Full Bleed


Bleed is a term in printing describing a document with images, lines, or color that extends to the edge of the page. All files uploaded and printed on Lulu are created to bleed specifications. If a document requires bleed, it must be properly created to ensure the contents extend to the edges of the page. Any document requiring full bleed but submitted at the wrong page size will result in white margins when the book is printed.


When creating a document with bleed, keep in mind that important art and text should be 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) from the edge of the finished page size. This allows for page trim variance as well as bleed. The variance is shown below from the blue dotted line to the orange dotted line.


For example, a 6 x 9" US Trade book is created slightly larger (6.25 x 9.25") and is centered .125"(1/8") around the finished page size. The excess (.125") on all sides is trimmed prior to binding. For an example, see the image below.




To create a file with bleed, you will need to:

  • Page size must be .25 in. (.635 cm) larger in both width and height than the book size.
  • Although we make every effort to provide high quality, consistently produced books, there can be slight variations from press to press in the trim size of your work. Allow for a trim variance of .125 inches. (.3175 cm).
  • In order to prevent the loss of an image's primary subject matter during page trimming, you should position images on the page so that the important aspects within the image are at least .25 inches (.635 cm) from the edge of the finished page size.
  • If your book is intended for distribution when that is made available, any text within an image must be positioned at least .5 inches (1.27 cm) from the edge of the finished page size.
  • Example: 6 x 9" (US Trade) book will need one PDF with a page size of 6.25 x 9.25" (see image above).


Common issues:

  • Improper bleed results in a white strip or important content cut off at the edge of the page
  • Crop marks or registration marks should not be included
  • Multiple-page spreads should be separated into single pages
  • Pages should all be in the same orientation - Landscape or Portrait
  • When creating a PDF from Word, set pages to portrait not landscape


Full Bleed with InDesign


You should create your document using bleed prior to adding content:

  1. Start a new document in InDesign and set the page size for the size of the book you are creating. Note that these dimensions should not include bleed - you'll handle that on step 2
  2. Select the Print tab
  3. Click Bleed and Slug to expand the panel. Enter .125 inches (.3175 cm) in the four bleed boxes and click OK. You may have to click the More Options button to see the Bleed and Slug boxes
  4. Create your book adding graphics and text where needed. Any artwork that needs to be full bleed needs to extend to the red line. The page will be trimmed at the black line. The purple line is the margin you set for your book
  5. Once your book is ready, go to File > Adobe PDF Presets, and select Lulu Adobe Job Options attached below
  6. In the Marks and Bleeds section, select Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export


If you've already created your document, you can adjust the pages to allow for bleed or edit the bleed settings:

  1. Click File
  2. Select Document Setup
  3. Select Bleed and Slug to expand the panel
  4. Enter or adjust your bleed settings


Please Note: In a finished full-bleed PDF from InDesign, the graphics on adjacent gutter edges (odd pages on right, even on the left) should slightly overlap. This allows your graphics to line up as intended when the bleeds are trimmed during printing.


Here is an example of acceptable overlap in the gutter for a full bleed PDF:



Properly adding images and color:


When adding your images and colors to the document, be sure to snap the object to the bleed guideline. See image below:



For additional instructions, please review Adobe's Full Bleed instructions:


Bleed instructions for InDesign are available here


Please Note: When exporting for Full Bleed, do NOT include crop marks. This differs from Adobe's instructions. If crop marks are included in the file, they will appear in the printed book.