Bleed workarounds

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This article is part of the Tips & Tricks series.
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What is bleed needed for

Bleed is an extra area on document used to compensate for the fact printers and presses must have margins for gripper. The bleed is effected by printing on a larger sheet of paper, then cutting it to the desired size.

For example look at this PDF:

The page height is 307mm, which means A4 height + 1cm.

This extra cm is not desired on a version for viewing but it is needed on a version for printing, because the document is printed over a white page, and any cutting imprecision might lead to a white stripe appearing where we should only see blue.

In the above example bleed was only used on top and bottom, but depending on your printer you may or may not need to use it on the four sides.

Bleed workarounds

Bleed functionality is on the roadmap for Scribus 1.3.6. In the meantime, here are real life workarounds for bleed:

  • Have your document trimmed 1/16 of an inch (or even less, if possible) shorter than its real size.
  • Enlarge at print (say 102%) and trim.
  • Make the whole layout fit into a larger page and add manual crop marks (put them on a template to save time with multiple page documents). Use margins to delimit the "real" working area. Let the coloured elements on the edges of the document extend to the extra area outside the margins.

Another way is to use a script to change the document itself to bleed and to add marks (look for Bleed, create markers and export a document to pdf).

These are workarounds. This is not to say bleed support is not important!

Please note, crop marks are not an absolute necessity. If you can provide a dummy showing what you expect, your printer will very likely be able to achieve the same on the trimmer. Make sure the elements that are intended to "bleed" are at least fit kiss with the very edge of the page.