Printing Marks in Inkscape

Inkscape Printing Marks Extension Interface and Output

Not sure when this feature was added, but I’m running the Inkscape 0.47 preview and discovered that the default install now includes a “Printing Marks” feature. You can access it from the main menu:

0.47 Extensions > Render > Printing Marks

0.91 Extensions > Render > Layout > Printing Marks

The small options window that pops up allows you to adjust a variety of settings for the position of the marks as well as the type of marks to be displayed, seeming to cover all of the needs of a typical commercial printing process.


The “Live Preview” option makes it easy and efficient to adjust the settings to match your desired output. Once you hit Apply the specified marks are added to your document as vector art in a new, locked layer titled “Printing Marks”.

In the past I’ve manually created crop marks when needed, but this is a major step on the road to serious recognition and use by graphic design professionals. Eventually it would be great to see these options removed to a print and/or export dialog interface, but this is an excellent option to have as well.

Inkscape is an open source and free application built around the SVG recommendation that makes it easy to create vector images. I use it to create illustrations as well as single-page layouts of all sizes. In fact, I recently created a business card layout with Inkscape, exported as PDF and sent to a printer to create offset business cards. The cards turned out great without any problems. A serious vector art tool.

16 thoughts on “Printing Marks in Inkscape”

  1. Thanks for this tip. I am not sure when this feature was added too, but it’s really helpful. I hadn’t played about with the Extensions that much so it may have been there for a while now!


  2. Great, the more I work with Inkscape and discover it, the more I love it !
    Thank for your post, it’s helpful as I’m creating new business cards.

  3. Amazing, thanks for posting this. The only thing I do after this is unlock printing marks layer, select all marks, and expand the document size to include selection.

    Then when I print to PDF, I get a press-ready PDF. Is there a better way to do that?

  4. @Jesse Dhillon – Yeah, I think your method of making a press-ready file is pretty much it. Glad the post was of help.

  5. The print-marks dont appear when making a pdf of the canvas. 🙁 How do you create a pdf that includes the “extra-canvas” used by the print marks?

  6. @jason @Jesse Dhillon, Hi, I’m new to all this so please correct me if I’m wrong somewhere. I tried to crease the crop marks with this method but marks don’t show up on canvas/image, they appear outside canvas. I tried to play with the values to see if they can appear on canvas, but couldn’t succeed. You guys said that expanding the canvas size to selection bring the marks on the canvas. But the problem is the design remains at it place and doesn’t expand. So what is the point of including the bleeds? When the printed cut it, we will have a white boarder around the actual design. I’m talking specifically about business cards. The point of creating bleeds and crop marks is to avoid the problems created by the inaccurate cutting by the printer. But in this case, we will be having the same problem and final card will have white boarder on all sides. So what we achieved with this? Please correct if I’m missing something…

  7. @Ateeq – It seems like you are insinuating that the extension adds some kind of “white border” around the outside edge of the initial canvas, or along the cutting edge.

    I design my card with the Inkscape document dimensions set to my desired final cut size.
    Inkscape Printing Marks step 1

    Once the design is good and I am ready to prepare for print, I make sure that any bleeds go beyond the document edge by at least 1/8″.

    Then I use Extension > Printing Marks to generate crop marks for the document canvas. Yes, the resulting crop marks are outside the canvas.
    Inkscape Printing Marks step 2

    Then I usually group the artwork with the crop marks as one object and then resize the Inkscape document to my desired printing page size, usually a US Letter or Tabloid.
    Inkscape Printing Marks step 3

    Now, I create multiple copies of my crop-marked artwork and arrange them into an efficient grid that fills as much of the page as possible.
    Inkscape Printing Marks step 4 - Full Bleed, 8up

    If I want to be particularly efficient and the bleeds on the design are compatible, I will set up for “butt cuts” so that each single inner cut cuts a business card on each side of the blade.
    Inkscape Printing Marks step 4 - Butt-cut, 10up

    In this fashion there is no white outline produced or left behind by the Printing Marks extension.

    Is that helpful?

  8. @jason, Thanks for your detailed response. But what you described is all with white background card, bleeds are particularly useful for colored background cards.

    Let me try explaining my point again. For a colored background card, when we add crop and bleed marks using your described method, they will show up on white background. So when the printer cut the crop marks that are on the edge of colored and white background, little inaccuracy in printer cutting will leave white background on any of the edge(s).

    Crop marks should show on the card surface(with bleed already added) and once cut, even in case of inaccurate cutting, we will have the background color all the way to the edges of the card. I might be wrong somewhere or may be I am not able to understand it properly. I would appreciate if you can correct me if I am wrong.

  9. @Ateeq . Follow the procedure outlined by Jason , and Jesse.
    Make your dark background on the bottom layer. Use the Layers -> Layers , go to your background layer. Select it. Use the object transform scale to produce your required dark bleed expand to your bleed marks. HTH.

  10. Thanks for the post. For anyone, like me, finding this recently this tool has changed its location. It is now:

    Extensions > Render > Layout > Printing Marks

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