Setting Up Bleeds in Microsoft Word

Setting up bleeds in Word can be a daunting task. But once you understand the steps, it will all make perfect sense and you will be creating print ready PDFs in no time.

Word does not include a feature to include bleeds. So we need to cheat a bit. We are going to make our document size larger so that bleeds can be added. Visually your page will appear the same as if it didn’t have bleeds. But when we are done, you will end up with 1/8″ bleeds on all sides of your piece.


In this example we are creating a final piece size of 8.5×11″


1. Open Word and create a new document. Next under the File Menu choose Page Setup.

2. Choose Manager Custom Sizes. We are going to be forcing the document size larger so that bleeds can be included in the layout.

3. Click the plus (+) icon to add a new Custom Page Size. Set the name to 8.75×11.25 and paper size to the same. Then change all your Non-printable Area values to zero then click ok. This will bring you back to the Page Setup window and you will see for Page Size it now shows the custom page size we just created (8.75×11.25). Click ok to confirm this and you are now ready to create your design.

What we have done is create a document that will have a final trim of 8.5×11″ with 1/8″ bleed on each side of the page.

4. For my example I am going to place a graphic on my layout that I want to be right on the edge of the piece which means it needs to bleed. When I add this graphic to my layout I am going to push it all the way to the edge of the page. Since my document size is 8.75×11.25 I know that 1/8″ will be taken off each side when final trimming occurs to make it 8.5×11″. So when I push this graphic to the edge of this page I have made the graphic bleed 1/8″ on the top.

5. Once your design is completed you will need to create a PDF. From the File Menu at the top choose Print and select your Adobe PDF printer. Make sure you open the options and choose the “High Quality Print” option for creating your PDF and click print.

6. You now have a high resolution PDF from Word that includes bleeds. If you open the PDF in Acrobat you will see along the bottom of the window the document size is 8.75×11.25 which means the final trim will take 1/8″ off each side to make 8.5×11″ and you included bleeds as required by your commerical printer. The green line in this file indicate the trim line to better highlight the example.

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