the printer, by changing the crop setting back to zero (0) and save with a different name..
    – nocturns2
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 5:23

I know I'm years late to this, but I had this issue today and it was actually a quick fix.

  1. Export your normal non crops/bleeds interactive pdf from InDesign
  2. Open in Acrobat and get everything set correctly & Save (Prepare Form tool)
  3. Export your InDesign file again (I saved mine with the same name but added PRINT) as a Print Ready PDF with your desired crops/bleeds settings
  4. Open this PRINT version up in Acrobat, as well as your interactive version
  5. Select the Prepare Form tool on your PRINT version, and convert it to a form
  6. Select all of your fields that you already formatted from your interactive pdf
  7. Paste them onto your PRINT version (will need to do this process for each page), drag into correct position
  8. Save your PRINT version
  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.

  • That was my first thought, but when I resize the document, it resizes all the content even if I lock or hide it. Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 1:22
  • 1
    @KeishaPerkins what if you make a new larger document and move the content over?
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 5:29

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