Difference Between Slug and Bleed (With Table)

Both these terms ‘slug’ and ‘bleed’ are terms that are commonly used by the publishers. However, these words can be new for many people and it is important to know the meaning of each. Slug in printing means the area that is described outside the printing area. The slug area mostly contains the registration mark and also some printing guidelines for the printer.

Bleed in the printing, and publishing world means the printing that goes way beyond the edge of where the particular sheet is trimmed. Bleed, in other words, will also mean that trimming the bleed area of a particular sheet.

Slug vs Bleed

The difference between slug and bleed is that they differ from their functions themselves. A bleed will consist of several objects and texts but a slug, on the other hand, will commonly be in the text form. Both slug and bleed are supposed to be removed before the final publishing takes place.

Bleed is basically the part of the area where a small space is kept so that the movement of the paper can take place. Slug, on the other hand, is outside the printing area.

Comparison Table Between Slug and Bleed

Parameters of ComparisonSlugBleed
MeaningA slug is the area that is outside the printing and also outside the bleed area.Bleed, on the other hand, is that area that goes beyond the edges of a document that needs to be trimmed off.
Trimmed offSlug needs to be trimmed off before a document gets finalised.Bleed, too has to be trimmed off before a document gets finalised.
TypesThere is no types of slugBleed is of two types that is intentional and unintentional bleed.
ImportanceTo impart several types of written instruction.To avoid strips os white paper showing on the edges of the particular print.

What is Slug?

Slug is a term that is commonly used by the publishers and printers. So, if you ask them they might give you a detailed description of what a slug is. Slug is basically a part of an area that is described to be outside the printing area and it is outside the bleed area too.

The slug area is supposed to have the registration mark and other printing instructions for the printer. So, it is important to know how these things perform while performing publishing work or printing work.

One common thing that describes both slugs and bleeds is that both are referred to a location or the area of a particular document. The slug area is present to make movement of the document by enabling the options available in it.

Well, if a publisher does not need the functions of the slug then they can prefer not to use it because if there is no need then there is no need to use it. You can see the slug area the printing document or outside a page’s margin on the edges of a trim line.

The publisher or the printer should know how to use the slug area because here it will have all the important information. Some of the common information that it will have are titles, names, dates, and other such kinds of information.

The slug area of a particular sheet or a document can also be used as a tracking tool for the recipient. Well, in the end when the document or the sheet and everything gets finalised and is ready to be printed then the slug area will or should be removed because it has fulfilled all its needs and requirements.

What is Bleed?

Bleed, in the world of publishing and printing, on the other hand, means is the area that is beyond the edge of the sheet where the sheet will have to be trimmed. The area that needs to be trimmed off is the area called as ‘bleed’.

Bleed and slug are referred to the area that ultimately has to be removed at the end after finalising the project or the document. There are some options for that can even publish the bleed area by clicking on some options available.

So, there is a choice for the printer or the publisher about a particular document or a sheet whether they need to keep the bleed part or delete it. Bleed is done purposely where a partial text will extend the page. Bleed can be applied if there is any kind of miscalculation in the size of the page.

Now, bleed can be of two types and that is the intentional bleed and unintentional bleed. The unintentional bleed takes place to test a particular document or a project and also for checking the inaccuracies present in the document.

The result after everything is done like the testing and checking the inaccuracies is called as the sample before finalising the document or the project. An intentional bleed, on the other hand, is the area that is kept intentionally so that it can be used for several purposes like designing and other purposes.

Main Differences Between Slug and Bleed

  1. Both slug and bleed refer to the publishing and printing terms and have a meaning to them.
  2. Slug means the area that is outside the printing and it is also outside the bleed area.
  3. Bleed, on the other hand, means the area that goes beyond the edge of a particular document or a sheet.
  4. Both slug area and bleed area are trimmed off before a document gets finalised.
  5. Bleed can be of two types: intentional bleed and unintentional bleed whereas there is no types of slug.


In the end, it depends upon the needs and usage of the people. Say suppose you need the bleed area for your purpose then yes you can do that because there are options available for that to make it happen.

It is the same case for slug too. Both bleed and slug have got their respective functions and they are quite different from each other but in the end when a document gets finalised one has to trim these areas.


  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/800265.810750
  2. https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/8191