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Creating Custom Printer Marks in InDesign

M. asked:

Can I customize the crop marks and registration marks that InDesign creates?

RWIDcs2I never thought you could until Olav Martin Kvern, my co-author on Real World InDesign discovered a secret method using PMD (also known as .mrk) files. It’s obscure, it’s not necessarily for the faint of heart, but it’s not that hard and it’s very powerful.

For example, you could make an .mrk file that places the page information on the page instead of outside the trim area. This might be helpful if you were printing a Letter sized page on Letter sized paper and didn’t have room for the crop marks and page info.

Ole and I wrote up the MRK file definition in Real World InDesign, but we’ve decided to post that section here as a PDF file for everyone to enjoy.

click to download

The PDF file includes several examples, including some source code that you can download from here. For example, there’s a mrk file that makes InDesign’s printer marks look very similar to those found in QuarkXPress.

The description includes a list of customization codes and explanations for how to type them in an MRK file, including detailed illustrations such as this one:


Obviously, if you like this kind of InDepth information, we hope you’ll go ahead and buy the whole book itself.
By the way, I know someone here is going to say, “Dude! Where’s the CS3 version of the book?” Well, we’re working on it as fast as our fingers can go. It should be out in another couple of months. You can order a prerelease version at and be the first in your neighborhood to get it!

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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75 Comments on “Creating Custom Printer Marks in InDesign

  1. We just upgraded from CS2 to CS4. We had a custom crop setup for Japanese crops in CS2. We work in InDesign, and could select these Japanese crops through the drop down menu during the export dialog sequence. Now that we’re on CS4, we need to customize the crops options again. These custom crops are .mrk files; I believe they originally went into the PrintSPT folder. I can’t find that folder on CS4.
    Can you point us in the right direction? Thanks.


  2. Brenda, what OS are you using?

    In my OS X Leopard (with CS4), the PrintSpt folder
    is still at the same location as before (HD/Library/Application Support/Adobe/PrintSpt).

  3. We have successfully altered our .mrk file to what we want except for spot plates across multiple pages. If we have, for example, FOIL and GLITTER as spot colours on page 1, it does put those names onto the PDF. It also puts the two spot colour names on page 2 despite there only being 4 colour process on page 2. Is there a way to only have the plate names appearing that occur on a particular page in a multi-page pdf? We are using CS3.

    Many thanks

  4. I am Using CS5 on a windows7-machine. I can´t find the printspt-folder. Can anyone help me?

    Regards Chris

  5. Still noone around who has located the printspt folder in windows7/cs5 ?
    Would be very helpful!
    Thanks – Frank.

  6. So I’m running Mac OS 10.6.8 and CS5, and I am trying to manually tile a page and have the page info show up, even when I crop very close up. Is there a way to do this? I tried the .mrk file and got it to show in my Marks and Bleed settings, but I can’t get it to do anything when I tile. Any suggestions?

  7. After 2 hours looking for that printSpt ..

    I;m using CS5 and Windows 7
    It is here
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\PrintSpt
    Good luck

  8. is there a fix for the “PAGEMARKS DEFINITION FILE ERROR”-problem under windows 7? We need the custom printer marks.

  9. When the crop mark and page info overprint a background image, there is a thin white background around the type. Is there a way to make this white background larger? (So I can read it without my glasses!)

  10. Is there a way that I can change the font using this code? I was able to get it to work in InDesign, but I can’t seem to figure out a way to do anything that would change the font.

    • Hi Dale,

      I just read your post about having a vertical tag line along the left-hand side of the page. Did you find a solution for this as I’m trying to do the same.

  11. Hi Sam, I never did find a solution to the problem. When I tried the tag line did move to the left-hand-side of the page, and centred on the page, but the tag line ran horizontally across the job, not vertically as I’d hoped.

  12. By using MRK file, Is there any possibility to fix Times font instead of Helvetica in page information? Please help me.

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