Quick Tip: How to Impose Business Cards for Digital Printing with InDesign


Sometimes you find yourself in a situation when your client needs to quickly print some business cards and you are the one, who gets the responsibility to do it. In this tutorial you will learn how quickly an effectively impose business card without using any paid imposition plug-in, using some basic InDesign functions and just in a few clicks.


Step 1

Create a new InDesign document and set the page size to 320×450 mm. This is the SRA format which stands for “supplementary raw format A”. It is slightly larger than the ‘A’ series format. This allows us to efficiently impose business card with or without bleed to be later cut on the final format. Also uncheck the Facing Pages box.


Step 2

For this quick tip tutorial I have already created a sample business card. Import your business card into the document page and place it at the left top edge of the document.


Step 3

Now we are going to impose the business card using the basic Step and Repeat function. Select the business card and go to Edit > Step and Repeat… (Alt + Command + U). A new window will pop-up enabling us to set the proper settings for imposition. Check “Create as Grid” option and use 8 Rows and 3 Columns. Set 50 mm for Vertical Offset (height of the business card) and 90 mm for Horizontal Offset (width of the business card).


Step 4

Select the imposed business cards and group them (Command + G). Align them vertically and horizontally to the page so that they are exactly in the middle of the document page.


Step 5

Let’s create the crop marks. First create a new black line using Line Tool (Backslash). Make it 5 mm long and set it’s weight to 0.25 pt.

Note: Usually crop marks are filled with Registration Color (C=100 M=100 Y=100 K=100) when you prepare the document for offset printing, since we are going to print it on a digital printer we will fill it with 100% black.


Step 6

In this step we need to perfectly align the crop mark to the top edge of the imposed business cards on the Y axis. In order to do this we need to find out the exact position of the reference point of the business card. Select the grouped business cards and click on the left top reference point in the reference point locator in the Control panel. Now you can see that the exact Y position of the left top edge of the business cards is approximately 25 mm.

Now select the crop mark and in the reference point locator type “25 mm” for the Y axis. By doing this the crop mark will be perfectly vertically aligned to the top edge of business cards.


Step 7

With the Step and Repeat function (Alt + Command + U) duplicate the crop mark vertically along the whole height of grouped business cards. Set Count to 8 and Vertical Offset to 50 mm.


Step 8

Group vertical crop marks (Command + G) and duplicate them. Holding Shift, move them to the right of the document page next to the business cards.


Step 9

Create a new crop mark with Line Tool (Backslash) and using the reference point locator as described above align it horizontally to the top left edge of business cards.

Then using the Step and Repeat function, duplicate the crop marks along the horizontal edge of imposed business cards. Set Count to 3 and Horizontal Offset to 90 mm (width of the business card)

Group newly created crop marks (Command + G), duplicate and move them at the bottom edge of the document page below business cards.


Final Image

Here you can see the result that we achieved with a few clicks without any paid imposition plug-in in Indesign CS5.


Bonus Tip:

In this tutorial we used a business card without Bleed. If you are going to impose business cards with bleed you need to create double crop marks, one for each cutting edge.

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