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Trim Tool Tutorial

Why am I getting a "Trim Size Mismatch" error even though I built my ad to the ad spec?

Let's take a look at the image below.
This ad is built to be 7.5" x 10.5" with a bleed size of 7.75" x 10.75". How do I know this? Easy, I built it to those dimensions, and I've also placed measurement guides off to the sides to tell me, and anyone else who looks at this, the dimensions of the ad.

But lets zoom out a bit look at the whole document:

While the ad content itself may be 7.75" x 10.75" (bleed dimensions), the actual document size that the ad is placed on is 11" x 17". So, while we know that the actual ad is 7.75" x 10.75", the software believes the ad is 11" x 17" due to document size.

Nothing about the image above actually tells the software that this isn't an 11" x 17" ad. Sure, we have our measurement lines around the ad, but to the software, these are no different than any other line or text that could be used as a design element in an ad.

To the software, this is an 11" x 17" ad. Because the software believes an 11" x 17" ad was uploaded to a 7.5" x 10.5" ad spec, it determines that the file is incorrect.

How do I fix this?

If your file has a Trim Size Mismatch Error, and there are no other serious errors in the file, then you should also see the following message:

NOTE: If you do not see the above message, then scroll down through your "Errors" list on the right of the preflight report. There is likely an error listed that will not be corrected by trimming the ad (a low resolution image, white objects set to overprint, a spot color in the file, etc).

Clicking the "Reposition Ad" button, will launch the Trim Tool. Here you will see your ad appear within the ad spec. In many cases, if your original ad was centered in the original document, your ad will appear already centered in the Trim Tool, and all you will need to do is click the "Trim and Save" button.

If your ad was not centered within the original pdf you uploaded, your ad may appear off-center.  In the example below, notice that ad appears to be too high; the top of it is going outside of the ad spec, and the empty white space at the bottom is inside of the ad spec.

If the pointer icon   in the tools on the right is not already highlighted, select it and you will be able to move your ad around within the ad spec (tip: the arrow keys on your keyboard can also be used to nudge the ad into position, and if you need to make very fine adjustments you can enter x,y coordinates in the "Position" fields on the right).

Carefully align your ad within the ad spec (the green box represents the Trim size of the actual ad spec). 
You can use the "Zoom" slider at the top to get a closer look, as well as selecting the hand icon   to move the canvas around without moving the ad.

Once you've finished aligning your ad, you can zoom out, and now see that it is properly placed within the ad spec:

Once you're satisfied with the placement, click the "Trim and Save" button in the upper right of the Trim Tool. Depending on how the publisher site is set up, this will either trim the excess information beyond the bleed of the ad spec, or it will just reset the Trim and Bleed Boxes within the file (I'll explain Trim/Bleed boxes a little further down). Once the trimmed ad finishes processing, you should have the option to approve your file.

What are Trim and Bleed Boxes?

If we take a look at my original ad in InDesign, again, we see the ad placed on an 11" x 17" document.

Whenever a pdf is exported from InDesign, Quark and Illustrator, it is automatically stamped with a Trim Box based on the Document Size of the original file. If you specify a bleed amount in your "Export PDF" settings, it will also stamp a Bleed Box into the file.

The dimensions of the trim/bleed boxes are the only thing that SendMyAd is looking for in the original pdf file when determining the size of the incoming ad.

Anything else in the document, such as hand-drawn crop marks, measurement lines, etc, are no different from objects that could be design elements to the software. The Trim Box is the ONLY thing that exists in a pdf file that the software can rely on to tell it the size of the ad/document. When the Trim Box size of your file does not match the Trim Size of the ad spec the file was uploaded to (regardless of the size of the actual ad content in your file), the system will generate a "Trim Size Mismatch" error.

I built my ad in Photoshop to the size of the bleed dimensions of the ad spec, but I'm still getting a Trim Error?

Since Photoshop is primarily built to be an image editor, it does not stamp a trim or bleed box into into pdfs that it generates. If you upload a pdf that was exported from Photoshop, you will need to use the "Reposition Ad" tool and trim the file in order to stamp a proper trim and bleed box into the file before you can approve the ad.