Why set up this way?

Most designers set up perfect bound books using InDesign’s “Facing Pages” option in the document set up. The advantage of this is getting a feel of how the pages will look when the finished product is being viewed. The issue is that there are only a few instances when “Facing Pages” are useful for production (one that comes to mind is when creating a product that will be settle-stitched.)

When binding the book the binder will trim where the pages meet along the spine, this is known as the grind off. {Grind off Definition: The portion along the spine of perfect-bind signatures that will be removed during the binding process.} Unfortunately with InDesign’s “Facing Pages” option there is no ability to add that needed bleed:



When a document is provided to a printer with no bleed for the grind off there is a lot more pre-press work required to makes sure your pages flow properly with the pinch.



With the lack of bleed there is an increase chance your printer may incorrectly set up or have to alter you design so that it can be bound with little error.

There is debate that it is the Printer’s job to make sure that the book prints properly – we   agree 100%, but we believe this document set-up solution is a great way to get the spread look that “Facing Pages” offers while providing your printer with the bleeds they need to produce the book correctly.

1. Create a new document.

> TURN FACING PAGES OFF (This is the most important part of this entire tutorial! If this is on, then you will not be able to add bleed between pages.)

> Create a Bleed of .125 in (This is what most binderies need to create a “Grind Off”)

2. Create a new master page.

> In the panel options change the “Number of Pages” to “2” and the pages size and width should be that of one single page in the book.


3. Pages tool (Shift + P)

> With the pages tool selected click on the right page of the spread. Then change the x-axis by adding .375 in to it.



>This will give us our .25in  bleeds and a gutter of .125 inches. to separate the pages visually (The gutter is not necessary, but a preference of ours.)

You are done! Now you have a master page that gives you the spread look with the bleeds your printer needs.


Click on the preview mode (w on your keyboard) to see how the spread will look when the bleeds are removed.


We like to give credit where credit is due. Featured photo from Aaron Burden.

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