This tutorial has been made on Linux, yet the tools that I'm gonna use are cross-platform and free, so you can try it on other operating systems too. In short, to add printer marks and bleeds to a PDF document, you should generate a marks and bleeds only PDF for the source document page size, then increase pages size of the source document and at last overlay the marks and bleeds document.
Before starting, let's install required software. We'll need Scribus, pdftk and the pdfcrop utility from TexLive. You can install these on Ubuntu Linux using this command:
sudo apt-get install scribus pdftk pdfchain texlive-extra-utilsI suppose you already have installed a PDF viewer that can tell you the page dimension of a document. By the way, this how-to is intended for PDF documents with constant page size. Here is how Evince displays page size:
|PDF page size|
I will show you a simpler method that involves Scribus. Why this? Because Scribus can add printer marks to a document. So, launch it and make a new document of one page with the size of the source PDF document! That's 216 x 279 in my case. Scribus knows to add printer marks outside of the page.
|Make the new document in Scribus|
|Marks and bleeds settings|
It's time to check the result page size and do some calculations. Mine has 230 x 293 mm, so the marks take up (230 - 216)/2 = (293 - 279)/2 = 7 mm. I have to match the source document page size to this, so I should add a margin of 7 mm on all sides. Here comes handy pdfcrop. It would have been easier to use if it accepted metric inputs. This is an utility intended to autocrop PDF pages and it has the option to add some extra margins to the cropped result. To use it for the purpose of solely increasing page size, we must specify that the bounding box is equal to the page size, so it won't crop the page. It uses bp units, which represent pixels at 72 PPI. My source document size is 216 x 279 mm. To convert to bp, I do the following: (216 mm / 25.4 mm) x 72 PPI = 612 bp and (279 mm / 25.4 mm) x 72 PPI = 791 bp. To this page size, I have to add 7 mm margin, this meaning (7 mm / 25.4 mm) x 72 PPI = 20 bp. So, the complete command is this:
pdfcrop --margins 20 --bbox "0 0 612 791" input.pdf out_temp.pdfThe bbox argument takes values as left, bottom, right, top so right is the page width in bp and top is page height in bp. This is true for margins argument too. If you need different values for each margin you can specify them in the same manner.
It's time to check my intermediary document for the right page size. And since everything is OK (the page size of the intermediary document matches marks document), I will add the marks layer to it using PDF Chain, a pdftk GUI.
|Overlay the marks and bleeds|
Here is a low resolution comparison of the initial document and the result.
|Original document (left) and result (right)|