Foil stamping, adding spot colors, maybe a varnish? The best way to get on your printer’s good side is properly setting them up to make the prepress process easier. Here are the steps to properly set up your indesign file.

What is Overprint?

Overprint is when you print additional material on top of an item already containing a printed layer.

When will you use overprint?

Overprinting is often used when you want to print spot colors, varnishes or do foil stamping. These are just a few of the more common examples but there are many other unique situations where you may use overprint.

Overprint Setup in Indesign

We created file with type you wish to create an overprint of. (You can do this tutorial with type or an object you have created in Indesign)

In this file we want our type to be a gold foil stamp.

In this file we want our type to be gold foil stamped.

1. Create the swatch that will represent your stamp/spot/varnish.

You can do this by clicking on your swatches in the workspace of Indesign then clicking on the menu options and selecting New Color Swatch…

Create new swatch by clicking on swatch panel menu options and then selecting New Color Swatch...

New Color Swatch Menu Options

Note that we named the swatch as well as made it a spot color. This makes it easier for your printer to prep the file for printing.

2. Apply the new swatch to the type/object you wish to overprint.

Apply the new swatch


Make sure your overlay is on it’s own separate layer. This makes the prepress processes for the pressman much easier and decreases the chance of errors substantially!

Specific Layer for Overprint

3. Open Attributes Panel.

 Window > Output > Attributes


It should look like this:

4. Select your text/object that will be overprinted.

Highlight the text (select the object) and click on “Overprint Fill” (and/or “Overprint Stroke” if applicable) in the Attributes panel.

5. Turn on Overprint Preview.

View > Overprint Preview


This will simulate what the item will look like with the overprint.


As you can tell from the above image my foil stamp looks drastically different now that Indesign is simulating the overprint.

There you have it!  Keep in mind this is only one way to set a file up to overprint.

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