How To Add Crop Marks And Bleed Using Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is meant for preparing images for use either online or for print. If you need to send a PDF or graphic out to a printer and you have been asked to include bleed and printer’s crop marks, you’ll find there is no automated way of doing this.

However, it can be done manually, and fairly easily too.

Below is a video tutorial showing how to add both bleed and crop marks. The steps basically involve increasing the size of the canvas and using marquee tools and stroked selections.

The only thing that needs stating, to avoid making an easy mistake, is that bleed is applied around the outside of the whole image. This means that if you are adding 3mm bleed, you need to increase your canvas size by 6mm on both width and height. This will give you 3mm on either side. Increasing your image size by 3mm will only give you 1.5mm bleed…

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22 Comments

  1. Lisa Jeffries

    Thank you! I read all of the other top search results and watched several YouTube videos on this – yours was the easiest to follow and most concise!

    • Stuart

      Thanks Lisa, forgot to add in the video that this process can be automated. Record an action and it will repeat the steps for you. If you put a pause in for the final marquee selection, you can use it on any size canvas.

  2. Ruth N.

    I agree with “Lisa’s” remark. This was simple, to the point and I finally got how to make crop marks. Thank You for making this easy to understand and do!

    • Stuart

      Thanks for the feedback – and glad it was helpful!

      • Holly

        Hi Rod, I know it was a long time ago, but did you ever solve this? I am having exactly the same problem. Thanks

  3. Rod

    Terrific video that has helped out a lot.
    I ran into a small issue when selecting the lines with the marquee tool. All the column and row marquee lines worked except for the bottom one which refused to show up when aligned with the rulers guides.
    It’s had me baffled for a while now!

    • Stuart

      Thanks Rod, glad it helped.
      Using marquees with the guidelines seem to fox a lot of people. Visually, I agree it looks like sometimes they are slightly out. This is often due to guides having no width in reality, so a 1px error appears on occasions. Not showing up at all is unusual! Make sure snap to guides (View > Snap) is on and see if that makes a difference.

  4. Sue

    This is fantastic, thank you! Saved me heaps of time.

  5. MelopolyM

    When I hover over the ruler line at the top, nothing happens … I already have my photoshop page and am adding the crop lines at the end… what may I be doing wrong? Thanks, M
    Reply ·

    • Stuart

      Can you give me any more information? It may be that you are not dragging the cursor from the right place…

  6. Stuart Maginnis

    Firstly thanks for this, at least somone is trying to explain. Secondly this no longer applies to Adobe CC, and the first 4 mins 30 seconds are irelevant to the title

    • Stuart

      Photoshop CC 2014 has an option to add printer’s crop marks in the print dialogue, but there is no facility to create bleed. The crop marks it adds are only applied to the edge of the current canvas size. There is no offset value for these marks, so they don’t help in real world print situations.
      The intro to the video was showing people how to add bleed to a specifically-sized document. Along with the guides that are created, this can be used to correctly place the crop marks when handing over the files to a printer.

  7. Steve Duffy

    Fantastic video! Well presented and easy to follow. Did exactly what I needed for doing our wedding invites! Thanks so much and well done on the video

    • Stuart

      Thank you Steve. Glad it helped – and hope the wedding is an enjoyable day!

  8. Ched

    I was wondering if you knew how to make crop and trimming marks the newer version CC and CC 2014 or CC 2015

    • Stuart

      Hi Ched, same method as in the video! The single row and column marquee tools are there, just don’t be tempted to use the Crop marks setting in the Print dialog box. This uses your canvas for reference and does not allow for or have options for offsetting and bleed.

  9. Anthony Tran

    Thank you for your help.

    So many tutorials and videos did not make as much sense as yours! Very happy that I came across this video as it made my life a lot easier.

    • Stuart

      Glad it was helpful. Thanks for the feedback.

  10. Kelly

    Thank you for a great, concise, easy to follow tutorial!

  11. Holly

    Great thank you! However I have the same problem as Rod. This method has worked for all except the bottom horizontal line. I have tried increasing the stroke to 2px to allow for 1px error but still not visible line.

  12. Robyn Petrik

    This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for providing a clear and easy to follow demonstration.

    • Haiz Design

      You are welcome. Glad it helped.

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