How to prepare a print ready multi-page document in InDesign

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Time spent on setting up a job will save you time in the long-run and mean the resulting PDF will accurately reflect your requirement.
This guide focuses on the use of Adobe InDesign but a lot of the principals are transferable to other software.
Before you start make sure you have all the key information you need to create the page, particularly trim size, bleed information, print resolution, and colour type (CMYK or Spot colour).
There are two main zones to bear in mind when creating artwork. The Safe Text Zone (Margins) and the Bleed Zone.
The Safe Text Zone is the amount of distance required from the edge of the page to the text margin. The MINIMUM recommended distance is 5mm. For a PUR bound book the inner margin should be at least 10mm.
The Bleed Zone is the space outside the page. The MINIMUM amount of bleed required is 3mm extended out from the edge of the page. When you want a graphic or photo touching the finished trim edge you must add bleed by extending the image past the trim edge. Guillotines are not always 100% accurate so you need to add ‘bleed to take into account any movement when the product is being cut to its finished size.
Launch InDesign and go to FILE>NEW DOCUMENT
1. Select the number of pages you want and tick the box next to ‘Facing Pages’ (Saddle Stitched books must go up in multiples of 4 whereas Perfect Bind (PUR) can go up in an ‘even number’ of pages).
2. Select page size (this will be your final trimmed size) and orientation
3.Margins refers to the ‘Safe Text Zones’. The minimum recommended is 5mm and is usually set at 10 or 12mm for saddle stitch.
Please note that if the artwork is being ‘Perfect Bound (PUR)’ then add 6mm to the inside margin by un-linking the margins (chain icon) and adding in the additional 6mm
4. Set Bleed to 3mm and press OK.
Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 17.01.13

A blank document will open and you will see the following lines:

5. The Red Line indicates the reach of your Bleed Area

6. The purple line shows the Safe Text Zone (Margins)

7. The white box with black outline indicates the trimmed page size


Pages tab

As facing pages were selected you can see in the ‘Pages Tab” that:

  • Your first page is a single page (Front Cover or first page of Text)
  • The following pages are double page spreads
  • The last page is a single page (Back Cover or last page of Text).

This will help you identify the left and right hand pages to make the magazine layout easier.




Perfect Bound (PUR) 4pp COVER + SPINE

The Cover artwork needs to be done separately from the text pages. The cover artwork will include the Front (FC), Back (BC), Inside Front (IFC), Inside Back (IBC) and Spine.

The InDesign document should have 2 pages in and include the extra width of the spine. e.g. an A4 book with a 6mm spine will be 210+6+210 =426mm x 210.

You also need to take into account the ‘Hinge’ on the cover and not run any artwork into this area. The hinge is where the cover folds. It takes up 6mm of the artwork on the Inside of the front cover and the first and last text pages. It is not recommended to run images across spreads in Perfect Bound (PUR) books for this reason.

Do not run any image from the Inside Front/Back Cover into the Inner Spine. This is because the glue wont stick very well on inked parts of the paper. However you can bleed any images into the 6mm hinge area.PUR binding


swatchesColour Swatches Please ensure that all colour swatches are CMYK unless you are printing a specific Pantone Colour or using a custom spot colour to highlight personalised areas of text for lasering/inkjetting. You can tell what type of colour swatch you have by the icons after the colour name.

swatch key

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta Yellow, and Black) also know as 4 Colour Process

RGB (Red, Green and Blue). Used for computer VDUs. Requires converting to CMYK.

Book Colour (Such as Pantone). Industry Standard specialist ink colours.

Process. The colour has been mixed using the primary colours of either CMYK or RGB.

Spot Colour. This indicates that the colour is in its own unique colour channel and not part of the process colour channels.

Checking Image Resolution

When you scale an image in InDesign you are affecting its final resolution. If you put in a large 72ppi image and scale its dimensions down, its effective resolution will increase. Likewise if you increase a small image you reduces its effective resolution. You can view an images effective resolution by going to WINDOW>LINKS. Click on the image and in the LINK INFO box is the images information. This shows the ACTUAL PPI and the EFFECTIVE PPI. The recommended EFFECTIVE PPI needs to be 300 PPI or above but as a absolute minimum we recommend no less than 150PPI.

Check image resolution

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