GRC 278B Electronic Prepress

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GRC 278B Class Lessons

Understanding Creep

Updated 12.19.


Read infomation in Adobe InDesign Help. {Search: creep} or click below

Understanding Creep


outermost printer spread
Centerfold (or natural spread)—innermost printer spread
Creep increment
amount of creep on each sheet of paper
Creep value
actual measurement of the total creep
Perfect Bound
A bindery finishing process where the text pages of a book are sewn together and a cover is wrapped around the pages and attached with glue.
Printer spread
side-by-side pages on the paper
two printer spreads
a sheet with several pages printed on it; it folds to page size and is bound with other signatures to form a book
Saddle Stitched
In binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold of the sheets.


Creep = Creep Value ÷ (total number of sheets - 1)


16 (total pages in book) ÷ 4 (pages per printed sheet) = 4 (total sheets of paper)

 4 (total sheets) ÷ .001 (paper thickness) = TOTAL creep (creep value)

From here you want to divide the total creep by the number of flat sheets you have (signatures)




Basic Concepts

Creep specifies the distance pages move away from the spine to accommodate paper thickness and folding in Saddle Stitch and Perfect Bound documents. InDesign considers the “cover” of the final piece to be the outermost printer spread, while the “centerfold” is considered to be the innermost printer spread.

The term sheet represents two printer spreads: the front of the sheet and the back of the sheet. The creep increment is calculated by dividing the specified creep value by the total number of sheets minus one.

For example, a 16-page InDesign document could yield eight printer spreads, or four sheets. The front of the first sheet will consist of the first printer spread (pages 16 and 1) while the back of the first sheet will consist of the second printer spread (pages 2 and 15).

If the creep value in this example is 24 points (an exaggerated amount for the sake of clarity), the creep increment will be 8 points per sheet (24 divided by 3). The amount of creep applied to the outermost sheet will be 24 points, the amount of creep applied to the second sheet will be 16 points, and the amount of creep applied to the third sheet will be 8 points. No creep will be applied to the fourth and innermost sheet.

The amount of creep for each successive sheet is decreased by the creep increment. In summary, each page on the outermost sheet is moved 12 points (half of the 24-point creep value for this sheet) away from the spine, each page on the second sheet is moved 8 points (half of the 16-point creep value for this sheet) away from the spine, and each page on the third sheet is moved 4 points (half of the 8-point creep value for this sheet) away from the spine.

Print Booklet and Imposition

The Print Booklet feature lets you create printer spreads for professional printing. For example, if you’re editing an 8-page booklet, the pages appear in sequential order in the layout window. However, in printer spreads, page 2 is positioned next to page 7, so that when the two pages are printed on the same sheet, folded, and collated, the pages end up in the appropriate order.

The process of creating printer spreads from layout spreads is called imposition. While imposing pages, you can change settings to adjust spacing between pages, margins, bleed, and creep. The layout of your InDesign document is not affected, because the imposition is all handled in the print stream. No pages are shuffled or rotated in the document.

  1. Choose File > Print Booklet
  2. If a printer preset has the settings you want, choose it in the Print Preset menu.
    To use the print settings (as they appear in the Print dialog box) of the current document, choose Current Document Settings from the Print Preset menu.
  3. If you don’t want the entire document to be imposed, select Range in the Setup area and specify which pages to include in the imposition.
  4. Use hyphens to separate consecutive page numbers, and commas for nonadjacent page numbers. For example, typing 3-7, 16 imposes pages 3 through 7 and 16.
    Note: If you have divided the document into sections of page numbers, you should enter section page numbers (such as Sec2:11) in the Range field.
  5. To change settings such as printer’s marks and color output, click Print Settings. Using the options on the left, change settings as needed, and then click OK.
  6. In the Print Booklet dialog box, specify other booklet setup options as appropriate, and then click Print.
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