My problem is closely connected to my old problem here, however it is a new question so I open a new thread. The problem is that I am able to split my large pdf file into smaller DIN A0 and send it to a virtual printer to print these pages in a copyshop. However the problem is that this way the generated pdf's have NO margin. When I add cut marks and labels it does get a default margin, however this margin is not large enough and cut marks are not allowed in the copyshop. In general all online services ask for a small margin (5mm) if one wants to plot a DIN A0 format.

What I do is the following: I open my pdf file in acrobat reader or in illustrator. The original file can be found here.

Reader1 Illustrator1

There I choose the option to tile and I choose A0 format. I can choose A0 if I preselect a virtual pdf printer before. I have different ones installed, PDFCreator PDF24 and others. Then I click on print and it prints and the virtual pdf creator opens the file and I get 8 pages with the splitted/tiled file:


The file with the 8 pages can be found here.

However there are no margins (zoom in to see it at the edge):

Margin Margin2

I need at least 5mm margins. It is possible to get margins, since when I select cutmarks or labels then there are small margins:


However this is less than 5mm:


I tried it with acrobat reader and with Illustrator. Illustrator gives me more option, however there is the same problem.

So how can I send it to the virtual printer that at the end there is a margin? Would be great if I can set it manually, so for example 10mm or 20mm, but I would be already ok if I get it with 5mm. So this is crucial since the online print services ask for this. I also thought about selecting a custome size. Then I choose A0 minus 1 cm. Then I output this to pdf. Then I open the pdf in Illustrator, select everything and copy it to a new area of exactly A0. Then I can arrange it that I have 0.5cm margin at each side. However I have to do it manually with every page. And it opens the door for quite a few mistakes if I do it manually.

(Just for notice: I need 5mm at every edge, so not only left and right, but also on top and bottom.)

EDIT: I also tried the options in illustrator: Bleed

(Translated in the lower part is: Bleedoptions, use bleed options from the document, top bottom left right.) However it does not work. The lines still are on the borders, no margin.

2nd EDIT:

The solution proposed by Cai does not work in my case. I tried it with different virtual printers and setups, however the option to set up the margins is always disabled:


And here is it step by step with Illustrator:

I tried it with all the virtual printers I have and it never worked (I have PDF24 PDF, PDFCreator, Virtual PDF Printer). First I make sure I select as Cai said "Tile Imageable Areas". I cross-checked it to avoid translational errors:

Tile Setupt

In my case this is "Fläche besteht aus Druckbereichen" and not "Fläche besteht aus ganzen Seiten". Ok, so next step is that I try to set up the margins in the page setup options. However here I notice that I have only one button and not two, as in Cai posts or also in the screenshot from the internet I saw. I only have setup.


I click on it. New window opens, however no option to set up margins.


Also not if I further click on "Einstellungen" ("Setup"). I never get this option. Also not if I choose another virtual printer.

  • Are you sure you need a margin and not a bleed? You say "...all online services ask for a small margin" but I've never seen a service that requires a margin. I don't see any practical reason it would ever be a requirement (since a margin around your artwork is by definition empty; if the printers need it they can create it themselves)
    – Cai
    Aug 26, 2017 at 12:34
  • @Cai Well I am not sure what the professional term is for this. Basically yes, they can create it themselves. However they obviously can't do it and I think the thing is: They can print A0. However the printer cannot print on the border. As with usual A4 home office printers. So they ask for a 5mm space. I also tried to use the option in illustrator, however it does not work. The final file still has the lines going on the borders. However they cannot print the borders. Also I cannot accept a bleed, since this cuts something away from my file, however it needs to be exact. Aug 26, 2017 at 13:16
  • It is not accetable for me that something is cut away since the lines have a specific length, if 5mm is just cut this is actually not good. So that's no solution for me, it is not as with a picture wher you would not mind if 5 mm at the edges are missing. Aug 26, 2017 at 13:18
  • Using overlap as a bleed in this case is what you do exactly not to lose any artwork (and as long as you have enough overlap to cover bleed and the non-printable area you wouldn't lose anything), I wasn't suggesting you simply trim 5mm off the artwork itself. I've posted an answer below explaining how to do what you want, using an overlap too certainly wouldn't be a bad idea though
    – Cai
    Aug 26, 2017 at 15:49
  • @Cai I answered to your proposal. Your suggestion does not work. No matter what virtual printer I select the page setup option to set up the margin is always disabled. Aug 27, 2017 at 9:41

3 Answers 3


Note; some of this will depend on your print drivers and OS (which more technical problems with may be better asked about on Super User), but should be similar enough regardless.

When printing the tiles you need to select "Tile Imageable Areas" instead of "Tile Full Pages", which does exactly as you wish. It relies on you having the correct paper size (including the printable area) selected though, which I assume you don't have.

It looks like you're using Windows, which I have no idea about, but on a Mac you can define custom sizes directly from the Page Setup dialog (bottom left button of the Print dialog). You simply need to enter the correct paper size and margin size:

enter image description here

Then with that paper size selected (I had to do so through the Page Setup dialog and set "Defined by Driver" in the Print dialog; how you do so will depend on your print driver and OS), back in the Print dialog you should see the margins correctly in the preview:

enter image description here

Then print with the "Tile Imageable Areas" option:

enter image description here

The resulting PDF is then tiled with the correct margins:

enter image description here

Note, I did test this with more appropriate artwork to confirm the tiling was correct, I simply used a solid color here as it's easier to see the margins. I also tested this on both a virtual printer (to PDF) and a physical office printer.

Another option if you can't get this to work and absolutely must have the margins...

  • Set up a page size that is the size of printable area you need (i.e. page size − margins).

  • Print the tiles as full page tiles.

  • Increase the page size of the resulting PDF (without distorting the artwork) to the full page size. (I'm not at a computer to check and can't remember how to do so in Acrobat or if you can in Reader, at very least you could open the PDF in Illustrator, increase artboard sizes then re-save.)

  • Thanks for your answer. However: No, this is not a working solution. When I click on page setup (no matter what virtual printer I use) the option margin is diasabled. I cannot select a margin there. I updated my question. I tried it with different virtual printers and different setups, it never works. I also tried it with Illustrator, same there, does not work. Aug 27, 2017 at 9:38
  • @Stat well I don't know what to say, as you can see it works perfectly well for me, regardless of which printer I use. So I assume it's an OS issue
    – Cai
    Aug 27, 2017 at 10:05
  • I updated my question, so you can follow me step by step. Aug 27, 2017 at 10:09
  • @Stat I updated my answer with another option... it's not the most elegant but it should work if you're absolutely stuck
    – Cai
    Aug 27, 2017 at 10:42
  • Thanks for your suggestion. However I already wrote about this solution in my question and that this is not a real option, since I have to do this manually with every page basically and I have a lot of these files. Aug 27, 2017 at 11:53

There is a even more custom, somewhat brute force, alternative. I dont use it often, i can preprocess stuff like this in my RIP by dropping custom postscript into the stream, but it does work.

  1. Make a new illustrator document
  2. Make a number of art boards with the size you need.
  3. Place your real document inside this document.

    Important: If you do not use place option then you can not use this file as a template for other files as you can easily change the placed files later in your life.

  4. Move the contents to one artboard then use clipping mask to restrict it.

    Duplicate and repeat until you have all artboards done. Use numeric translation for accurate work.

  5. Once you have the template done then change artwork in the links panel.

enter image description here

Making this once takes about 5 minutes. Yes it could be scripted.

The benefit of this method is that you can do overlap and mark in alignment guides at perimeters so that it becomes easier for you to align and cut your slices. Also this works with multiple sizes of paper. The downside is that this only works with one image size, although the same template is easy to re purpose for smaller fields.

Of you can just get dedicated software for this


If I quess right, you are not printing a long life wall size artwork poster, but a model sheet that you are using only as a cutting guide. If I remember right, you planned the same earlier, but tiling A4s, not A0s.

Probably you can agree with the printhouse that they can leave the 5mm margin simply unprinted because you can define your tileable files to have several centimeters wide overlaps.40mm wide overlaps do not increase the number of the pages. See NOTE3.

Some of the problems are still there with bigger papers. You still need an external coordinate system to be sure that the physical tiling is done right. The continuity is not enough. It can be enough for artwork, but building something needs reliable dimensions and angles, too. You cannot be sure that the printed pages have right sizes and are equally oriented when compared to X and Y directions in your drawing. See NOTE1 !

If I quessed right, the printing doesn't lose its value, if you print some auxiliary lines on the same paper. Add some lines that you could construct exactly (=accurately enough) without any printings. Triangles and rectangles with diagonal lines are good, because you need no angle measurements, only lengths for exact construction.

You can measure the lines in Illustrator. Place the papers so that the measured lines are reconstructed. Then your whole printing is tiled ok.

Essentially this is, what user Rafael suggested in his answer to your previous question.

A random example:

enter image description here

You should be able to construct the red rectangle with diagonals within 1mm onto your floor using only the measured lengths. Tension some wires as the lines. Then place the paper so that the printed red lines fit with the wires. Use other lines as the extra aid for continuity.

To see continuous lines, the unprinted marginal areas (about 5mm) over the lines should be cut off.

NOTE1: You shoud take the printing accuracy spec from the printhouse before you order. Because you use paper size A0, you have much less room for scale fine-tuning by placing the papers than if you used smaller size.

NOTE2: If your actual shape is symmetric, you have theoretical possiblity to save 50% of the printing by having only one half and flipping it.

NOTE3: The printhouse can be serious when they want 5mm wide margins. Their printing software can notice that there's something in the unprintable area and their system or workflow policy do not allow the printing. You can try to clean manually wide enough areas near the edges. You do not lose anything if you have overlaps. Try the following:

  • print with a PDF printer as tiled A0's having full pages and 40mm wide overlaps
  • open each PDF page in Illustrator separately. Release the clipping masks and ungroup, repeat these until your page contains separately editable paths - delete all released clipping masks
  • take the scissors -tool and split the paths near the wanted margin border
  • delete all beyond the allowed area. Releasing the clipping masks probably had created long tails over the artboard border
  • double check that you have not made any accidental scalings or moves
  • export the marginalized page as separate A0 PDF.

If scissors seem too much work, you alternatively can add a rectangular clipping mask that has sides 10mm shorter than the A0 page.

If this also is too much, then give to the printshop your 3 meters wide PDF and ask them print it as tileable A0s with overlaps that you see necessary.

  • Well I am aware of the situation that it might be better to use a supporting rectangle. However now my first problem here in this step is to print it as I want. And I need it printed. No way around this. Furthermore the copyshops all say they need the margin and I have to set it up in my document. Aug 27, 2017 at 9:44
  • @StatTistician I inserted NOTE3 about your current problem.
    – user82991
    Aug 27, 2017 at 13:58
  • Thanks for your update. Problem is that I have many files like this and this makes the work load explode. That's why I hoped it can be automatically done and as the one answer shows, it is possible, however I do not know why it is not possible for me? Aug 28, 2017 at 18:01

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