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Custom Paper Sizes - Image Centering & Printing Full Bleed

16th September 2015 Printing


When printing with custom paper sizes, sometimes your image can be printed off centre as the printer tries to factor in it's minimum margin width and miscalculates the dimensions.

We use the following method to improve our results:

  1. Cut some basic blank paper down to the size you want to test, rather than use your lovely & expensive fine art paper. Be precise (use a guillotine) as you want to get things as close to perfect as possible.
  2. Create a document in Photoshop that is at least 1cm bigger than your paper size.
  3. Fill this document with black.
  4. Using a low quality mode in your printer driver, print this image - Photoshop will warn you that the image will be clipped, just click OK to this.
  5. This will give you an actual size print with hopefully results that are only slightly off centre.
  6. Now, use Photoshops controls in the Print Settings to nudge this image on the page.
  7. Untick 'center image' - you can use positive or negative values to move the image up or down, left or right. The starting values should be close, but usually a few mms in either direction will sort things out. Iteratively modify these values and re-print your test image until the black square is perfectly centered on your page.
  8. Write these values down and simply enter them each time you print using this media size to get properly centered images.

Full Bleed Printing

Firstly - very few printers will print full bleed to custom paper sizes, so it is best to consider this in your design and leave at least 0.5cm around the edges, if not more.

If you really want full bleed printing, there are two options:

  1. You will need to fool the printer by defining a custom size at least 0.5cm or more bigger than your actual page size. This is a tricky process and you will almost certainly get some issues with ink bleed inside your printer and/or ink marks around the edges of your pages.
  2. Simply to trim the paper down to the print area after printing. You'll lose maybe 0.5cm of the original size but this is simple and gives a very professional result.