Glossary of Terms Used in the Printing Industry


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Abbreviation for author alteration.
Accordion fold
In binding, a term used for two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion.
To line up typeset or other graphic material as specified, using a base or vertical line as the reference point.
Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the printer. The change could be copy, specifications or both. Also called AA, author alteration and customer alteration. Alterations are considered an additional cost to the customer usually.
Aqueous Coating
A water base coating applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.
All original copy, including text, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard format for representing digital information in 8-bit pieces.
Author's Alterations (AA's)
Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the printer. The change could be copy, specifications or both. AA's are considered an additional cost to the customer usually.


Backing up
To print the second side of printed sheet. Also, to make a duplicate of a computer file as a precaution against losing the original.
Back Matter
Unnumbered pages located at the back of the book. i.e., order forms, note pages, etc.
(1) Defect in halftone screens or screen tints output by laser printers, imagesetters, or platesetters in which parallel breaks (stair steps) or streaks appear in the dot pattern. (2) Method of packaging printed pieces of paper using rubber or paper bands.
Basis weight
In the United States and Canada, the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the basic size. The word "pound" is abbreviated with the symbol "#." It is important to note that the "basic sheet size" is not the same for all types of paper.
Bar Code
Pattern of vertical lines of varying thickness identifying details of a product, conforming to the Universal Product Code (UPC).
Abbreviation for bold face.
List of publications providing reference material on a particular subject, usually included in the end-matter of a book.
To join pages of a book together by thread, wire, adhesive, or other means; to enclose them in a cover when so specified.
Department within a printing company responsible for collating, folding, trimming, and binding various printing projects.
An image formed (or appearing to be formed) by a rectangular grid of pixels. The computer assigns a value to each pixel, from one bit of information (black or white), to as much as 24 or 30 bits per pixel for full color images. Also used to refer to an image that has a too low resolution or linescreen for the output resolution ("That image looks bitmapped."; line art scanned at 72dpi when it is to be printed at 2540dpi will be very coarsely bitmapped).
Sheet made of rubber that comes against the impression cylinder of a press.
Blanket cylinder
The cylinder via which the inked litho plate transfers the image to the paper. The cylinder is covered with a rubber sheet which prevents wear to the litho plate coming into contact with the paper.
Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.
Blow up
Enlargement, most frequently of a graphic image or photograph.
Blueline proof
Also know as Dylux proof. A now outdated proofing process. This term refers to a proof made from the actual printing plates, so-called because of its blue color. Now a high-quality full color proof is provided. Iit is simply referred to as the "Final proof." This is chance to get one more look at a printing job before it goes to the press. See also Final Proof.
Paper of more than 200gsm.
Bold type
Type that appears darker than the next type of the same typeface. Type with a heavier darker appearance. Most typefaces have a bold face.
Book Block
Folded signatures gathered, but not yet bound.
Book paper
A general term used to define paper for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs. Book paper is divided into uncoated paper (also called offset paper), coated paper (also called enamel paper, gloss paper and slick paper). Coated paper includes various finishes including dull, matte, and glossy.
Sized finished writing paper of 50gsm or more. Can also be used for printing upon.
The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.
(1) A section of text marked off by rules or white space and presented separately from the main text and illustrations. Longer boxed sections in magazines are sometimes referred to as sidebars. (2) A corrugated paper container used to hold product.
Characteristic of paper or ink referring to how much light it reflects.
Large dot preceding text to add emphasis.
Business reply card
Preaddressed card meeting postal regulations for size, caliper, bar coding and prepayment. Also called BRC and reply card.


(coated one side) Cover paper coated on side only; generally used for covers.
(coated two sides) Cover or text paper that has been coated on both sides.
The thickness of sheet of paper or board expressed in microns (millionths of a meter). Normally, paper caliper should not have more than a + or - 5% variance within a sheet. Also the name of the tool used to make the measurement.
Camera-ready copy
Old term used for photographing materials with a camera. Today scanners are used to scan individual pages or covers.
Carbonless Paper
Paper coated with chemicals and dye which will produce copies without carbon paper. Also referred to as NCR paper(No Carbon Required).
Term denoting a book bound with a stiff, or hard, cover. Also called hard back, hard bound or hard covered book.
Native Corel Draw file format. Vector based image file, may also contain embedded bitmap image files. CDR files may be exported, via Corel Draw, into a variety of file formats.
Any letter, numeral, punctuation mark or other alphanumeric symbol.
Clip art
Copyright-free drawings available for purchase for unlimited reproduction. Clip art illustrations are printed on glossy paper or stored on computer disks. They are ready for placement on mechanicals or pages designed on computer screens.
Acronym for the 4-color process colors: cyan, magenta, yellow & black.
Coated Paper
Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper appropriate for newsletters in three major categories of surface shine gloss, dull and matte.
Coil Bind
To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called Spiral bind.
Color Control Bar
Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.
Color proof
A representation of what the final printed piece will look like. Also known as a contract proof.
Color separation
The conversion of a color photograph or drawing into its component spectral colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), with one screened plate produced per color.
Column rule
Light faced vertical rule used to separate columns of type.
Commercial printer
Color printer producing a wide range of products such as posters, calendars, flyers, books, specialty color items.. Commercial printers usually produce high-end color printing.
(1) In photography, the manner in which an image is arranged and framed  to give an overall effect. (2) In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing. (3) In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics, and other elements on the page.
Compressed File
See Zipping
Continuous-tone copy
All photographs and those illustrations having a range of shades not made up of dots, as compared to line copy or halftones. Abbreviated contone.
Contract Proof
see Color Proof
Relationship between the lightest (highlight) and darkest (shadow) areas of an image.
(1) For an editor or typesetter, all written material. (2) For a graphic designer or printer, everything to be printed art, photographs and graphics, as well as words.
Copy editor
Person who checks and corrects a manuscript for spelling, grammar, punctuation, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and conformity to style requirements. Also called line editor.
Ownership of creative work by the writer, photographer or artist who made it or, if work for hire, the organization that paid for it. Copyright protection is for “original works of authorship.” The current length of a registered copyright is 70 years past the death of the author. Mennonite Press provides assistance in getting manuscripts copyrighted, although the author may do this by themselves by contacting the US Copyright Office. There is a fee for copyright registration.
Copyright notice
Statement of copyright ownership that has the word "copyright" or symbol C, the year of publication, and the name of the copyright owner.
Thick paper that protects a publication and advertises its title.
Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also called feathering, outpush, push out and thrust.
Creep Allowance
made electronically, to compensate for creep.
To eliminate portions of an image or photograph or other original that are not required to be printed. Cropping allows the remaining parts of the image to be enlarged to fill the space so the image is more useful, pleasing, or able to fit the layout.
Crop marks
Lines printed showing the dimensions of the final printed page. These marks are used for final trimming. Also called cut marks and tick marks.
Type or art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.
Customer Service Representative
Employee of a printer, who coordinates projects and keeps customers informed. Abbreviated CSR.
also called a caption. The line or lines of text that refer to information identifying a picture or illustration.
Abbreviation for hundredweight using the Roman numeral C=100.
One of the four process colors. Can also be known as process blue.


Sometimes called an "em" dash. A horizontal rule used for punctuation.
To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface. This differs from embossing which is a raised image.
Deckle Edge
Edge of paper left ragged as it comes from the papermaking machine instead of being cleanly cut. Also called feather edge.
A device sensitive to the density of light transmitted or reflected by paper or film. Used to check the accuracy, quality, and consistency of output.
(1) Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink. (2) Regarding color, the relative ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it. (3) Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.
A Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.
Die Cut
To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.
Digital Proofing
Page proofs produced through electronic memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.
Dot Gain
When an ink dot enlarges through absorption on a porous paper. This affects the overall tone of the image as the size of the dot is equivalent to the tone it represents. Also called dot spread and press gain.
Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and platesetters. Abbreviated DPI. Also called dot pitch.
Dots per square inch, A measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.
In the printing arena, to drill a hole in printed matter.
Drop shadow
Screen tint or rule touching an illustration, box or type to give a three-dimensional shadow effect. Also called flat shadow.
Dropped cap
Large capital letter that extends down into the first two or more lines. Used as a design element.
Dry Trap
To print over dry ink, as compared to wet trap.
Direct to Plate
Dull finish
Flat (not glossy) finish or coated paper, slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish, velour finish and velvet finish.
A set of blank pages made up in advance to show the size, shape, form and general style of a piece of printing. Also called mock-up.
Black-and-white photograph reproduced using two different colors, each color to emphasize different tonal values in the original photograph.
Dust Jacket
Printed piece that wraps around a casebound (hard cover) book.


One version of a newsletter, such as the western regional edition.
One part of an image or page. Elements of an image may include subject, background and foreground. Elements of a page may include headlines, body copy and halftones.
Elliptical dot
A type of halftone screen dot with an elliptical rather than circular shape, which sometimes produces better tonal gradations.
Fixed space equal in size to the chosen point size. It gets its name from the letter M which originally was as wide as the type size.
Em dash
Dash used in punctuation the length of one em.
A process performed after printing to stamp a raised (or depressed) image into the surface of paper, using engraved metal embossing dies, extreme pressure, and heat. Embossing styles include blind, deboss and foil-embossed. This differs from debossing which is a lowered image.
Encapsulated PostScript file
see EPS
Fixed space that is half as wide as an em space.
En dash
Dash approximately half the width of an em dash.
End Sheet
Sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also called pastedown or end papers.
Encapsulated PostScript, A file format used to transfer PostScript image information from one program to another. The preferred file format for saving images, as it is resolution independent, as opposed to TIFF. A single page PostScript file that contains grayscale or color information and can be imported into many electronic layout and design applications. EPS files cannot be manipulated, and need to be trapped into the parent program.
Equivalent Weight
While different paper types have different basic sizes, papers can still be compared by using equivalent weight.
Also called bid or quote. A price provided to a customer, based on the specifications outlined on the estimate form. It is normally sent prior to entry of an order and prices may change if the order specifications are not the same as the estimate specifications.
The individual performing or creating the "estimate".
Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
Hotmelt glue used on perfect bound books. Hardens when glue is cooled.
See Ethylene Vinyl Acetate


Edge of a bound publication opposite the spine. Also called foredge. Also, an abbreviation for typeface referring to a family of a general style.
Felt Side
Side of the paper that was not in contact with the Fourdrinier wire during papermaking, as compared to wire side.
Fifth Color
Ink color used in addition to the four needed by four-color process.
File Compression
See Zipping
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
See FTP.
File Zipping
See Zipping
Final Proof
once called a "Blueline", "dylux", or "color key" this is now a digitally generated full color proof.
(1) Surface characteristics of paper. (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding, and all other postpress operations. (3) Coating on printed covers. (Aqueous, UV, plastic lamination.)
Finished size
Size of product after production is complete, as compared to flat size. Also called trim size.
Fixed Costs
Costs that remain the same regardless of how many pieces are printed. Copyrighting, photography and design are fixed costs.
Flat Size
Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.
To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish.
Floppy disk
Once popular and now seldom used, it is recommended that all materials be burned to a CD, pin drive or uploaded using FTP.
Flush left
Type aligning vertically along the left side of the column. Also called left justified and ranged left.
Flush right
Type aligning vertically along the right side of the column. Also called right justified and ranged right.
An inexpensively produced circular used for promotional distribution.
Foil Stamp
The process of applying a thin film of colored foil to paper for decorative purposes.
A bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials.
Fold marks
Lines on a printing plate or press sheet indicating where to fold the final product.
Page number.
Complete assortment of upper- and lowercase characters, numerals, punctuation and other symbols of one typeface.
Information, such as page number or chapter title, that appears at the bottom of every page. Also called running foot.
Size, style, shape, layout or organization of a layout or printed product.
For position only
Refers to inexpensive copies of photos or art used on mechanicals to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction. Abbreviated FPO.
Four-color process
Four basic colors of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), also known as CMYK, which reproduce full color photographs or art.
Front Matter
Pages preceding the text of the book. Sometimes unnumbered or Roman numerals.
FTP File Transfer Protocol.
File Transfer Protocol is a popular and effective way of sending larger files via the internet. It's also a much quicker and more convenient way than sending files as an email attachment. FTP capability can also handle large amounts of information without crashing or giving errors. When a file is prepared for printing it usually ends up large merely because it may contain graphics or design elements. It is a good idea to zip or compress them before uploading. If you are looking for a FTP program, click on some of these popular web sites to find out more. Windows: FileZilla, CuteFTP, WS-FTP  Mac: FileZilla, Fetch, Cyberduck


An oversize page where both sides fold into the gutter in overlapping layers. Used to accommodate maps into books.
Operation of inserting the printed pages, sections or signatures of a book in the correct order for binding.
To group several printing jobs on the same sheet and accomplish a number of tasks with one print run.
Graphics Interchange Format almost always used for web images and rarely appropriate for printing.
Mostly in the book arena, gold leafing the edges of a book.
Gloss finish
Paper with a coating that reflects light well, as compared to dull- or matte-coated paper. Also called art paper, enamel paper and slick paper.
Glossy print
Photography term for a print made on glossy paper.
Typefaces with no serifs and broad even strokes.
Graphics Interchange Format
see gif
Grain direction
Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.
Grain Long Paper
Paper whose fibers run parallel to the long dimension of the sheet. Also called long grain paper.
Grain Short Paper
Paper whose fibers run parallel to the short dimension of the sheet. Also called short grain paper.
Appearance of a photograph or halftone that has been enlarged so much that the pattern of pixels can be seen in the photo.
Graphic arts
The crafts, industries and professions related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.
Graphic design
Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.
Graphic designer
Professional who designs, plans and may coordinate production of a printed piece.
Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages clearer or more interesting.
Gray Balance
Printed cyan, magenta and yellow halftone dots that accurately, reproduce a neutral gray image.
Range of luminance values for evaluating shading through white to black. Also, a term used when referring to a black and white photograph.
A systematic division of a page into areas to enable designers to ensure consistency. The grid acts as a measuring guide and shows text, illustrations and trim sizes.
Gripper Edge
Edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press. Also called feeding edge and leading edge.
The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).
Central blank area between left and right pages.


Hairline Rule
Term referring to very thin line. The thinnest rule that can be printed. Hairline rules do not print well. Half-point rules are strongly recommended.
Thinnest of the strokes in a typeface.
Photograph or illustration that has been converted into dots for reproduction.
Another term for casebound book.
Another term for casebound book.
Hard copy
A proof that is output to paper.
Hard Dots
Halftone dots with no halos or soft edges, as compared to soft dots.
Hard proof
Proof on paper or other substrate, as compared to a soft proof.
Information, such as page number or chapter title, that appears at the top of every page of a book.
Spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bull's eye and fish eye.
Lightest portions of a photograph or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.
House sheet
Paper kept in stock by a printer and suitable for a wide variety of printing jobs.
A specific color such as yellow or green.


Type, illustration or other original as it has been reproduced on computer screen, film, printing plate or paper.
Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film.
Refers to the arrangement of pages on a printed sheet, which when the sheet is finally printed on both sides, folded and trimmed, will place the pages in their correct order.
To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee's name on business cards. Also called surprint.
Postal permit information printed on objects to be mailed and accepted by U.S. Postal Service in place of stamps.
Ink Balance
Relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray
Abbreviation for International Standard Book Number. The ISBN is a controlled, 10- or 13-digit unique identification number allowing publishers, librarians, and book dealers to locate specific titles and maintain their inventories. It is necessary to have an ISBN to offer your book on sites such as and and many others, as well as many retail outlets. Each version of a book paperback, hardcover, second edition, etc., must have a unique ISBN. Acquiring the number can be done at
Abbreviation for International Standard Serial Number issue. A number assigned to a published work and usually found either on the title page or the back of the title page.
Type with sloping letters.


Job Number
A number assigned to a specific printing project in a printing company for use in tracking and historical record keeping.
Job Ticket
Form used by printers to specify production schedule of a job and the materials it needs. Also called docket, production order and work order.
A vibration machine with a slopping platform to even-up stacks of printed materials.
Joint Photographic Experts Group is a joint committee that created the JPEG. A file format for photos it is typically used because of its ability to compress files. (It creates a smaller file than a TIFF file and it is used mainly on the Internet.) Printers prefer TIFF over Jpeg files.
Justified type
Alignment of text along a margin or both margins. This is achieved by adjusting the spacing between the words and characters as necessary so that each line of text finishes at the same point.


Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. Hence the 'K' in CMYK.
A thin border around a picture or box indicating where to place pictures. In digital files, the keylines are often vector objects while photographs are usually bitmapped images. Also called holding lines.
Kilobyte (K, KB)
1024 bytes, a binary 1,000.
Kiss Die Cut
To die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut.
A printing technique that prints overlapping objects without mixing inks. The ink or the underlined element does not print (knocks out) in the area where the objects overlap. Opposite of overprinting.
Kraft Paper
Strong paper used for wrapping and to make grocery bags and large envelopes.


Laid Finish
Finish on bond or text paper on which grids of parallel lines simulate the surface of handmade paper. Laid lines are close together and run against the grain; chain lines are farther apart and run with the grain.
A thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) applied to usually a thick stock (covers, post cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing color, providing a glossy or matte finish.
Local Area Network. A group of connected computers in a relatively small area that share access to printers and other peripheral devices.
Work in which the width used is greater than the height. Also used to indicate the orientation of tables or illustrations which are printed 'sideways'. See also Portrait.
Sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.
Lead or Leading
Space between lines of type expressed as the distance between baselines. Pronounced "ledding" because the term originated with strips of metal (lead) used to separate lines of hot type. Also called interline spacing and line spacing.
One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.
Descriptive matter printed below an illustration, mostly referred to as a cutline or caption. Also an explanation of signs or symbols used in timetables or maps.
Referring to type having sufficient contrast with its background so readers can easily perceive thecharacters, as compared to readable.
Letter fold
Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelop. Also called barrel fold and wrap-around fold.
Letter Paper
In North America, 8 1/2" x 11" sheets. In Europe, A4 sheets.
Relief printing process in which a raised image is inked to produce an impression; the impression is then transferred by placing paper against image and applying pressure. Most letterpresses now days are used for die-cutting.
Letter spacing
Amount of space between all characters. Also called character spacing.
Line copy
Any copy that is solid black with no gradation in tone and is suitable for reproduction without using a halftone screen. Also called line art.
Linen tester
Magnifying glass designed for checking the dot image of a halftone.
Lines per inch
Linear measure of screen ruling expressing how many lines of dots there are per inch in a screen tint, halftone or separation. Abbreviated lpi. Fewer lines per inch are often used for printing on newsprint or low quality paper.
LOC number
Abbreviation for Library of Congress control number. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Having your book in the Library of Congress makes it available to anyone for research or whatever motive they might have. Having your book in the Library of Congress is optional. Mennonite Press can obtain the LOC number as your agent at no additional cost to you. Registration with the LOC is necessary before printing in order to have the number printed in your book. If your book is already formatted, please leave a line on the copyright page “Library of Congress Control Number:”.
Short for logotype. A word or combination of letters set as a single unit. Also used to denote a specially styled company name designed as part of a corporate image.
Loose leaf
- Method of binding which allows the insertion and removal of pages for continuous updating.
Lower case
Small letters in a font of type.


One of the four process colors.
Magnetic ink
Magnetized ink that can be read both by humans and by electronic machines. Used in check printing.
(1) All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup. (2) Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.
A tough brown paper used to produce stationery and wrapping paper.
Manuscript (MS)
Original written or typewritten work of an author submitted for publication.
Non printing areas of page.
Matte finish
Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper, or lamination.
Megabyte (M, MB)
one million bytes.
Metallic ink
Printing inks which produce an effect of gold, silver, bronze or metallic colors.
In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.
Mill order
Paper ordered directly from the manufacturer. This can sometimes cause delays in delivery as the Mill makes this paper as ordered.
Phenomenon of droplets of ink being thrown off the roller train. Also called flying ink.
Undesirable pattern resulting when halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid, interfaces with a halftone dot pattern. This also can happen when scanning a picture that has been printed before.
Paper size (7" x 10") and envelope shape often used for personal stationery.
Monitor calibration
The process of correcting the color settings of a monitor to match selected colors of printed output. This usually requires additional software.
A black and white display with no gray tones.
Monotone (mono)
Printed with a single ink, black or any color.
Single image formed from the assembling of several images.
M Weight
Weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size.


Natural Color
Paper color such as cream or ivory.
Signatures assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered. Also called inset.
Short, usually informal periodical presenting specialized information to a limited audience.
Low quality, absorbent paper used for printing newspapers. Paper made from mainly groundwood pulp and small amounts of chemical pulp; (inexpensive and uncoated).
Nonheatset Web
Web press without a drying oven, thus not able to print on coated paper. Also called cold-set web and open web.


Offset paper
Uncoated stock, available in several surface finishes.
Offset printing
Printing technique that transfer ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from a plate to paper.
Onion Skin
Specific lightweight type (kind) of paper usually used in the past for air mail. Seldom used today (in the typewriter era).
The degree to which a paper will allow the characters, printed on it, “to show through” to the other side.
Not transparent.
Original art
Initial photo or illustration prepared for reproduction.
Outer form
Form (side of a press sheet) containing images for the first and last pages of the folded signature (its outside pages) as compared to inner form.
Out of register
Characteristic of an image not printed in register. Also called misregister.
To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint.
Overrun / Overs
Copies printed in excess of the specified quantity. Overage policy varies in the printing industry. Check with printer for there policy.
A method used in word processing to produce a character not in the typeface by superimposing two separate characters, eg $ using s and l.


One side of a sheet or leaf of paper. One sheet of paper equals two-pages.
Page count
Total number of pages including cover pages.
Page proof
Initial output to proofing printer. The best stage for identifying and correcting mistakes, typos and other problems.
The numbering of pages in a book.
Pantone Matching System
Popular color matching system developed by Pantone Inc. Pantone created special ink colors and the formulas to mix them. see also PMS
Paper covered book also called perfect bound, paperback or softcover.
Paragraph mark
Type symbol used to denote the start of a paragraph.
Parallel fold
A method of folding; For example, two parallel folds will produce six pages out of a sheet of paper.
Portable Document Format, a universal file format developed by Adobe that preserves all the fonts, formatting, graphics and color of any source document. It allows a file to be read through the use of Acrobat Reader regardless of the hardware or software platform on which the file was created.
Perfect Binding
(adhesive binding) An inexpensive bookbinding technique in which the pages are glued rather than sewn, to the cover and used primarily for paperbacks, small manuals, phone books, etc.
Printing press which prints both sides of the paper at one pass through the machine.
Perf Marks
On a "dummy" marking where the perforation is to occur.
A line of small dotted wholes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).
Unit of measure in the printing industry. Anglo-American unit of typographic measure equal to .166 inch (4.128mm). One pica has twelve points. Not to be confused with points referring to paper thickness. (Originally, one pica was approximately 0.166in. Now, in the era of computerization, a pica is 1/6 of an inch.)
Effect of ink being too tacky and lifting fibers out of the paper. Shows up as small white dots on areas of solid color.
Pickup Art
Artwork, used in a previous job, to be incorporated in a current job.
Particles that absorb and reflect light and appear colored to our eyes; the substance that gives ink its color.
Small holes (unwanted) in printed areas caused by a variety of reasons.
The smallest distinct unit of a bitmapped image displayed on a screen.
Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.
Obsolete reference to PANTONE's Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the PANTONE Matching System is PANTONE Colors, not PMS Colors.
Portable Network Graphics - 1st cousin to the .gif and also used mostly for web graphics.
(1) In measuring a paper's caliper, one point equals a 1/1000 or .001 of an inch. Example: 10 pt card = .010" (2) In typography, it is the smallest unit of measurement used principally for designating type size, one point approximating 1/72 of an inch and 12 points equaling one pica.
Polyurethane Reactive (PUR)
Hotmelt glue used on perfect bound books. Hardens with exposure to moisture in paper and atmosphere.
Portable Network Graphics
see png
Upright image or page where the height is greater than the width.
Page description language developed by Adobe Systems Inc. Widely supported by both hardware and software vendors it represents the current "standard" in the market.
Functions performed prior to printing. Also called preparation.
Press Time
(1) Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for make-ready. (2) Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.
Printer Spreads
Mechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads.
Any process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as a film negative or positive, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate.
Printing Plate
Surface carrying an image to be printed. Quick printing uses paper or plastic plates; letterpress, engraving and commercial lithography use metal plates; flexography uses rubber or soft plastic plates. Gravure printing uses a cylinder. The screen printing is also called a plate.
Printing Unit
Assembly of fountain, rollers and cylinders that will print one ink color. Also called color station, deck, ink station, printer, station and tower.
Process colors
see Four Color Process
Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press, and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.
To examine a manuscript or proof for errors in writing or typesetting.
Proofreading marks
Standard set of signs and symbols used in copy preparation and to indicate corrections on proofs. Marks are placed both in the text and in the margin with a line connecting them.
(1) Person or organization that coordinates creation, design, production and distribution of newsletters. (2) Chief executive officer or owner of a publishing company.
See Polyurethane Reactive


Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.
Quality Control
In printing, the process of taking random samples during the run to check the consistency of quality.
Quick Printing
Printing using small sheetfed presses, called duplicators, or digital presses using cut sizes of bond and offset paper.
Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job, thus alternate for estimate. The quoted price is the printer's side of the contract based on specifications from the customer.


Ragged-left/right type
Type whose line beginnings/endings are not aligned vertically.
The process of converting mathematical and digital information (vector commands) into a series of dots by an output device.
Raster Image Processing (RIP)
A process wherein a raster scan technique assembles an electronic page in a bitmapped format on a pixel by pixel basis. Most RIPs operate on PostScript.
Characteristic of printed messages that are easy to read and understand, as compared to legible.
Recycled Paper
New paper made entirely or in part from old paper. Used paper is cooked in chemicals and reduced back to pulp after it is de-inked.
To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.
Register Marks
Cross-hair lines on plates that help keep printing colors in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.
To create a halftone of an image that is already printed as a half-tone; for example, rescreening a photo appearing in a magazine for reprinting in a newsletter. When not done properly, rescreening yields a moire'.
Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, or other medium.
A means of altering artwork or color separations to correct faults or enhance the image.
Reverse out
Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form the image. Also called knockout and liftout. The image "reverses out" of the ink color.
Raster Image File Format is the default format of Fractal Design's ColorStudio program. In most cases, you would not use the RIFF format in a page layout program.
see Raster Image Processing
Abbreviation for Red, Green, Blue. The colors of projected light from a computer monitor. All full-color artwork should be submitted as CMYK to the printer.
The pattern created when all four color halftone screens are placed at the traditional angles.
Line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.


Saddle stitch
To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.
Satin finish
Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.
To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing.
Electronic digitizing device using light sensitivity to translate a picture or typed text into a format which can be understood and stored by a computer.
To convert a continuous-tone image into a halftone or a solid into a screen tint.
see Signature
Security paper
Paper incorporating special features (dyes, watermarks etc) for use on cheques.
Selective Binding
Placing signatures or inserts in magazines or catalogs according to demographic or geographic guidelines.
Self Cover
Usually in the book arena, a publication not having a cover stock. A publication only using text stock throughout.
Self Mailer
A printed item independent of an envelope. A printed item capable of travel in the mailing arena independently.
Undesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they lie in the delivery stack of a press. Also called offset.
Hue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint.
Darkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and highlights.
Single piece of paper.
Sheet Fed Press
Printing press which takes paper previously cut into sheets, as opposed to paper in a continuous roll.
Technique of printing one side of a sheet with one set of plates, then the other side of the sheet with a set of different plates. Also called work and back.
Allowance, made during assembly of pages before printing, to compensate for creep. Creep is the problem; shingling is the solution. Also called stair stepping and progressive margins.
Show through
see Opacity
Brand named of printer. Another name for Final proof.
Side stitch
To bind by stapling through sheets along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also called cleat stitch and side wire.
Printed sheet folded at least once, possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine or other publication. Also known a section.
(1) Compound mixed with paper or fabric to make it stiffer and less able to absorb moisture. (2) Dimensions of printed piece.
A platform support made of wood used to ship materials, usually in boxes which have been wrapped to the skid.
Slip Sheets
Separate sheets (stock) independent from the original run positioned between the "printed run" for a variety of reasons.
Smooth finish
The most level finish offered on offset paper.
Soft Dots
Halftones dots with halos.
Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint.
Soy-based inks
Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus being easier on the environment.
Complete and precisely written description of features of a printing job, such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing quality or binding method. Abbreviated specs. Specifications can include the following:  type specs define typeface, size, line measure, indentations,  headlines, and other features of typography. Printing specs concentrate on press work, such as quantities, ink colors and dot gains, but often include prepress, paper and finishing. Finishing specs tell folding requirements and trim size.
The back or binding edge of a publication connecting the two covers; also called backbone.
Spiral Binding
To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind.
Spot Color
Any premixed ink that is not one of, or a combination of, the four process color inks.
Spot Varnish
Varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood varnish.
(1) Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit. (2) Technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image.
Stock Order
Order for paper that a mill or merchant sends to a printer from inventory at a warehouse, as compared to a mill order.
Phrase in a nameplate that amplifies or supplements information in the newsletter name.
Swatch Book
A book in a variety of forms, indicating specific stock in specific colors in a specific thickness


Tagged Image File Format (TIFF or TIF)
A file format for bitmap images containing grayscale or color information. Printers prefer this over Jpeg files.
Tag line
Alternate term for subtitle.
A guide for page and cover layouts.
Terms and conditions
Specifics of an order for printing that a printer and a customer make part of their contract.
Main portion of type on a page, as opposed to such elements as headlines and captions.
Text paper
Designation for printing papers with textured surfaces such as laid or linen. Some mills also use 'text' to refer to any paper they consider top-of-the-line, whether or not its surface has a texture.
Three-Knife Trimmer
A trimming device with 3-knives, two parallel and one right angle, which trims three sides at once.
Thumbnail sketch
Small rough sketch of a design.
see Tagged Image File Format
Tight register
Subjective term referring to nearly exact register.
Tip In
Usually in the book arena, adding an additional page(s) beyond the normal process (separate insertion).
Title Page
Page at the beginning of a book, usually a right-handed page, stating the title, author and publisher.
(1) To print one ink over another or to print a coating, such as varnish, over an ink. The first liquid traps the second liquid. (2) Prepress technique which allows for variation in registration during the press run. This is done primarily by allowing an overlap between abutting colors.
Trim Size
The size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 5 1/2 x 8 1/2).


Universal Copyright Convention (UCC)
A system to protect unique work from reproducing without knowledge from the originator. To qualify, one must register their work and publish a (c) indicating registration.
Uncoated paper
Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called offset paper.
Quantity of printing delivered that is less than the quantity ordered.
Term to indicate multiple copies of one image printed in one impression on a single sheet. "Two up" or "Three up" means printing the identical piece twice or three times on each sheet.
UV Coating
Liquid laminate applied to covers after they are printed.


Variable costs
Costs of a printing job that change depending on how many pieces are produced, as compared to fixed costs. Costs for paper, printing and binding are examples of variable costs.
Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.
Brand name for high-contrast photographic paper.
Viewing Booth
Small area or room that is set up for proper viewing of press sheets. Also called color booth.
Decorative design or illustration in which the background fades gradually away until it blends into the unprinted paper.
Virgin Paper
Paper made exclusively of pulp from trees or cotton, as compared to recycled paper.
Abbreviation for Volatile Organic Compounds, petroleum substances used as the vehicles for many printing inks.


Washed out
Characteristic of printing where ink appears light or a photograph appear faded.
Wash Up
To clean ink and fountain solutions from rollers, fountains, screens, and other press components.
Unusable paper or paper damaged during normal makeready, printing or bindery operations, as compared to spoilage.
Translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.
(1) Degree of boldness or thickness of a letter or font. (2) Thickness of paper.
Wet Trap
To print ink or varnish over wet ink, as compared to dry trap.
Wire Side
Side of the paper that rests against The Fourdrinier wire during papermaking, as compared to felt side.
Wire stitching
see Saddle or Side Stitching
White space
Area of a printed piece that does not contain images or type. Also called negative space.
(1) In a printed product, a die-cut hole revealing an image on the sheet behind it. (2) On a mechanical, an area that has been marked for placement of a piece of artwork.
Wire-O Binding
Continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding edge of a book.
Work and turn
Method of printing where pages are imposed in one plate. One side is then printed and the sheet is then turned over from side to side and printed from the other edge using the same plate. The finished sheet is then cut to produce two complete copies.
Work and tumble
Method of printing where pages are again imposed together. The sheet is then printed on one side with the sheet being turned or tumbled from head to tail to print the opposite side.
Finely textured paper without visible wire marks.


Compress and group one or more files into one single file or folder. This is useful in reducing file size when transferring files over the Internet.