Manual and Automatic Trapping

When trapping is called for you need to know where and how to accomplish it. In this lesson we are simply providing an overview of the options. If trapping is necessary you have the option of trapping it yourself or leaving that job to your service bureau or printer. Talk with your service provider about their preferences and recommendations for trapping your files.

There are three basics programs available for trapping.

  • Illustration Software.
    In vector-based drawing programs such as Adobe Illustrator you can create simple manual traps by applying outlines (overprinting strokes) to objects or use plug-ins that apply the appropriate trap.
  • Page Layout Software.
    High-end tools such as QuarkXPress, Adobe PageMaker, and Adobe InDesign have built-in trapping.

    Each program may have multiple ways in which trapping is applied.

  • Dedicated Trapping Software.
    Usually used by service bureaus and printers these programs are designed to do nothing but trapping. TrapWise and Trapper are two such programs.

Which program you use or how you set the trap depends on the number of overlapping objects, whether you are overlapping imported images, and the presence of gradient fills. Those are topics for future lessons in trapping.