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Printing Terms


A4 Paper

ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.

Abrasion Resistance

The resistance to scratching on the surface of paper by other paper surfaces or other materials.


The ability of a material to take up moisture.

Accordion Fold

Bindery term, two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion.


The non-colors: black, white and gray.

Acid-Free Paper

Paper made from pulp containing little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper.

Additive Color

Color produced by light falling onto a surface, as compared to subtractive color. The additive primary colors are red, green and blue.


Refers to a manual process in which an air stream is blown onto paper sheets to create a riffling effect that separates the sheets as they are fed to the printing press.

Against the Grain

At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain. See also Grain Direction.


The position of type and/or art materials as they are aligned on a horizontal or vertical line.

Alphabet Length

The measured length (in points) of the lowercase alphabet of a certain size and series of type.


Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator or printer. Also called AA, author alteration and customer alteration.

Anti-Offset Powder

Fine powder lightly sprayed over the printed surface of coated paper as sheets leave a press. Also called dust, offset powder, powder and spray powder.

Antique Finish

Paper with a rough, sized surface used for book and cover stock.

Antique Paper

Roughest finish offered on offset paper.


The white area of text (or illustrations) at the margins, which form a foldout.

Aqueous Coating

A water-based coating applied after printing, either while the paper is still on press (“in line”), or after it’s off press. An aqueous coating usually gives a gloss, dull, or matte finish, and helps prevent the underlying ink from rubbing off. Unlike a UV coating or a varnish, an aqueous coating will accept ink-jet printing, making it a natural choice for jobs that require printing addresses for mass mailings.

Aqueous Plate

Water-soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting.


All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts, etc. that is prepared for reproduction.

ASA Number

A number set by the American Standards Assoc., which is placed on film stock to allow calculation of the length and “F” number of an exposure. See also “F” numbers.


Any part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in “d”, “b” and “h”.

Author’s Alterations (AA’s)

At the proofing stage, changes that the client requests to be made concerning original art provided, usually at additional cost to the client.

Autochrome Paper

Coated papers that are regarded as exceptional for multi-colored printing jobs.


C1S and C2S

Abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides.

Calendar Board

A strong paperboard used for calendars and displays.

Calender Rolls

A series of metal rolls at the end of a paper machine; when the paper is passed between these rolls it increases its smoothness and glossy surface.


To make the surface of paper smooth by pressing it between rollers during manufacturing.


To correct the graduations of color for color input or output devices.


(1) Thickness of paper or other substrate expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimeter (microns) or pages per centimeter (ppc).
(2) Device on a sheetfed press that detects double sheets.

Camera Ready

A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction


Cap Line

An imaginary horizontal line running across the tops of capital letters.

Caps & lower case

Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case.

Carbonless Paper

Paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing.


Selling unit of paper that may weigh anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 pounds (9,090 to 45, 454 kilos), depending on which mill or merchant uses the term. Abbreviated CL.


Selling unit of paper. Can contain anywhere from 500 to 5,000 sheets, depending on sheet size and basis weight.


Covers and spine that, as a unit, enclose the pages of a casebound book.

Case Bind

To bind signatures using glue to a binder board case covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.

Casing In

The process of placing in and adhering a book to its case covers.

Cast-Coated Paper

High gloss coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet.

Catalog Paper

Coated paper rated #4 or #5 with basis weight from 35# to 50# (50 to 75 gsm) commonly used for catalogs and magazines.

Chain Dot

(1) Alternate term for elliptical dot, so called because midtone dots touch at points, so look like links in a chain.
(2) Generic term for any midtone dots whose corners touch.


Deterioration of a printed image caused by ink that absorbs into paper too fast or has long exposure to sun and winds making printed images look dusty. Also called crocking.

Check Copy

Production copy of a publication verified by the customer as printed, finished and bound correctly.


Technique of slightly reducing the size of an image to create a hairline trap or to outline. Also called shrink and skinny.


Strength of a color as compared to how close it seems to neutral gray. Also called depth, intensity, purity and saturation.


Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

Coarse Screen

Halftone screens with ruling of 65, 85 or 100 lines per inch (26, 34 or 40 lines centimeter).

Coated Stock

Paper with an outer layer of coating applied to one or both sides. The coating may be added while the paper is still moving through the papermaking machine, or after it comes off the machine. Coated papers are available in a variety of finishes, like gloss, dull, and matte.

Cold Color

Any color that moves toward the blue side in the color spectrum.

Cold-Set Inks

A variety of inks that are in solid form originally but are melted in a hot press and then solidified when they contact paper.


To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

Collating Marks

Mostly in the book arena, specific marks on the back of signatures indicating exact position in the collating stage.


A printers’ or publishers’ identifying symbol or emblem.

Color Balance

Refers to amounts of process colors that simulate the colors of the original scene or photograph.

Color Bars

Term referring to a color test strip that is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process that allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink dens

Color Blanks

Press sheets printed with photos or illustrations, but without type. Also called shells.

Color Break

In multicolor printing, the point, line or space at which one ink color stops and another begins. Also called break for color.

Color Cast

Unwanted color affecting an entire image or portion of an image.

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 Correct

To adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Color Curves

Instructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colors. Also called HLS and HVS tables.

Color Electronic Prepress System

Computer, scanner, printer and other hardware and software designed for image assembly, color correction, retouching and output onto proofing materials, film or printing plates. Abbreviated CEPS.

Color Gamut

The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device.

Color Matching System

A system of formulated ink colors used for communicating color.

Color Model

Way of categorizing and describing the infinite array of colors found in nature.

Color Separation

(1) Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone color images into four halftone negatives.
(2) The product resulting from color separating and subsequent four-color process printing. Also called separation.

Color Sequence

Order in which inks are printed. Also called laydown sequence and rotation.

Color Shift

Change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing.

Color Strength

A term referring to the relative amount of pigmentation in an ink.

Comb Bind

To bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. Also called plastic bind and GBC.

Commercial Printer

Printer producing a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines. Also called job printer because each job is different.

Commercial Register

Color registration measured within plus or minus one row of dots.

Composite Proof

Proof of color separations in position with graphics and type. Also called final proof, imposition proof and stripping proof.

Condensed Type

A narrow, elongated typeface.


To keep paper in the pressroom for a few hours or days before printing so that its moisture level and temperature equal that in the pressroom.

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.


The degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.


Business that makes products such as boxes, bags, envelopes and displays.


All furnished material or disc used in the production of a printed product.

Corner Marks

Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators.

Cotton Paper

Paper with a minimum cotton fiber content of 25%, and a maximum fiber content of 100%. When fiber other than cotton is used, the balance comes from wood pulp. Cotton pulp is made from rags or clippings from textile mills, raw cotton, and cotton linters. Cotton papers are primarily used as writing papers. Also known as Rag Paper

Cover Stock

A term describing a general type of paper used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.


Extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is expressed as light, medium or heavy.


Coarse cloth embedded in the glue along the spine of a book to increase strength of binding. Also called gauze, mull and scrim.

Crash Number

Numbering paper by pressing an image on the first sheet of an NCR set, which is transferred to all parts of the printed set.


Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages.


To cut off parts of a picture or image.

Crop Marks

Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.


Marks of fine lines, which intersect to indicate accurate alignment of art elements.


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.


To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.


A term used to describe the differences of either side of a sheet relative to coatings, absorbency etc.; the concave side is the curl side.

Customer Service Representative

Employee of a printer, service bureau, separator or other business who coordinates projects and keeps customers informed. Abbreviated CSR.

Cut Sizes

Writing or business papers that are cut to a finished size of 8.5″x11″, 8.5″x14″, or 11″x17″. Cut-size papers are usually packed in reams of 500 sheets before leaving the mill.

Cutting Die

Usually a custom ordered item to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.

Cutting Machine

A machine that cuts stacks of paper to desired sizes. The machine can also be used in scoring or creasing.


Abbreviation for hundredweight using the Roman numeral C=100.


One of four process colors. Known as process blue.

Cylinder Gap

The gap in the cylinders of a press where the grippers or blanket clamps are housed.


Eggshell Finish

The finish of paper surface that resembles an eggshell achieved by omitting the calendar process. See also calendar rolls.

Electronic Image Assembly

Assembly of a composite image from portions of other images and/or other page elements using a computer.

Electronic Proof

A process of generating a prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives; the paper is passed through the electrically charged pigmented toners, which adhere electrostatically, resulting in the finished proof.

Elemental Chlorine Free

Abbreviated ECF Paper processed without elemental chlorine but with a chlorine derivative such as chlorine dioxide. Not to be confused with Totally Chlorine Free.

Elliptical Dot

Halftone screens in which the dots are actually elongated to produce improved middle tones.


A unit of measurement equaling 12 points or 4.5mm.


To mold and reshape paper by the use of special metal dies and heat, counter dies and pressure, to produce a raised image on the paper surface.


A term that describes a glossy coating on paper.

Encapsulated PostScript file

Computer file containing both images and PostScript commands. Abbreviated EPS file.

End Sheet

Sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also called pastedown or end paper.


Printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface.


Abbreviation for envelope.


Encapsulated PostScript, a known file format usually used to transfer postscript information from one program to another.

Equivalent Paper

Paper that is not the brand specified, but looks, prints and may cost the same. Also called comparable stock.


Price that states what a job will probably cost. Also called bid, quotation and tender.


The individual performing or creating the “estimate.”


A patented method of binding perfect bound books so they will open and lay flatter.

Even Smalls

The use of smaller sized capitals at the beginning of a sentence without the use of larger sized caps.

Expanded Type

Type with width greater than normal producing a rectangular effect.


A white pigment added to a colored pigment to reduce its intensity and improve its working qualities.



(1) To halftone or separate more than one image in only one exposure. (2) To reproduce two or more different printed products simultaneously on one sheet of paper during one press run. Also called combination run.

Gate Fold

A sheet that folds where both sides fold toward the gutter in overlapping layers.


Signatures assembled next to each other in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to nested. Also called stacked.


Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence; See also collate.


Stages of reproduction from original copy. A first generation reproduction yields the best quality.

Ghost Bars

A quality control method used to reduce ghosted image created by heat or chemical contamination.

Ghost Halftone

Normal halftone whose density has been reduced to produce a very faint image.


(1) Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Chemical ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image from the front of one sheet to the back of another sheet.


Mostly in the book arena, gold leafing the edges of a book.


A strong transparent paper.


Term to describe high light reflection on various objects in the printing industry (e.g., paper, ink, laminates, UV coating, varnish).

Gloss Ink

Quick drying oil-based inks with low penetration qualities used on coated stock.


General term used to distinguish between or among printing papers, but whose specific meaning depends on context. Grade can refer to the category, class, rating, finish or brand of paper.

Graduated Screen Tint

Screen tint that changes densities gradually and smoothly, not in distinct steps. Also called degrade, gradient, ramped screen and vignette.


The direction in which the paper fiber lie.

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 and narrow web paper.

Grain Short Paper

Paper whose fibers run parallel to the short dimension of the sheet. Also called short grain paper and wide web paper.

Grained Paper

A paper embossed to resemble various textures, such as leather, alligator, wood, etc.


Basis weight of paper in grams per square meter (gsm).


Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting. Photographs or illustrations are considered graphics.

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.

Gray Balance

Printed cyan, magenta and yellow halftone dots that accurately reproduce a neutral gray image.

Gray Component Replacement

Technique of replacing gray tones in the yellow, cyan and magenta films, made while color separating, with black ink. Abbreviated GCR. Also called achromatic color removal.

Gray Levels

Number of distinct gray tones that can be reproduced by a computer.

Gray Scale

Strip of gray values ranging from white to black. Used by process camera and scanner operators to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called step wedge.

Grind Edge

Alternate term for binding edge when referring to perfect bound products.


Approximately 1/8 inch (3 mm) along the spine that is ground off gathered signatures before perfect binding.


A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the various stages of the printing process.

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.

Groundwood Paper

Newsprint and other inexpensive paper made from pulp created when wood chips are ground mechanically rather than refined chemically.


The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).


The blank space or margin between the type page and the binding of a book.



A vector-based drawing program used on both Mac and PCs.

Image Area

The actual area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage,


Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film.


The correct sequential arrangement of pages that are to be printed, along with all the margins in proper alignment, before producing the plates for printing.


(1) Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit. (2) Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press.

Impression Cylinder

Cylinder, on a press, that pushes paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image. Also called impression roller.


To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards. Also called surprint.

In-Plant Printer

Department of an agency, business or association that does printing for a parent organization. Also called captive printer and in-house printer.

Index Bristol

A relatively thick paper stock; basis size—25 1/2 x 30 1/2.


Postal information place on a printed product.

Ink Balance

Relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray

Ink Fountain

Reservoir, on a printing press, that holds ink.

Ink Holdout

Characteristic of paper that prevents it from absorbing ink, thus allowing ink to dry on the surface of the paper. Also called holdout.

Ink Jet Printing

Method of printing by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Also called jet printing.

Ink Setting

The inertial resistance to flow that occurs to ink as soon as it is printed.


A device used to measure the tack of ink.

Inner Form

Form (side of the press sheet) whose images all appear inside the folded signature, as compared to outer form.


A piece of printed material that is prepared for the purpose of being inserted into another piece of printed material, such as a magazine.


Connection between computers, printers, or any network.


Printed pages loosely inserted in a publication.

International Color Consortium

Abbreviated ICC, a group of companies chartered to develop, implement, and promote cross-platform standards so that devices can exchange color information without ambiguity.

Iridescent Paper

A coated stock finished in mother-of-pearl.


A number assigned to a published work and usually found either on the title page or the back of the title page. Considered an International Standard Book Number.


Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward.



Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. Hence the ‘K’ in CMYK.


The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.


(1) The screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press. (2) Alternate term for the color black, as in ‘key plate�.

Key Plate

The printing plate that is used as a guide for the other plates in the color printing process; it usually has the most detail.


The use of symbols, usually letters, to code copy that will appear on a dummy.


Lines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape and size of elements including halftones, illustrations, etc.

Kiss Die Cut

To die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut.

Kiss Impression

Lightest possible impression that will transfer ink to a Substrate.

Knock Out

To mask out an image.

Kraft Paper

A coarse unbleached paper used for printing and industrial products.


M Weight

The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

Machine Coated

Paper that has had a coating applied to either one or two of its sides during the papermaking process.

Machine Direction

An alternate term for grain direction.

Machine Finish

A paper finish that results from the interaction of the paper with the Fourdrinier process as opposed to post machine embossing. See also Fourdrinier.

Machine Glazed (MG)

Paper holding a high-gloss finish only on one side.


Process red, one of the basic colors in process color.

Magnetic Black

Black pigments containing black iron oxides, used for magnetic ink character recognition.


(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.

Making Order

Order for paper that a mill makes to the customer’s specifications, as compared to a mill order or stock order.

Male Die

Die that applies pressure during embossing or debossing. Also called force card.

Manuscript (MS)

An author’s original form of work (hand written, typed or on disk) submitted for publication.


Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.


Instructions written usually on a “dummy.”

Matte Finish

Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.


Camera-ready assembly of type, graphic and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an artboard, board or paste-up.

Mechanical Bind

To bind using a comb, coil, ring binder, post or any other technique not requiring gluing, sewing or stitching.

Metallic Ink

Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.

Metallic Paper

Paper coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal.

Metropolitan Service Area

A group of ZIP codes usually in close proximity defining a large metropolitan area (e.g. New York City or Los Angeles).


Instrument used to measure the thickness of different papers.


In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.

Mil 1/1000 Inch

The thickness of plastic films as printing substrates are expressed in mils.


Phenomenon of droplets of ink being thrown off the roller train. Also called flying ink.

Mock Up

A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.


An undesirable halftone pattern produced by the incorrect angles of overprinting halftone screens.


Paper size (7′ x 10′) and envelope shape often used for personal stationery.


A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption.

Multicolor Printing

Printing in more than one ink color (but not four-color process). Also called polychrome printing.



A term used to describe printed books, catalogs, etc., that are bound on their shorter side; also referred to as album bound.


The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket that receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.

Offset Paper

A term for uncoated book paper.

Offset Printing

Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.


Using an intermediate surface used to transfer ink. Also, an unpleasant happening when the images of freshly printed sheets transfer images to each other.

Offshore Paper

Any papers made outside the US and Canada.

Ok Sheet

Final approved color inking sheet before production begins.


A light bond paper used for typing and used with carbon paper because of its thinness.


(1) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. (2) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.


(1) Not transparent. (2) To cover flaws in negative with tape or opaquing paint. Also called block out and spot.

Opaque Ink

Ink that completely covers any ink under itself.

Open Prepress Interface

Hardware and software that link desktop publishing systems with color electronic prepress systems. (OPI)

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.

Outline Halftone

Halftone in which background has been removed or replaced to isolate or silhouette the main image. Also called knockout halftone and silhouette halftone.

Over Run

Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry. Advance questions avoid blind knowledge.

Overhang Cover

A cover of a book that extends over the trimmed signatures it contains.


To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.



Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job.

Quark Xpress

Software program for publishing and page layout.


(1) Sheet folded twice, making pages one-fourth the size of the original sheet. A quarto makes an 8-page signature. (2) Book made from quarto sheets, traditionally measuring about 9′ x 12′.

Quick Printing

Printing using small sheetfed presses, called duplicators, using cut sizes of bond and offset paper.


Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job.


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.

Sans Serif Font

Type font without short finishing strokes projecting from the ends of its characters, i.e.: Arial or Helvetica.

Satin Finish

Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.


The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.


Device used to make color separations, halftones, duo tones and tri tones. Also a device used to scan art, pictures or drawings in desktop publishing.


To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease.

Screen Angles

Angles at which screens intersect with the horizontal line of the press sheet. The common screen angles for separations are black 45 degree, magenta 75 degree, yellow 90 degree and cyan 105 degree.

Screen Density

Refers to the percentage of ink coverage that a screen tint allows to print. Also called screen percentage.

Screen Printing

Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

Screen Ruling

A measurement equaling the number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.

Screen Tint

Color created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone.

Screened Print

A photo print made by using a halftone negative; also called a velox.


Unwanted ink marks in the non-image area.

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.

Separated Art

Art with elements that print in the base color on one surface and elements that print in other colors on other surfaces. Also called preseparated art.


Usually in the four-color process arena, separate film holding images of one specific color per piece of film. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Can also separate specific PMS colors through film.

Serif Font

Type font with short finishing strokes projecting from the ends of its characters, i.e.: Times or Palatino.


Computer that provides service for a website or network, containing all files and enabling them to be accessed from the web or network computers.


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 high-lights.


To decrease the dot size of the halftone, which in turn decreases the color strength.

Sheetfed Press

Press that prints sheets of paper, as compared to a web press.


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 paste-up or stripping to compensate for creep. Also called stair stepping.

Short Ink

Ink that is smooth and creamy but does not flow freely.

Show Through

A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

Side Guide

The mechanical register unit on a printing press that positions a sheet from the side.

Side Stitch

To bind by stapling through sheets along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also called cleat stitch and side wire.


A sheet of printed pages which when folded becomes part or whole of a book or publication.

Silhouette Halftone

A halftone with the background screen removed.


Compound mixed with paper or fabric to make it stiffer and less able to absorb moisture.


A pallet used for a pile of cut sheets.

Slip Sheets

Separate sheets (stock) independent from the original run positioned between the “printed run” for a variety of reasons.


A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.


That quality of paper defined by its levelness that allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.


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 are easier on the environment.


Complete and precise written description of features of a printing job such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing or binding method. Abbreviated specs.

Specular Highlight

Highlight area with no printable dots, thus no detail, as compared to a diffuse highlight. Also called catchlight and dropout highlight.


The binding edge of a book or publication.

Spiral Bind

To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called a coil bind.

Split Fountain

Technique of putting ink colors next to each other in the same ink fountain and printing them off the same plate. Split fountains keep edges of colors distinct, as compared to rainbow fountains that blend edges.

Split Run

(1) Different images, such as advertisements, printed in different editions of a publication. (2) Printing of a book that has some copies bound one way and other copies bound another way.


Paper that, due to mistakes or accidents, must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the customer, as compared to waste.

Spot Color

One ink applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.

Spot Varnish

Varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.


(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. Also called fatty.


The quality of paper to maintain its original size when it undergoes pressure and moisture changes.

Stagger Cutting

A process of cutting many sheets from the same parent sheet in which the smaller sheets have different grain directions; also called dutch or bastard cutting.


Term for foil stamping.

Standard Viewing Conditions

Background of 60 percent neutral gray and light that measures 5000 degrees Kelvin the color of daylight on a bright day. Also called lighting standards.

Star Target

The Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, GATF, has established various quality control images; the star target appears along with the color bar and helps the pressman detect any irregularity in the ink spread. See also color bars.

Static Neutralizer

A device on a printing press that minimizes the amount of static buildup on paper as it passes through the press.

Statistical Process Control

Method used by printers to ensure quality and delivery times specified by customers. Abbreviated SPC.

Step and Repeat

A process of generating multiple exposures by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.


A proof mark meaning let the original copy stand.

Stochastic Screening

Method that uses a pseudo-random dot size or frequency to create a half-toned image. Does not have the visual regularity in dot pattern found in traditional screening.


A term for unprinted paper or material to be printed.

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.

Stocking Paper

Popular sizes, weights and colors of papers available for prompt delivery from a merchant’s warehouse.

String Score

Score created by pressing a string against paper, as compared to scoring using a metal edge.

Stumping (Blocking)

In the book arena, hot die, foil or other means in creating an image on a case bound book.

Substance Weight

Alternate term for basis weight, usually referring to bond papers. Also called sub weight.


Any surface or material on which printing is done.

Subtractive Color

Color produced by light reflected from a surface, as compared to additive. Subtractive color includes hues in color photos and colors created by inks on paper.

Subtractive Primary Color

Yellow, magenta and cyan. In the graphic arts, these are known as process colors because, along with black, they are the inks colors used in color-process printing.

Supercalendered Paper

Paper calendered using alternating chrome and fiber rollers to produce a smooth, thin sheet. Abbreviated SC paper.


Taking an already printed matter and re-printing again on the same.

Synthetic Papers

Any petroleum-based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength.



Papers that are not smoothed by going through the calendering process.

Uncoated Paper

Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called offset paper.

Under Run

Production of fewer copies than ordered. See over run.

Undercolor Addition

Technique of making color separations that increases the amount of cyan, magenta or yellow ink in shadow areas. Abbreviated UCA.

Undercolor Removal

Technique of making color separations such that the amount of cyan, magenta and yellow ink is reduced in midtone and shadow areas while the amount of black is increased. Abbreviated UCR.

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.

Unsharp Masking

Technique of adjusting dot size to make a halftone or separation appear sharper (in better focus) than the original photo or the first proof. Also called edge enhancement and peaking.


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.


A term given to books bound on the longer dimension.

UV Coating

Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.



Removing printing ink from a press, washing the rollers and blanket. Certain ink colors require multiple washups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.


A term for planned spoilage.


A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. See also dandy roll.

Wet Trap

To print ink or varnish over wet ink, as compared to dry trap.


A single word or two left at the end of a paragraph, or a part of a sentence ending a paragraph, which loops over to the next page and stands alone. Also, the last sentence of a paragraph, which contains only one or two short words.


(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 Side

Side of the paper that rests against the Fourdrinier wire during papermaking, as compared to felt side.


A bindery trade name for mechanical binding using double loops of wire through a hole.

With the Grain

Parallel to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to against the grain. See also Grain Direction.

Woodfree Paper

Made with chemical pulp only. Paper usually classified as calendered or supercalendered.

Work and Tumble

Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from the gripper to the tail to print the second side using the same side guide and plate for the second side.

Work and Turn

Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from left to right using the same side guides and plate for the second side.


Paper manufactured without visible wire marks, usually a fine textured paper.


The unevenly dried surface of printed inks.

Writing Paper

Another name for bond paper.



Yellow is one of the 4 colors used in 4-color (CMYK) printing and inkjet printers. Yellow is one of printers primaries, the others being Cyan and Magenta.


Back Lining

The fixing of a material, either paper or cloth, to the back of a book before it is bound. See also case binding.

Back Margin

A term referring to the margin that lies closest to the back of the book.

Back Step Collation

The collation of book signatures according to reference marks that are printed on the back fold of each section.

Back to Back

Print applied to both sides of a sheet of paper.

Back Up

To print on the second side of a sheet already printed on one side.


That portion of the binding, which connects the front of the book with the back of the book; also called “back”.

Backstep Marks

Marks printed on signatures that indicate where the final fold will occur. When gathering and initial folding is completed, these marks appear as a stepped sequence.


In an illustration, any line that encircles copy or dialogue.


Method of packaging printed pieces of paper using rubber or paper bands.


The primary headline usually spanning the entire width of a page.

Barrier Coat

A coating that is applied onto the non-printing side of paper to add to the opacity of that paper. See also opacity.


A three-dimensional impression is which the image stands just slightly out from the flat background.


The support onto which printing plates are fixed.

Base Line

The imaginary horizontal line upon which stands capitals, lowercase letters, punctuation points, etc.

Basic Size

The standard size of sheets of paper used to calculate basis weight in the United States and Canada.

Basis Weight

Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.


The steel flat table of a cylinder printing press upon which the type sits during the printing process.


Usually in the book arena, but not exclusively, the joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.

Binder’s Board

A heavy paperboard with a cloth covering that is used for hardback binding of books.


Department within a printing company responsible for collating, folding & trimming printing projects.

Bitmapped Image

The standard graphics format for Windows images wherein A digital image is represented as a bitmap a grid of dots. Usually carries the file extension .BMP.


The rubber surfaced material, which is secured onto a cylinder onto which the image is transferred from the plate and then again transferred to paper.

Blanket to Blanket

A printing method in which there are two blanket cylinders through which a sheet of paper is passed and printed on both sides.


Any copy, art illustration, photo, color, etc. that extends past the edge of the printed page.

Blind Emboss

A design made without using inks or metal foils.

Blind Folio

A page that is counted in the overall counting of pages, but the number is not printed on the page.

Blind Image

Image debossed, embossed or stamped, but not printed with ink or foil.


Bubbling or blistering effect caused by too much moisture in the paper, such that the water actually boils within the paper.


An enlargement, usually used with graphic images or photographs.


A description or commentary of an author or book content positioned on the book jacket.


Alternate term for mechanical.

Board Paper

General term for paper over 110# index, 80# cover or 200 gsm that is commonly used for products such as file folders, displays and post cards. Also called paperboard.


(1) The main text of work not including the headlines.
(2) The main shank or portion of the letter characters other than the ascenders and descenders.
(3) A term used to define the thickness or viscosity of printer’s ink.

Body Size

The point size of a particular type character.

Boiler Plate

Blocks of repetitive type used and copied over and over again.


Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it more conspicuous. Abbreviation: BF


The edges of folded sheets of paper, which are trimmed off in the final stages of production.

Bond paper

Category of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying. Also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing paper. Has a standard size of 17 x 22 inches.


A printed work that contains more than 64 pages.

Book Block

A term given the unfinished stage of bookmaking when the pages are folded, gathered and stitched-in but not yet cover bound.

Book Paper

Category of paper suitable for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs.


The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.


(1) A repeating registration problem in the printing stage of production.
(2)Customer unhappy with the results of a printing project and refuses to accept the project.


A character ” }” used to group lines or phrases.


The brilliance or reflectance of paper.

Bristol Board

A board paper of various thickness�; having a smooth finish and used for printing and drawing.

Bristol Paper

General term referring to paper 6 points or thicker with basis weight between 90# and 200# (200-500 gsm). Used for products such as index cards, file folders and displays.

Broad Fold

A term given to the fold whereby paper is folded with the short side running with the grain.


The term used to indicate work printed on one of a large sheet of paper.


A heavily embossed paper.


A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

Broken Carton

Carton of paper from which some of the sheets have been sold. Also called less carton.

Buckle Folder

A portion of the binding machinery with rollers that fold the paper.


A coarse sized cloth used in the bookbinding process.

Build a Color

To overlap two or more screen tints creating a new color. Such an overlap is called a build or color build.


Thickness of paper relative to its basic weight.

Bulk Pack

Boxing printed product without wrapping or banding.


A dot or similar marking to emphasize text.

Burst Perfect Bind

A binding technique that entails nicking the backfold in short lengths during the folding process, which allows glue to reach each individual leaf and create a strong bond.


Joining images without overlapping.

Butt Register

Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared to lap register. Also called butt fit and kiss register.



An essential part of the printing process whereby cloth-covered rubber rollers distribute the dampening solution to the plate.

Dandy Roll

Wire mesh cylinder over which paper passes early in the paper-making process, when it is still 90% water. It imparts surface textures on the paper such as wove or laid. Also the stage at which the watermark is put onto the paper.

Data Compression

Technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file to reduce the disk space the file requires and allows it to be processed or transmitted more quickly.


To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface. Also called tool.

Deckle Edge

Edge of paper left ragged as it comes from the papermaking machine instead of being cleanly cut. Also called feather edge.


An instruction given to remove an element from a layout.


A term that describes a standard sized printing paper measuring 17.5 x 22.5 in.


An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of color.


(1) The lay of paper fibers relative to tightness or looseness that affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper. (2) The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer.

Density Range

Difference between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy range and tonal range.

Desktop Publishing

Technique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate

Device Independent Colors

Hules identified by wavelength or by their place in systems such as developed by CIE. ‘Device independent’ means a color can be described and specified without regard to whether it is reproduced using ink, projected light, photographic chemistry or any other medium


An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

Die Cutting

A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes (i.e. labels, boxes, image shapes) either post press or in line.

Digital Dot

Dot created by a computer and printed out by a laser printer or imagesetter. Digital dots are uniform in size, as compared to halftone dots that vary in size.

Digital Proof

Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.

Digital Proofing

Page proofs produced through electronic memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.

Dimensional Stability

The qualities of paper to stabilize its original size when undergoing pressure or exposed to moisture.


A fine paper made specifically for the printing of diplomas, certificates and documents.

Direct Digital Color Proof

Color proof made by a laser, ink jet printer or other computer-controlled device without needing to make separation films first. Abbreviated DDCP.

Direct Digital Printing

Commercial quality printing where electronic file sources are sent directly to the output device rather than through analog steps such as hard-copy original or film imagesetting.

Direct-To-Plate Printing

Process where imaging is sent directly to the plate rather than using an intermediate step such as a film negative.

Direct Screen Halftone

A color separation process using a halftone negative made by direct contact with the halftone screen.

Display Type

Any type that stands out from the rest of the type on a page that attracts attention of the reader.

Distribution Rollers

In the printing process, the rubber coated rollers responsible for the distribution of ink from the fountain to the ink drum.

Dog Ear

A letter fold at the side of one of the creases, an indentation occurs.


The smallest individual element of a halftone.

Dot Gain

Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread, and press gain.

Dot Size

Relative size of halftone dots as compared to dots of the screen ruling being used. There is no unit of measurement to express dot size. Dots are too large, too small or correct only in comparison to what the viewer finds attractive.


Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and monitors. Abbreviated DPI. Also called dot pitch.

Double Black Duotone

Duotone printed from two halftones, one shot for highlights and the other shot for midtones and shadows.

Double Bump

To print a single image twice so it has two layers of ink.

Double Density

A method of recording electronically (disk, CD, floppy) using a modified frequency to allow more data storage.

Double Dot Halftone

Halftone double burned onto one plate from two halftones, one shot for shadow, the second shot for midtones and highlights.


Printing defect appearing as blurring or shadowing of the image. Doubling be caused by problems with paper, cylinder alignment, blanket or dirty cylinders.


Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.


Sample of inks specified for a job applied to the substrate specified for a job. Also called pulldown.


A term that describes any additives to ink which accelerates the drying process.


The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

Drop Shadow

A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

Dropout Halftone

Halftone in which contrast has been increased by eliminating dots from highlights.

Dry Back

Phenomenon of printed ink colors becoming less dense as the ink dries.

Dry mount

Pasting with heat sensitive adhesives.

Dry Trap

To print over dry ink, as compared to wet trap.

Dual-Purpose Bond Paper

Bond paper suitable for printing by either lithography (offset) or xerography (photocopy). Abbreviated DP bond paper.

Ductor Roller

The roller between the inking and the dampening rollers.

Dull Finish

Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish, velour finish and velvet finish.


Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.


A halftone picture made up of two printed colors.

Duplex Paper

Thick paper made by pasting together two thinner sheets, usually of different colors. Also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper.

Dye Based Ink

Any ink that acquires its color by the use of aniline pigments or dyes.



A term in the binding process referring to folding and gathering.


Edge of a bound publication opposite the spine. Also called foredge. Also, an abbreviation for typeface referring to a family of a general style.

Facsimile Transmission

The process of converting graphic images into electronic signals.

Fake Duotone

Halftone of one ink color printed over screen tint of a second ink color.

Fan Fold

Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.

Fast Color Inks

Inks with colors that retain their density and resist fading as the product is used.

Fat Face

Type that is quite varied in its use of very thin and very wide strokes.

Feeding Unit

Component of a printing press that moves paper into the register unit.


A cloth conveyor belt that receives papers from the Fourdrinier wire and delivers it to the drier.

Felt Finish

Soft woven pattern in text paper.

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.

Filling In

A fault in printing where the ink fills in the fine line or halftone dot areas.

Film Coat

Any thinly coated paper stock. Also called washout.

Film Gauge

Thickness of film. The most common gauge for graphic arts film is 0.004 inch (0.1 mm).

Film Laminate

Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss.

Fine Papers

Papers made specifically for writing or commercial printing, as compared to coarse papers and industrial papers. Also called cultural papers and graphic papers.

Fine Screen

Screen with ruling of 150 lines per inch (80 lines per centimeter) or more.


(1) Surface characteristics of paper. (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

Finished Size

Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.


The registration of items within a given page.

Fixed Costs

Costs that remain the same regardless of how many pieces are printed such as typesetting and design.

Flash Point

A term given to the lowest temperature of ignitibility of vapors given off by a substance.

Flat Size

Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.

Flock Paper

Paper that is patterned by sizing, and than coated with powders of wool or cotton (flock).


To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish. Flooding with ink is also called painting the sheet.


The reverse side of an image.

Flush Cover

Cover trimmed to the same size as inside pages, as compared to overhang cover. Also called cut flush

Flushed Pigment

The results of combining a wet ink pigment with a varnish and having the wet pigment mix or transfer over to the varnish.


Leaf, at the front and back of a casebound book that is the one side of the end paper not glued to the case.

Fogging Back

Used in making type more legible by lowering density of an image, while allowing the image to show through.


Metallic or pigmented coatings on plastic sheets or rolls used in foil stamping and foil embossing.

Foil Emboss

To foil stamp and emboss an image. Also called heat stamp.

Foil Stamp

Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.


Papers that have a surface resembling metal.

Fold Marks

With printed matter, markings indicating where a fold is to occur, usually located at the top edges.


A bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials.


Gatefold sheet bound into a publication, often used for a map or chart. Also called gatefold and pullout.


The actual page number in a publication.


The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

For Position Only

Refers to inexpensive copies of photos or art used on mechanical to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction. Abbreviated FPO.


Each side of a signature. Also spelled for me.

Form Roller(s)

Roller(s) that come in contact with the printing plate, bringing it ink or water.


Size, style, shape, or organization of a layout or printed product.


In the case book arena, the binding process which involves folding, rounding, backing, headbanding and reinforcing.


Trough or container, on a printing press, that holds fluids such as ink, varnish or water. Also called duct.

Fountain Solution

Mixture of water and chemicals that dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering to the nonimage area. Also called dampener solution.

Four-Color Process Printing

Technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images.


A machine with a copper wire screen that receives the pulp slurry in the paper making process; it will become the final paper sheet.

Free Sheet

Paper made from cooked wood fibers mixed with chemicals and washed of impurities, as compared to groundwood paper. Also called woodfree paper.

French Fold

A printed sheet, printed one side only, folded with two right angle folds to form a four page uncut section.

Fugitive Inks

Colors that lose tone and permanency when exposed to light.

Full-Range Halftone

Halftone ranging from 0 percent coverage in its highlights to 100 percent coverage in its shadows.

Full-Scale Black

Black separation made to have dots throughout the entire tonal range of the image, as compared to half-scale black and skeleton black.


The slurry mixture of fibers, water, chemicals and pigments that is delivered to the Fourdrinier machine in the paper making process.


Hairline (Rule)

Subjective term referring to very small space, thin line or close register. The meaning depends on who is using the term and in what circumstances.

Hairline Register

Printing registration that lies within the range of plus or minus one half row of dots. It is the thinnest of the standard printers’ rules.

Half-Scale Black

Black separation made to have dots only in the shadows and midtones, as compared to full-scale black and skeleton black.


(1) To photograph or scan a continuous tone image to convert the image into halftone dots. (2) A photograph or continuous-tone illustration that has been halftoned and appears on film, paper, printing plate or the final printed product.

Halftone Screen

Piece of film or glass containing a grid of lines that breaks light into dots. Also called contact screen and screen.

Hard Copy

The output of a computer printer, or typed text sent for typesetting.

Hard Mechanical

Mechanical consisting of paper and/or acetate and made using paste-up techniques, as compared to electronic mechanical.

Head Margin

That space which lies between the top of the printed copy and the trimmed edge.


At the top of a page, the margin.


Imposition with heads (tops) of pages facing tails (bottoms) of other pages.


A term used to describe the effect that occurs when a spec of dust or debris (dried ink) adheres to the printing plate and creates a spot or imperfection in the printing.

High Bulk Paper

Paper stock that is comparatively thick in relation to its basis weight.

High Key Halftone

A halftone that is made utilizing only the highlight tones down through the middle tones.

High Key Photo

Photo whose most important details appear in the highlights.

High-Fidelity Color

Color reproduced using six, eight or twelve separations, as compared to four-color process.


Lightest portions of a photograph or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.

Hinged Cover

Perfect bound cover scored 1/8 inch (3mm) from the spine so it folds at the hinge instead of, along the edge of the spine.


Abbreviation for hue, lightness, saturation, one of the color-control options often found in software, for design and page assembly. Also called HVS.


That space on the spine of a case-bound book between the block of the book and the case binding.

Hot Melt

An adhesive used in the binding process, which requires heat for application.

Hot Spot

Printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete draw-down during contact platemaking, leaving an area of weak ink coverage or visible dot gain.

House Sheet

Paper kept in stock by a printer and suitable for a variety of printing jobs. Also called floor sheet.


Stands for HyperText Markup Language. Used by programmers to compose web pages or sites.


A specific color such as yellow or green.



The paper cover sometimes called the “dust cover” of a hardbound book.

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 service bureaus, separators and printers to specify production schedule of a job and the materials it needs. Also called a docket, production order, and work order.


To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.


A vibration machine with a slopping platform to even-up stacks of printed materials.



A clear gloss coating applied to printed material for strength, appearance and protection.

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.


(1)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 lens) effect.


Artist style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite.)

Lap Register

Register where ink colors overlap slightly, as compared to butt register.

Laser Bond

Bond paper made especially smooth and dry to run well through laser printers.

Laser Engraving

A paper cutting technique whereby laser technology is utilized to cut away certain unmasked areas of the paper. The cutting is a result of the exposure of the paper to the laser ray, which actually evaporates the paper.

Laser-Imprintable Ink

Ink that will not fade or blister as the paper on which it is printed is used in a laser printer.

Lay Edge

The edge of a sheet of paper feeding into a press.

Lay Flat Bind

Method of perfect binding that allows a publication to lie fully open. (Also known as Lay Flat Perfect Binding.)


A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.


Space between lines of type; the distance in points between one baseline and the next.


One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.

Leaf Stamping

A metal die, either flat or embossed, created from the image or copy, which is then heated to a specific temperature allows the transfer of a film of pigmented polyester to the paper.

Ledger Paper

Strong, smooth bond paper used for keeping business records. Also called record paper.


Directions about a specific matter (illustrations) and how to use. In regard to maps and tables, an explanation of signs (symbols) used.

Letter Fold

Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold.

Letter Paper

In North America, 8 1/2′ x 11′ sheets. In Europe, A4 sheets.


Method of printing from raised surfaces, either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from image areas. Also called block printing.


The addition of space between typeset letters.

Lightweight Paper

Book paper with basis weight less than 40# (60 gsm).

Line Copy

Any high-contrast image, including type, as compared to continuous-tone copy. Also called line art and line work.


A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.

Linen Finish

Embossed finish on text paper that simulates the pattern of linen cloth.

Lines Per Inch

The number of rows of dots per inch in a halftone.

Logo (Logotype)

A company, partnership or corporate creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible combination of letters and art work to create a “sole” entity symbol of that specific unit.

Loose Proof

Proof of a halftone or color separation that is not assembled with other elements from a page, as compared to composite proof. Also called first proof, random proof, scatter proof and show-color proof.


Binding method allowing insertion and removal of pages in a publication (e.g., trim-4-drill-3).


Magnifying lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also called glass and linen tester.

Low Key Photo

Photo whose most important details appear in the shadows.



A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.


Film that contains the same images as the original print, except that all colors and shades are reversed. See also positive.


Signatures assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered. Also called inset.

Neutral Gray

Gray with no hue or cast.


A light, low-cost groundwood paper made especially for newspapers. See also groundwood.

Nominal Weight

When the basis weight of paper differs from the actual weight, the term nominal weight is used.



One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Count

Total number of pages that a publication has. Also called extent.

Page Makeup

The assemblage of all the necessary elements required to complete a page.

Page Proof

Proof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings, rules and folios.


In the book arena, the numbering of pages.


One page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the paper. A letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three.


Any paper with a thickness (caliper) of 12 points (.3mm) or more.

Parallel Fold

Method of folding. Two parallel folds to a sheet will produce 6 panels.


A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.

Parent Sheet

A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.

Paste Drier

Any of a variety of compounds used in enhancing the drying properties of printing inks.


To paste copy to mounting boards and, if necessary, to overlays so it is assembled into a camera-ready mechanical. The mechanical produced is often called a paste-up.


Chipboard with another paper pasted to it.


A format designed to be used across platforms. In Adobe Acrobat, material such as graphics and fonts are compiled and converted into a single file. Short for Portable Document Format.


Proofreader mark meaning printer error and showing a mistake by a typesetter, prepress service or printer as compared to an error by the customer.

Perf Marks

On a “dummy” marking where the perforation is to occur.

Perfect Bind

To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover. See also Burst PerfectBind.

Perfecting Press

Press capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass.


Creating a line of small dotted holes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).

Petroleum-Based Ink

An ink using petroleum as the vehicle for carrying the pigment. Ink manufacturers are seeking new vehicles to reduce the need for petroleum-based solvents, which may be toxic at high levels.


A pixel or raster software used to edit photos or scanned material.


A unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in, or 12 points to a pica.


Phenomenon of ink pulling bits of coating or fiber away from the surface of paper as it travels through the press, thus leaving unprinted spots in the image area.


A build up of pigment or paper coatings onto the plate, blankets or rollers.

Pin Register

Technique of registering separations, flats and printing plates by using small holes, all of equal diameter, at the edges of both flats and plates.


Small holes (unwanted) in printed areas for a variety of reasons.


Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device.

Plastic Comb

A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the spine side, and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.


Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

Plate Cylinder

The cylinder on a printing press on which the plate is mounted.

Plate Finish

Any bond, cover or Bristol stock with an extremely smooth finish achieved by calendering.

Plate Gap

The area where the grippers hold the sheet as it passes through the press.


(1) In quick printing, a process camera that makes plates automatically from mechanicals. (2) In commercial lithography, a machine with a vacuum frame used to expose plates through film.


Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.


(1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).


An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Post Bind

To bind using a screw and post inserted through a hole in a pile of loose sheets.

Post-Consumer Waste

Paper that has already been used and returned through a recycling program, thereby diverting it from a landfill or incinerator. It is usually deinked and then processed to make new paper. Office paper waste makes up the majority of post-consumer waste content that is used to make recycled copy and printing papers.


The computer language most recognized by printing devices.

Pre-Consumer Materials

Materials that have not met their intended end-use by a consumer and include allowable waste left over from manufacturing, converting, and printing processes. Examples: mill-converting scraps, pre-consumer deinking material, pulp substitutes. Magazines and newspapers that were never bought also are termed pre-consumer. Also known as Recovered Fibers.


Any paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer.


Camera work, color separations, stripping, platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing. Also called preparation.

Prepress Proof

Any color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed using ink. Also called dry proof and off-press proof.


To print portions of sheets that will be used for later imprinting.

Press Check

Event at which makeready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full production to begin.

Press Number

A method of numbering manufacturing business forms or tickets.

Press Proof

Proof made on press using the plates, ink and paper specified for the job. Also called strike off and trial proof.

Press Time

(1) Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for makeready. (2) Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.

Pressure-Sensitive Paper

Paper material with self sticking adhesive covered by a backing sheet.

Price Break

Quantity at which unit cost of paper or printing drops.

Primary Colors

In printing the four primary colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black.


The quality of papers to show reproduced printed images.

Printer Pairs

Usually in the book arena, consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

Printer Spreads

Mechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads.

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

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 Blue

The blue or cyan color in process printing.

Process Color (Inks)

The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Production Run

Press run intended to manufacture products as specified, as compared to makeready.


Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

Proofreader Marks

Standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Also called correction marks.

Proportion Scale

Round device used to calculate percent that an original image must by reduced or enlarged to yield a specific reproduction size. Also called percentage wheel, proportion dial, proportion wheel and scaling wheel.


Rag Paper

Papers with a complete or partial content of cotton fibers.

Ragged Left

Type that is justified to the right margin and the line lengths vary on the left.

Ragged Right

Type that is justified to the left margin and the line lengths vary on the right.

Rainbow Fountain

Technique of putting ink colors next to each other in the same ink fountain and oscillating the ink rollers to make the colors merge where they touch, producing a rainbow effect.

Raster Image Processor

Device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or imagesetter.

Reader Spread

Mechanicals made in two page spreads as readers would see the pages, as compared to printer spread.


500 sheets of paper.


The odd numbered pages (right hand side) of books.

Recycled Paper

Paper produced meeting the EPA guidelines requiring a minimum of 30% post-consumer content for uncoated printing and writing paper, and a minimum of 10% post-consumer content for coated papers.


A substance that softens and reduces the tack of ink.


The master roll of paper as it comes off the papermaking machine. It is in its original width and is then cut into smaller rolls.


To position print in the properly relative to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.

Register Marks

Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.


Ability of a device, such as an imagesetter, to produce film or plates that yield images in register.


Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.


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. The image ‘reverses out’ of the ink color. Also called knockout and liftout.


Abbreviation for red, green, blue, the additive color primaries.

Right Angle Fold

A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.

Right Reading

Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it is written. Also describes a photo whose orientation looks like the original scene, as compared to a flopped image.


The formation created by the dots, cyan magenta yellow and black, that make up four-color images. Because the dots are not perfectly round and they�re turned at angles to each other, the cluster resembles the arrangement of petals in a rose.

Rotary Press

Printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.

Round Back Bind

To casebind with a rounded (convex) spine, as compared to flat back bind.


Line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.


Map or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer’s layout and ruleout.


Refers to the quantity printed.


A term given to copy that accommodates the lines of a picture or other image or copy.


A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press.

Running Head

A title at the top of a page that appears on all pages of a book or chapter of a book.



Using a broadsheet as a measure, one half of a broadsheet.


The adhesive quality of inks.


Grade of dense, strong paper used for products such as badges and file folders.

Tagged Image File Format

Computer file format used to store images from scanners and video devices. Abbreviated TIFF.

Target Ink Densities

Densities of the four process inks as recommended for various printing processes and grades of paper. See also Total Area Coverage.


Concerning a printing project’s basic details in regard to its dimensions. A standard layout.

Tensile Strength

A paper’s ability to withstand pressure.


A high quality printing paper.

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.


A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and, while the ink is still wet, is lightly dusted with a resinous powder. The paper then passes through a heat chamber where the powder melts and fuses with the ink to produce a raised surface.


Initial ideas jotted on virtually anything in regard to initial concept of a future project.


A picture file format often used for scanned images. Used in most drawing and layout programs that treat graphics as line art rather than individual dots. Short for Tagged Image File Format.


(1) Screening or adding white to a solid color for results of lightening that specific color. (2) A halftone screen that contains all the same sized dots. (3) A shade of a single color or combined colors.


Usually in the book arena, adding an additional page(s) beyond the normal process.

Tone Compression

Reduction in the tonal range from original scene to printed reproduction.


The rough surfaced finish of papers such as vellum or antique.

Total Area Coverage

Total of the dot percentages of the process colors in the final film. Abbreviated for TAC. Also called density of tone, maximum density, shadow saturation, total dot density and total ink coverage.

Totally Chlorine Free

Virgin fiber papers that are unbleached or processed with a sequence that includes no chlorine or chlorine derivatives. Abbreviated TCF.

Touch Plate

Plate that accents or prints a color that four-color process printing cannot reproduce well enough or at all. Also called kiss plate.


Positive photographic image on film allowing light to pass through. Also called chrome, color transparency and tranny. Often abbreviated TX.


Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.

Transparent Ink

A printing ink that does not conceal the color under it.


To print one ink over another or to print a coating, such as varnish, over an ink. The first liquid traps the second liquid. See also Dry Traps and Wet Traps.


The process of printing wet ink over printed ink, which may be wet or dry.

Trim Marks

Similar to crop or register marks. These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.

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).

True-Type Fonts

Scalable fonts for both Windows and Mac software.

Twin Wire Machine

Fourdrinier papermaking machines with two wires, instead of a wire and felt side. This assures higher quality when two sides are used for printing.


The difference in feel and appearance of either side of a sheet of paper due to the papermaking process having a felt and wire side.

Type 1 Fonts

Font that allows type to be scaled to any size.



The shade (darkness) or tint (lightness) of a color. Also called brightness, lightness, shade and tone.

Variable Data Printing

A form of on-demand printing in which elements (such as text, graphics, photographs, etc) can be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database. For example, a set of personalized


Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

Vector Image

Scalable images that are saved using a mathematical relationship rather than the traditional bitmapped images.

Vegetable-Based Ink

Printing ink made with vegetable oil, such as soybean or corn oil, rather than petroleum. Soy and other vegetable-based inks help prevent air and water pollution. They also give brighter colors and rub off less on the reader’s hands.
Vegetable-based inks significantly reduce the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released into the air during printing. TigerPress uses Vegetable-Based Ink.


A combination of varnish, waxes, dryers, etc., which contains the pigment of inks and controls the flow, the drying and the adhesion of the pigments to the printed surface.


A finish of paper that is rough, bulky and has a degree of tooth.

Velour Paper

A term given to papers that are coated with an adhesive and then flock dusted.


A term given to the left-hand or even-numbered pages of a book.

Viewing Booth

Small area or room that is set up for proper viewing of transparencies, color separations or press sheets. Also called color booth. See also Standard Viewing Conditions.


A photo or illustration, in which the tones fade gradually away until they blend with the surface they are printed on.

Vignette Halftone

Halftone whose background gradually and smoothly fades away. Also called degrade.

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.


Xerographic Paper

Papers made to reproduce well in copy machines and laser printers.


X-height is the distance between the baseline of a line of type and tops of the main body of lower case letters.



Another term for accordion fold.

zinc oxide

A white, opaque inorganic compound often used in ink, paint, coatings and ointments.

zinc yellow

A zinc chromate pigment.