Printer marks indicate the boundaries of document boxes supported by Adobe PDF, such as trim boxes and bleed boxes. You can add printer marks temporarily at print time using the Marks And Bleeds panel of the Advanced Print Setup dialog box, or you can embed printer marks in the file and optionally in a layer using the Add Printer Marks dialog box. For information about adding printer marks to just the printed output, see Include marks and bleeds. You can view these marks using the Layers tab in Acrobat. If the printer marks were exported as a layer, any printer marks you create using the Acrobat Add Printer Marks feature replace the InDesign printer marks.
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It also contains a definition of the physical size of those pages. That page size definition is not as straightforward as you might think. There can in fact be up to 5 different definitions in a PDF that relate to the size of its pages. These are called the boundary boxes or page boxes: The MediaBox is used to specify the width and height of the page. For the average user, this probably equals the actual page size. For prepress use, this is not the case as we prefer our pages to be defined slightly oversized so that we can see the bleed Images or other elements touching an outer edge of a printed page need to extend beyond the edge of the paper to compensate for inaccuracies in trimming the page , the crop marks and useful information such as the file name or the date and time when the file was created.
This means that PDF files used in graphic arts usually have a MediaBox which is larger then the trimmed page size. For prepress use, the CropBox is pretty irrelevant.
The GWG industry association recommends not to use it at all. The TrimBox defines the intended dimensions of the finished page. Contrary to the CropBox, the TrimBox is very important because it defines the actual page size that gets printed. The imposition programs and workflows that I know all use the TrimBox as the basis for positioning pages on a press sheet.
By default the TrimBox equals the CropBox. The BleedBox determines the region to which the page contents needs to be clipped when output in a production environment. Usually the BleedBox is 3 to 5 millimeters larger than the TrimBox. Most prepress systems allow you to define the amount of bleed yourself and ignore the BleedBox. By default the BleedBox equals the CropBox.
The ArtBox is a bit of a special case. It was originally added to indicate the area covered by the artwork of the page. It is never used for that but can be handy in a few cases: On a PDF page that contains an advertisement, the ArtBox can be used to define the location of that ad. This allows you to place that PDF on another page but only use the area covered by the advert. A more common use of the ArtBox is as a means to indicate the safety zone.
If the poster is not mounted properly, this could cause that text or logo to disappear behind the frame of the lightbox. In book design, there is also a margin where you cannot put text because the binding might make it difficult to read text that is too close to the spine.
The area where it is safe to place graphic elements is called the safety zone or text safe area. The ArtBox can be used to indicate the dimensions of this part of the page. It shows that in Acrobat the MediaBox is highlighted with a magenta rectangle, the BleedBox with a cyan one while dark blue is used for the TrimBox.
Acrobat Pro can also show the actual dimensions in millimeters or inches. This works for the Preflight function from Acrobat Professional version 6 onwards. The screen capture below shows the Acrobat Pro DC preflight summary. There are other tools like PitStop that can show page dimensions. I prefer the handy overview shown below, which was generated by the DocuBoxManager plug-in. It is part of the Agfa Graphics Apogee Prepress workflow.
General rules regarding page boxes Each page in a PDF can have different sizes for the various page boxes. The page boxes are always rectangular. That may seem logical but artwork is not always rectangular: a PDF can represent an oval label or the foldout of a cardboard box. All the other page boxes do not necessarily have to be present in regular PDF files.
How to change page boxes You can use the Crop Pages tool in Acrobat Professional to change the page boxes. A number of plug-ins offer more sophisticated controls to change bounding boxes.
If you know about other interesting plug-ins or tools, add a comment to this page. What you should not do is rescale a PDF by placing it on a page in a layout or drawing application like InDesign or Corel Draw and then rescale it.
Do I even need to worry about all these boxes? Nowadays applications are PDF-aware enough that they get things right from the start. The TrimBox is taken from the document setup.
The MediaBox size is defined by the media size to which you print. The CropBox size is set to be the same as the Media size. In the past you had to pay attention a lot more. Older applications did not define the trim box properly, forcing most prepress operators to center pages and hope everything worked out fine which it usually did, by the way. Some systems do this by default.
This has users who are not familiar with PDF worry if there is any bleed in the document. The bounding box is a rectangular frame that determines the dimensions of an object such as a graphic, font or pattern that is placed inside a PDF document. As such, this box has nothing to do with the page boxes.
The PDF page boxes: MediaBox, CropBox, BleedBox, TrimBox & ArtBox
On a PDF page that contains an advertisement, the ArtBox can be used to define the location of that ad. It shows that in Acrobat the MediaBox is highlighted with a magenta rectangle, the BleedBox with a cyan one while dark blue is used for the TrimBox. The bounding box is a rectangular frame that determines the dimensions of an object such as a graphic, font or pattern that is placed inside a PDF document. Now it seem ok to understand preepress guys. Sign up using Email and Password. This works for the Preflight function from Acrobat Professional version 6 onwards. January 2, at 7: For prepress use, the CropBox is pretty irrelevant.
Adding a Trimbox
Edit Answer for another minute Are you talking about printer trim marks? If so, I would look at editing the PDF in the original program that created the document and setting the borders wide and tall enough to allow for the marks. I would create a new folder to work in, as the later steps will create duplicate files and if you were say working on the desktop, your desktop would be covered with over files! One can also use preflight to edit the page boxes, so it may also be possible to setup a custom preflight droplet to batch apply the pagebox edit to multiple single files. Stephen Marsh Edit Answer for another minute I forgot to mention that I rarely use preflight droplets as they always seem to crash on my machine. Their advantage is that they will not mess with the current filing structure of the PDF files, so all you need to do is drag and drop them onto the droplet backup the originals for safety first.
Printer marks and hairlines (Acrobat Pro)