Samco Printers



Here is a list of common printing and graphic design terms.


A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z


AAs (author’s alterations)
Client’s changes and/or additions to copy after they have been typeset.

Achromatic colour
Colour with no saturation, such as white, black, or gray.

Additive colour primaries
Red, green, and blue (RGB). These colours are used to create all other colours with direct (or transmitted) light (for example, on a computer or television screen). They are called additive primaries because when pure red, green, and blue are superimposed on each other, they create white. Refer to subtractive colour primaries.

Visibly jagged steps along angles or object edges due to sharp tonal contrasts between pixels.

Placement and shape of text relative to the margins. Alignment settings can be centered, flush left, flush right, justified, ragged right, etc.

Alpha channel
An 8-bit, gray scale representation of a Photoshop image, often used for creating masks that isolate part of an image.

AM screening
Amplitude-modulated screening. Same as traditional halftone screening. Compare with FM screening.

Non-printing layers in some page layout programs used to provide written instructions on certain aspects of an electronic file.

In computer graphics, the smoothing of the jagged, “stairstep” appearance of graphical elements. See also jaggies.

Any analog or digital image, text or graphics used for printing reproduction.

The part of a letter that rises above the main body, such as the rising strokes of the letters “d” and “k.” Refer to descender.

Aspect ratio
In computer graphics, ratio of width to height of a screen or image frame.

Automatic Text Flow
Used in desktop publishing, it allows text matter to flow from one column to the next on each page and from one page to the next in a document automatically. It eases the pain of making significant copy changes to a long document.

Automatic Picture Replacement
A linking process where a low resolution image or low resolution placeholder (FPO) is automatically replaced by a high resolution image just before a document is sent to the imagesetter. This allows page layout handlers to work with smaller files without overloading the processors. Also known as AIR or OPI.



White bands which can be produced if data is sent too slowly to recorders that cannot stop/start successfully. The media continues to feed even though no image is available to print, resulting in white bands in the output. Stripes of colour that occur when too few colours are available to achieve a smooth colour blend. A visible stair-stepping of shades in a gradient.

The invisible line which all characters in a line of type rest upon.

Batch scanning
The sequential scanning of multiple originals using previously defined and unique settings for each.

Bezier curve
In computer graphics, a bezier is a curved line described by two end points and two or four control points. The end points are the ends of the curve itself. The control points (or levers) determine the shape of the curve, but are not on the curve itself.

A form of image containing only black and white pixels, a 2-bit image.

Bindery marks
Press Sheet markings that indicate how the sheet should be cropped, folded, collated, or bound.

Bit depth
The number of bits in each pixel of an image. Also refers to the amount of data per pixel for displaying on a computer monitor. Bit depth sets the maximum number of discrete colours or shades in each pixel; hence, the greater the bit depth, the more vivid and realistic colour and greyscale images will appear.

An image formed by a matrix of visible or invisible dots (bits). On a computer screen, the dots are formed by pixels. Unlike vector objects or Bezier curves, bitmaps are resolution dependent. See also raster image.

Black point
A movable reference point that defines the darkest area in an image, causing all other areas to be adjusted accordingly.

Text or art that extends beyond the trim page boundaries, or the crop marks, on one or more sides of a page. Part of a printed image that extends beyond the page boundary. When the page is trimmed to size, the “bleed” extends to the absolute edge of the paper, preventing any show-through of the paper colour.

See Graduated fill.

Blind embossing
The technique of creating an image on paper by stamping the paper with a die, creating a visible raised effect, without applying ink to the image (hence, the designation of “blind”).

Also known as blueprint. A one-off print made from stripped-up film or mechanicals, used to confirm position of image elements. Bluelines are often used as final proofs for single and spot colour jobs, or to show how the final job will fold or bind.

Refer to Blueline.

Body Copy
Text matter that comprises the major content of an article or publication other than mastheads, headlines, sub-heads, call-outs, charts and graphs.

This technique is to highlight or isolate important words or graphs from secondary copy surrounding it. Boxes also create interest and give the reader’s eye a break from long passages and monotonous amounts of text.

The relative lightness of an image. Computers represent brightness using a value between 0 (dimmest) and 255 (brightest).

A contact print made by exposing a photographic paper (originally bromide paper) to a light source through a film negative. Before the advent of computer generated artwork, bromides were commonly used as camera-ready artwork.

Bullets can be solid dots or squares, open dots, or another tiny iconic symbol that is used to enhance a list. Bullets are normally set in a slightly larger point size than the text they accompany and should always be used in a list of no less than five items. Bullets are visually most effective when used with hanging indents.



With regard to recorders and imagesetters, the process of adjusting the device so it correctly reproduces the desired halftones, tints, and so on. See also Linearisation.

Calibration bars
A strip of varying shades usually ranging from 0% to 100% (in 10% increments) on film, proofs, and press sheets. Prepress service providers use calibration bars to measure and control screen percentages for printing and proofing.

A call-out is a short phrase or line of type that helps identify important elements of a graphic or illustration. A connecting line or arrow is often used with a call-out.

Camera-Ready Copy
Black and white artwork that is meant to be processed by shooting it on a process camera or scanned and converted to negatives and used to make printing plates. On a direct-to-plate system, the black and white artwork would be converted directly from the art to the printing plate. Used as a generic term for a mechanical, film negative or positive, or any material that is ready to be photographed for the purpose of generating printing plates.

A caption is a sentence or more used to summarize the importance of charts, graphs, illustrations, photographs, or tables. Captions identify the people in photographs and relate the photo or graphic item to the surrounding body copy. A photograph should always have a caption.

An unwanted tinge or shade of colour present in an image.

Center marks
Press marks that appear on the center of all sides of a press sheet to aid in positioning the print area on the paper.

Information about a single process or spot colour contained within an image file. An image may have up to 16 channels.

Refer to Trap

A synonym for colour or hue.

Perceived as having a hue, not white, gray or black.

A measure of the combination of both hue and saturation in colour produced by lights.

A unit of measurement in the Didot system, commonly used in Europe. A cicero is equal to 12 Didot points, is slightly larger than a pica and is approximately 4.55 millimeters.

Commission Internationale de l’Éclairage, the international body that sets standards for illumination and developed the CIE colour models.

CIE colour models 
A family of mathematical models that describe colour in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation. The CIE colour models include CIE XYZ, CIELAB, CIELUV, and CIE xyZ.

Clip art
Illustrations and designs collected and usually sold commercially.

Click Art
Electronic art files that are already on a disk are called click art.

The conversion of all tones lighter than a specified gray level to white, or darker than a specified grey level to black, causing loss of detail. This also applies to individual channels in a colour image.

Clipping path
The boundary of a graphical mask (created by points and straight or curved lines) used to screen out parts of an image and expose or print other parts. Only what is inside the clipping path is displayed or printed. A series of Bezier curves drawn around a particular area of an image to isolate it from its background, so that it appears to be masked or silhouetted when placed in a page-layout program. Typically performed in Adobe Photoshop.

Colour management system. This ensures colour uniformity across input and output devices so that final printed results match originals. The characteristics or profiles of devices are normally established by reference to standard colour targets.

A colour mixing model consisting of the four process colours used in printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. A comprehensive array of colours can be achieved by combining certain percentages of these four primaries. White is achieved by letting the paper show through where white is required.

Light waves that reach the viewer’s eye by transmission (through an object between the viewer and the light source) or by reflection (when light waves bounce off an object). All substances, whether transparent or opaque, absorb some wavelengths while letting others pass through or bounce off. A red apple looks red because it absorbs all colours in white light except red, which it reflects. White objects reflect all and black objects absorb all light waves (at least in theory).

Colour, additive
Colour produced by mixing coloured lights. In projected light, each colour is created by adding one colour of light to another. All colours can be made by a mixture of red, green and blue light.

Colour bars
Rectangles of colour printed on colour proofs to check the ink densities and other technical factors required to conform to quality standards.

Colour break
Artwork prepared so as to indicate which elements print in which ink colour. Copy and art for each colour may be pasted on separate boards, pasted on on overlays, or indicated in pencil on an overlay sheet of tissue paper.

Colour cast
An overall colour imbalance in an image, as if viewed through a coloured filter.

Colour conversion
Black-and-white version made from a colour photograph or other original.

Colour correction
The adjustment of colours in any photographic, electronic, or manual process to obtain a correct image by compensating for the deficiencies of process inks, colour separation, or undesired balance of the original image.

Colour key
A set of four acetate overlays, each utilizing a halftone consisting of one of the four process colours used for proofing colour separations.

Colour lookup table
A table of values, each of which corresponds to a different colour that can be displayed on a computer monitor or used in an image. For example, an indexed colour image uses a colour lookup table of up to 256 colours.

Colour matching
Specifying Pantone or process colours to produce a desired colour from a previously printed piece or other colour original.

Colour overlay
A sheet of film or paper whose text and art correspond to one spot colour or process colour. Each colour overlay becomes the basis for a single printing plate that will apply that colour to paper.

Colour proof
A representation matching the appearance of the final printed piece. Includes colour laser proofs, colour overlay proofs, and laminate proofs. A representation of what the printed composition will look like. The resolution and quality will vary greatly depending on the proofing device. These can be provided during the various stages of page construction.

Colour saturation
The amount of a hue contained in a colour; the greater the saturation, the more intense the colour.

Colour separation
In four colour process printing, the process of transforming colour artwork into four components corresponding to the four process colours. In spot colour printing, the process of transforming artwork into components corresponding to each spot colour required in the printed piece. Each component used in preparation for making printing plates that correspond to the specific ink colour.

Colour space
A scheme of representation for colour images, such as CMYK or RGB. Colours are represented as a combination of a small set of other colours or by other parameters (like hue, saturation, and brightness).

Colour, subtractive
Colour produced by mixing pigments (such as inks or paints). Pigments absorb (or subtract) all the colours from the reflected light except for the colour we see.

Colour wheel
A circle that displays the spectrum of visible colours. It provides a graphic representation of the relationship between primary and secondary colours with successive colour mixtures and tonal values.

A light-sensitive device for measuring colours by filtering their red, green and blue components, as in the human eye. See also spectrophotometer.

Combination signatures
Signatures of different sizes inserted at any position in a layout.

Comprehensive artwork used to represent the general colour and layout of a page.

Complementary colour
The inverted hue of a colour (the one that is diametrically opposite on a colour wheel). For example, yellow is the complementary colour of blue.

Composite proof
A version of an illustration or page in which the process colours appear together to represent full colour. When produced on a monochrome output device, colours are represented as shades of gray.

Composition is the process of keyboarding and combining typographic elements into pleasing page layouts for print production.

The use of various software designed to reduce the size of a digital file. See also lossy and non-lossy.

Condensed type
Type in which the individual characters are narrower than normal so that more characters can fit on a single line. When the set width of a font has been shortened, the font will be more narrow — allowing more characters to fit on any given line length. Fonts should be condensed by using a true “condensed” version of a typeface. Condensing type by using the “attributes” selection screen of a page layout program increases the risk that the outputting or dtp equipment will not recognize the font or ignore it completely.

Continuous-tone (CT also contone) image
Any colour or greyscale image which has not been converted to halftone dots for reproduction. Photographs, paintings and charcoal drawings are prime examples of continuous tone images.

Contract Proof
A proof created by the printer to be shown to the customer as a representation of the final colours of a printed piece and subsequently signed by the customer to indicate that the printed piece will be acceptable if it matches the signed proof.

The difference between the dark and light values in an image. Images with a great deal of contrast contain mostly very dark and very light values, while low-contrast images contain mostly medium gray values.

Copyfitting is the process of writing or editing articles to fit into a predetermined space allowance. Good copyfitting results in evenly filled columns and pages with the proper amount of white space.

Creep, Creep Allowance
Adjusting the page layout of inner spreads to maintain a constant outer margin when a saddle-stitched booklet is trimmed. If there is no creep allowance, when pages are trimmed, the outer margins become narrower toward the center of the booklet and there is the possibility that the text or images may be cut off. The amount of creep allowance needed depends on the size of the margins, number of pages, and the thickness of the paper. Sometimes associated with shingling.

see Proof

see Proof

Crop marks
Short, fine lines used as guides for final trimming of the pages within a press sheet. Short, fine lines that mark where a printed page should be trimmed when it is printed on paper that is larger than the image area.

Cropping is the process of eliminating irrelevent or excessive background content of photographs. Cropping enhances the focus of photographs and allows the designer to change the shape of the original photo.

Custom printer description file
A file containing information specific to a type of output device; used in conjunction with a standard PPD file to customize the printing process.



Cylinder on a paper machine for creating finishes, such as wove, laid, or linen, and for adding watermarks.

Data underrun
The result of a raster image processor (RIP) failing to supply data to an output device quickly enough. If the output device cannot stop/start successfully, banding or other negative effects may occur.

Acronym for Desktop Colour Separation, a version of the EPS file format. DCS 1.0 files are composed of five PostScript files for each colour image: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black file, plus a separate low-resolution FPO, image to place in a digital file. In contrast, DCS 2.0 files can have a single file that stores process colour and spot colour information. A preseparated image file format, developed by Quark, Inc., consisting of five parts: four process colour separation files (containing the cyan, magenta, yellow, and black components of the image) and a composite EPS placeholder file. A variation of the EPS file format for CMYK images where the process colour information is stored in four separate files. A fifth “master” file is used for placement in a page layout. This format is sometimes used by prepress vendors instead of OPI, or APR images. The master file can be sent to the designer for placement in the layout.

The expansion of compressed image files. See also lossy and non-lossy.

A device used throughout the printing process to measure the amount of light passing through or reflecting from a given medium.

Die line
In a digital file, the outline used to create a device for cutting, stamping, or embossing the finished printed piece into a particular shape, such as a rolodex card.

The ability of an object to stop or absorb light. The less the light is reflected or transmitted by an object, the higher the density.

Density range
The range from the smallest highlight dot the press can print to the largest shadow dot it can print. Density range also describes the capacity of a scanner to read detail in the shadow and highlight areas of a continuous tone image. The greater the scanner range, the more detail at either end of the scale. Scanners with a short density range characteristically produce noise in the darkest shadow areas. Refer to noise.

That part of a letter that drops below the baseline, such as the lower strokes of the letters “g” and “p.” Refer to ascender.

Removal of halftone dot patterns during or after scanning printed matter by defocusing the image. This avoids moire patterning and colour shifts during subsequent halftone reprinting.

Dichroic mirror
A special type of interference filter, which reflects a specific part of the spectrum, whilst transmitting the rest. Used in scanners to split a beam of light into RGB components.

Didot (measurement)
The Didot point system was created by François-Ambroise Didot in 1783. 1 didot point is about 0.376mm. See also ciceropica and points.

A format which is recognizable and readable by a computer system.

Digital Photography
Digital cameras use a CCD sensor that captures light and converts it into electrical signals, which are then converted into digital data. Images may be temporarily stored in random access memory (RAM), in-camera storage media, or moved directly to a computer’s drive.

Convert information to computer-readable form. Digitized typesetting is the creation of typographic characters by the arrangement of black and white pixels.

Dimensional stability
Degree to which paper maintains its size and shape in the printing process and when subjected to changes in moisture content or relative humidity.

A decorative character.

Direct exposure of image data onto printing plates, without the intermediate use of film.

Elimination of intermediate film and printing plates by the direct transfer of image data to printing cylinders in the press.

Display type
Type set larger than the text to attract attention.

A technique used in computer graphics to create the illusion of varying shades of gray or additional colours by distributing the screen pixels or imagesetter dots of an image. Dithering relies on the eye’s tendency to blur spots of different colours by averaging their effects and merging them into a single perceived shade or colour.

The point of maximum density in an image or original.

The point of minimum density in an image or original.

Computer file created with an application program.

In printing, a small spot which combines with other dots in a matrix of rows and columns to form characters or graphic elements. Refer to halftone.

Dot gain
In halftone printing, the tendency of the ink used to create halftone dots to flow outward as it is absorbed by the paper. Too much dot gain can create a cloudy or dark image. A phenomenon that results due to the tendency of wet ink to spread when it contacts paper. This results in a slightly larger dot than appears on the printing plate itself, and in some cases may cause images to darken or appear “muddy.” Image files should be prepared in such a manner so as to allow for dot gain, a process known as gain compensation.

Dot shape
The shape of the dots that make up a halftone. Dot shapes can be round, square, elliptical, linear, etc.

Downloadable font
A font not resident in a printer’s memory that must be sent to the printer in order to print a document containing that font.

Down sampling
The process of acquiring a low-resolution copy of an high-resolution image for layout purposes only. The reduction in resolution of an image, necessitating a loss in detail.

Dots per inch. A measure of screen and printer resolution that is expressed as the number of dots that a device can print or display per linear inch. The number of dots in a linear inch (as opposed to a square inch). Therefore, a 600-dpi laser printer prints 600 dots per linear inch, or 360,000 (600 x 600) dots per square inch. DPI is also known as resolution, as in “What is the resolution of your printer/scanner/TIFF file/monitor?” Printer, scanner, image and monitor resolution are all typically expressed in terms of DPI. However, since image files are made up of pixels, and since monitors display pixels rather than dots, image resolution and monitor resolution should technically be expressed in PPI (pixels per inch). Refer to LPI (lines per inch).

Drop cap
A decorative capital letter at the beginning of a paragraph that hangs below the top line of the paragraph and occupies space of more than one line.

Drop shadow
A coloured or shaded box or character offset and placed behind an identical box or character to give a shadow effect.

Drum scanner
Early drum scanners separated scans into CMYK data, recording these directly onto film held on a second rotating drum.

Acronym for Document Structuring Conventions, a set of organizational and commenting conventions for PostScript files designed to provide a standard order and format for information so applications that process PostScript can easily find information about a document’s structure and imaging requirements. These conventions allow specially formatted PostScript comments to be added to the page description; applications can search for these comments, but PostScript interpreters usually ignore them.

A halftone greyscale image rendered in two colours, one of which is usually black. This process uses the same image on both plates with the exception of setting the screen angles differently to avoid moiré patterns and the density range is shortened on the darker colour to allow the lighter colour to show in the highlight and midtone areas. This gives the image tonal and colour interest and gives the illusion of added depth. This is a very useful design alternative for two-colour print jobs containing grayscale images.

Dye sublimation
A printing process using small heating elements to evaporate pigments from a carrier film, depositing these smoothly onto a substrate. Used primarily for colour proofs and comps.



Electrostatic printing or copying
Printing process in which an image is created by applying an electric charge to a carrier, attracting magnetic ink (toner) to the image, and transferring it from the carrier to paper with heat and pressure. See also Xerography.

The ellipsis is a set of three dots which look like a series of three periods(…). They are used to indicate missing copy when placed between two sentences or phrases. They are commonly used when paraphrasing long quotations. They can also be used in pairs as a “continuation technique” when you want to lead the reader into other copy. But, don’t forget to place the second set of ellipsis before the final connecting copy so the reader knows where to go.

Unit of space (width) equal to the point size of the type.

Em Dash
An em dash is used to abruptly change a thought within a sentence or to connect two different thoughts within a sentence. The actual length of an em dash is approximately four times the length of a hyphen and is relative to the set width of the font which you are using. Em dashes received their name due to the fact that they are equivalent to the width of the capital letter em (M).

Em Space
An Em space is a fixed amount of blank space equivalent to the width of a capital letter em (M). Em spaces are frequently used for paragraph indents and bullet item indents because they are fixed units. Em spaces are relative to the set width of the font being used.

Half an em.

En Dash
An en dash is used to denote continuation; as in “pages 4-5” and “1966-1995.” The actual length of an en dash is approximately two times the length of a hyphen and is relative to the set width of the font which you are using. En dashes received their name due to the fact that they are equivalent to the width of the capital letter en (N). An en dash is one-half the width of an em dash.

En Space
An En space is a fixed amount of blank space equivalent to the width of a capital letter en (N). En spaces are frequently used when a fixed amount of space is needed, but less space than the more commonly used em space. En spaces are relative to the set width of the font being used. An en space is one-half the width of an em space.

To stamp a raised area or image into paper with metal dies, usually combined with a printed image. (To stamp an indentation with metal dies is to deboss the image).

A thin photo-sensitive coating (usually containing silver halides) that is applied to a base substrate to produce photographic film or paper. When the emulsion is exposed to the appropriate light source and developed in the appropriate chemical developer, an image is produced. Developing removes the unexposed silver halides from the emulsion.

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)
A file format that stores PostScript information in an image file so that it may be transferred as a unit to a suitable page layout or drawing program or used for preparing images for later typesetting. An encapsulated PostScript file has two parts: a low resolution bitmap picture of the screen and a full PostScript description to pass on to a suitable printer.

See Encapsulated PostScript.

Another term used for DCS. Refer to DCS

A list of errors in a book which are of sufficient importance to be called to the attention of the reader.

Euclidean dot shapes
Round, elliptical, square, or linear halftone dots that invert with their cell after 50% intensity. This strategy helps reduce dot gain problems sometimes experienced with elliptical, square, and linear dots.

A small block of print used to trigger packaging equipment.

When the set width of a font has been lengthened, the font will be wider, allowing fewer characters to fit on any given line length. Fonts should be expanded by using a true “expanded” version of a typeface. Expanding type by using the “attributes” selection screen of a page layout program increases the risk that the outputting or dtp equipment will not recognize the font or ignore it completely.

Exploded view
A type of illustration that shows a structure with its parts separated but drawn in relation to each other.

To transfer information from the current program to another location or program. See import.

A ratio of the intensity of a light source and length of time photo-sensitive material is subjected to the light source. The measurement of exposure is a prominent factor in controlling the lasers that are at the heart of imagesetters, platesetters and computer-to-press imaging devices.



Facing pages
Two pages that face each other in a printed publication, comprised of the verso (left) and recto (right) page of an opened book.

A family of type is the complete font set with all its related attributes. One family can include: roman, italic, bold, bold italic, black, black italic, light, light italic, thin, thin italic, plus all the condensed and expanded versions of the previously listed.

The progressive bleed-off at the soft edge of an image so that it blends with the underlying image or background colour.

Film assembly
See Stripping.

Film negative
Film containing an image in which the values of the original image are reversed. Film negatives are typically output from imagesetters and are used to create printing plates. Refer to Film Positive.

Film positive
Same as film negative, except that the image is not reversed. Usually used when the film is to be duplicated, rather than directly photographed to create printing plates.

Film recorder
Used in reference to colour transparency recording devices, and sometimes also to imagesetters.

Individual film assembled onto a film carrier readied for contacting or Platemaking.

Flatbed scanner
Any scanning device that incorporates a flat transparent plate, on which original images are placed for scanning. The scanning process is linear rather than rotational.

Flexographic printing
Printing on a press using a rubber plate that stretches around a cylinder, making it necessary to compensate by distorting the plate image. Flexography is used most often in label printing, often on metal or other non-paper material.

To rotate an image along either its horizontal or vertical axis.

To completely coat a press sheet with ink or varnish (as apposed to pattern or spot varnish which is a defined image).

Aligned or even with (in reference to type alignment).

Flush Left
Aligned along the left edge or margin.

Flush right
Aligned along the right edge or margin.

FM screening
Frequency-modulated screening. A type of screening that employs irregular clusters of equally sized CMYK pixels to represent continuous-tone images. The placement of these pixels, although seemingly random, is precisely calculated to produce the desired hue and intensity. This process differs from traditional halftoning in which the distance between CMYK dots remains constant while dot size varies to create the desired hue and intensity. Compare AM screening. See also Stochastic Screening.

Fold marks
Dotted or dashed lines on camera-ready art that indicate where to fold the printed piece.

Folding dummy
A template used for determining the page arrangement on a form to meet folding and binding requirements.

A printed page number.

A set of letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols that share a unified design. The design is called a typeface. A group of related typefaces is a type family. A font is the specific name applied to a particular typeface style. Examples of font names are Helvetica, Times, Americana, and Zapf Chancery.

The information about a publication, such as its title, date, issue or page number is a footer when it consistently appears at the bottom of each page of the document.

A footnote is a numbered passage which amplifies specific information on the page and provides direction about how to find sources or related reading.

The front or back of a signature.

The overall appearance of a publication, including page size, paper, binding, length, and page-design elements such as margins, number of columns, treatment of headlines, and so on.

For position only (FPO)
A photocopy, photostat, or low-resolution electronic copy of an image or piece of art positioned on the camera-ready page to indicate the position of the actual art to be stripped in by the printer or inserted by the system during prepress processing. A term applied to low-quality art reproductions used to indicate placement and scaling of an art element on mechanicals or camera-ready artwork. In digital publishing, FPO can be low-resolution TIFF files that are later replaced with high-resolution versions. An FPO is not intended for reproduction but only as a guide and placeholder for the prepress service provider.

Fountain solution
A solution of water, gum arabic, and other chemicals used to repel ink from non-printing areas of the lithographic plate.

Four-colour process
The most common full-colour printing process which uses colour separation to produce one image for each of the four process colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). Each colour is then overprinted to reproduce the full colour of the image.

An outline between abutting colour areas.

Frame-grabbing system
A combination of hardware and software, designed to capture individual frames from video clips for further digital manipulation, or consecutive replay on computer platforms.

Frequency (Halftone Screen Frequency)
The spacing of the dot matrix in a halftone image, usually expressed as lines per inch (lpi). Optimum halftone screen frequency is dependent on the type of imaging device used to reproduce the halftone. In practical terms it varies from 55 lpi for silkscreen printing to 200 lpi for high-end offset printing.



Gain compensation
The process of preparing an image file to compensate for the increase in dot size, known as dot gain that occurs when wet ink spreads on paper. Adjustments to compensate for dot gain are typically performed in Adobe Photoshop or a similar image editing program.

A measure of contrast that affects the mid-range grays (midtones) of an image. Gamma is often expressed as a curve. Technically, a numerical representation of contrast in an image. Adjusting the gamma, which is what you are doing when you move the middle slider in Photoshop’s “Levels” dialog, allows you to correct midtones without noticeable changes in the highlight and shadow areas.

Gamma correction
The correction of tonal ranges in an image, normally by the adjustment of tone curves.

The range of colours that a device can reproduce. The eye, the camera, the computer monitor, the toner-based colour printer, the inkjet printer and the four-colour printing press all have different colour gamuts. The human eye has the widest gamut and the printing press has the narrowest.

Gamut mapping
The process of colour matching in which differences in colour gamuts between the source device and the target device are taken into consideration.

Gamut simulation
The process by which a device with a wider gamut is programmed to emulate behavior of a device with a narrower gamut.

Gang scanning
True gang scanning means mounting a number of originals on the scanner and scanning all at the same exposure. Advances in scan software now allow multiple images to be mounted on the scan bed and exposure, cropping, colour mode and other scan parameters to be applied to each individual image.

A four-page insert or cover with foldouts on either side, making the equivalent of 8 pages.

Gray component replacement. A colour separation technique that uses black instead of combinations of cyan, magenta, and yellow in reproducing the gray components of colours. This provides a more economical use of inks and improved ink application. A technique for minimizing ink coverage.

When an image is screened back or shaded down in intensity, it is called a ghosted image. Both full-colour and black and white images can be ghosted.

Light marks in a printed image caused by an adjacent heavy image depleting the ink on the inking roller. Smaller presses with few rollers in the ink train are most subject to this problem, although some designs will cause ghosting even on the largest press.

Graphic Interchange Format. A platform-independent image file developed by CompuServe that is commonly used to display and distribute images on the Internet. A compressed digital image format widely used for electronically published images on the Internet. Any single image may only contain a maximum of 256 different colours, generally considered inadequate to represent photos. Pronounced Jiff.

Gothic-style typefaces
Sans serif typefaces.

Gradient fill
See graduated fill.

Graduated colours
A graded series of colours that changes progressively from one colour to another or from light to dark or dark to light within the same colour. See also Vignette.

Graduated fill
An area in which two colours (or shades of gray) are blended so as to create a gradual change from one to the other. Graduated fills are also known as blends, gradations, gradient fills, and vignettes.

In paper, the direction in which fibers line up. Paper grain is a significant factor in a variety of operations such as folding, scoring and paper handling in printing and finishing equipment.

Graphic Accents
Graphic Accents emphasize and organize words, illustrations and photographs. Boxes, drop shadows, indents, lines, rules, screens and icons are considered graphic accents.

Graphics Linking
A page layout term that refers to the way placed graphics files are managed by software. When a graphic is placed on a page, it appears there but does not become part of the page layout file. The page layout software keeps track of the location of the graphics file (the link) and will download that file when the page layout is printed.

Grey balance
The balance between CMY colourants required to produce neutral greys without a colour cast.

Grey component replacement
See GCR.

Grey levels
Discrete tonal steps in a continuous tone image, inherent to digital data. Most digital continuous tone images will contain 256 grey levels per colour.

The representation of colours in varying shades of gray – usually 256 shades in digital artwork.

A grid is the defining of headline positions, column length and width, placement of headers and footers and and any other predetermined placement of photographs or graphic elements on a page. A series of nonprinting horizontal and vertical rules assist in creating and maintaining a grid for page layout.

The trim at the back (or spine) of a signature, or of two or more gathered signatures, in preparation for perfect binding.

The part of the press or printer that holds the paper and guides it through the press. Also, the edge of the paper so held.

Extra space between pages in a layout. Gutters can appear either between the top and bottom of two adjacent pages or between two sides of adjacent pages. Gutters are often used because of the binding or layout requirements of a job: for example, to add space at the top or bottom of each page or to allow for the grind-off taken when a book is perfect bound. Gutters are the white spaces which appear between columns of type. Gutter widths should be wide enough to clearly define columns and narrow enough to not lose the reader. Gutters are also placed between multiple images on a press sheet for a variety of finishing processes.



Hairline rule
A very thin typographic rule.

The rendering of an image in a series of dots whose size differs relative to the tonal density of the image. When seen from a normal viewing distance, and without magnification, the dots are seen as areas of differing tonal values. See also AM screening, FM screening, screening and frequency.

Halftone resolution
The spacing of the dot matrix in a halftone image, usually measured in lines per inch (lpi). More correctly referred to as the frequency or halftone frequency.

Halftoning factor
The formula used to determine the optimum graphic resolution (pixels per inch) of an image based on the screen frequency used on the reproduction device. The image resolution in pixels per inch should be twice the screen frequency of the reproduction device at actual reproduction size. For example, a photo to be reproduced at 150 lpi on the press should be scanned at 300 ppi at reproduction size.

A light line around object edges in an image, produced by the Unsharp Masking (sharpening) Technique. This technique uses the contrast between the edges of tonal areas of a continuous tone areas as a basis for applying the halo. The halo creates a visual separation between the tonal areas and makes the image look sharper or more in focus.

To place characters outside the left margin.

Hanging indent
A paragraph style in which the left margin of the first line extends beyond the left margin of subsequent lines, or put another way, all subsequent lines are indented more than the first line of the paragraph. Bulleted and numbered items are visually most effective when they use hanging indents.

Hard copy
Images intended for reproduction and which have been supplied as prints rather than digital files. See also soft copy.

Harlequin Precision Screening (HPS)
A set of screening algorithms developed by Harlequin Incorporated that precisely controls the accuracy of screen angles and frequency to reduce moire patterns.

A head or headline is an enlarged phrase which gives the reader a preview of the content to follow. Heads are very important elements because they motivate the reader to continue reading the associated material.

The information about a publication; such as its title, date, issue, or page number is a header when is consistently appears at the top of each page of the document.

The title of an article or story.

Heavy Ink Coverage
When over 30% of a sheet has ink coverage on it, the order is considered to have heavy ink coverage.

High key
A light image that is intentionally lacking in shadow detail.

The lightest (brightest) areas of an image; usually refers to areas with less than or equal to a 10% halftone dot. Areas with no visible halftone dot (like sunlight reflecting off a chrome bumper) are known as specular highlights (specular light being the opposite of diffuse light). Refer to shadows, midtones.

A chart displaying the tonal ranges present in an image as a series of vertical bars. A graphic representation of the distribution of light and dark pixels in an image, which provides the information necessary to make tonal adjustments. In Adobe Photoshop, it’s accessed via the “Image” menu.

The visual attribute of a colour that allows it to be classified as red, blue, yellow or any intermediate between contiguous pairs of these colours.

In typographical usage, a hyphen is placed at the end of the syllable that remains on the first line when words are too long to fit on a single line and are broken between two lines. Hyphenation can be automatic in page layout programs but this hyphenation is based on a rudimentary hyphenation dictionary contained in the layout software. For quality work, hyphenation should be corrected manually to repair bad word breaks and enhance copyfitting. Hyphenation can also be turned off if no hyphens are preferred.

Hyphenated Zone
The hyphenation zone is the space near the column’s right edge which will allow hyphenation. Long hyphenation zones result in fewer word splits than short hyphenation zones.



In graphical environments, a small graphic image displayed on the screen to represent an object that can be manipulated by the user.

Image area
The area of a printed piece wherein an image can be placed without danger of being marred by accidental cropping, folding or other finishing processes. Sometimes referred to as a safety area.

A digital recording device that uses a laser to image photosensitive film or paper. Imagesetters are used for creating artwork for reproduction. Most imagesetters are PostScript-compatible and use a dedicated raster image processor (RIP) to process the digital information into code to drive the laser.

The process of producing a film or paper copy of a digital file from an output device (such as an imagesetter or printer).

To bring information into the current program from another location or program. See export.

The process of arranging individual pages on a digital or analog form to construct a signature so the pages will be in proper sequence after printing, folding, and binding. Also the placement of multiple images on a form or press sheet to produce the job in the most economical manner.

The transfer of an individual image to an individual side of a sheet of paper. Each colour represents a separate impression, so printing one side of one sheet in four colour process equals four impressions.

Impression cylinder
Cylinder of an offset press that squeezes the paper against the blanket cylinder carrying the image. (In toner devices, this is accomplished by a transfer cylinder or belt).

The most common indent is at the beginning of a paragraph when the first line is “set-in” from the left edge of the column. An indent can be placed on the left side only (as in paragraph beginnings) or on the left and right sides of copy (when a block of text needs to be set apart from the rest of the paragraph).

Indexed colour image
A single-channel image, with 8 bits of colour information per pixel. The index is a colour lookup table containing up to 256 colours. A pixel colour system that uses a limited number of distinct colours (usually 256 colours) to represent a digital image, rather than describing a colour using bit depth.

Ink-jet printer
A non-impact printer that fires tiny drops of ink at the paper to create characters or graphics.

Inside margin
The space between the binding edge of the page and the text.

Interpolated resolution
See optical resolution.

In the image manipulation context, this is the increase of image resolution by the addition of new pixels throughout the image, the colours of which are based on neighbouring pixels.

Isometric view
A display method that shows three-dimensional objects with height and width but without the change in perspective that would be added by depth.

Industry standard colour reference target used to calibrate input and output devices.

A type style in which the characters are slanted upward to the right. Usually, italic characters have different shapes than their Roman counterparts.

This is the abbreviation for International Typographic Corporation, which licenses many of the typefaces used in computerized graphic design. ITC fonts are identical to the typefaces used on phototypesetting equipment and based on the original “hot type” font designs. They are considered higher quality typographic forms because they have retained their letterform integrity through the years and are more reliable when transferred from computer to outputting devices.



The stair-stepped effect of bit-mapped type and graphics caused when square pixels represent diagonal or curved lines. See anti-aliasing.

Small vibrations or fluctuations in a displayed image caused by irregularities in the display signal.

In prepress and printing, the collection of files associated with a single project including page layout files, image files, etc.

Joint Photographic Experts Group. An organization that has defined various file compression techniques. An image compression standard describing a type of compression used on photographic images. JPEG compression discards data, but does it in an intelligent fashion that results in a much smaller file size with very little loss in quality. JPEG is also used to refer to files that have been compressed using the JPEG standard.

A line of text that indicates the page where an article or story continues or the carryover line on the subsequent page that identifies the article or story being continued. When an article is continued from one page to another, the jumpline placed at the end of the first page to identify where the article is continued. A jumpline should also appear at the beginning of the continuation page to tell the reader where the article started.

Lines of type in a column that are flush with both the right and left column margins. If only one side of the text column is flush, it is said to be right-justified or left-justified. Left-justified column are also called ragged-right because the right side which is not justified tends to be uneven. When type is justified to both the right and left margins, wordspacing and letterspacing must be varied to allow such alignment.



To selectively adjust the space between character pairs to improve readability or to achieve balanced, proportional type. Refer to kerning.

Kernel size
The number of pixels sampled as a unit during image manipulation and sharpening processes.

Kerning refers to improving the appearance of type by adjusting the spacing between selected pairs of letters. The most problematic pairs of letters are AV, AY, FA, AW, PA, and AT. Kerning is more important in large type and all uppercase text.

Kerning pair
A pair of characters for which correct kerning is automatically applied. Kerning pairs are defined in kerning tables built into most fonts.

Kerning table
A table built into most fonts containing kerning pairs.

Keyboarding is the process of typing in the raw text (headlines, subheads and body copy) for a publication in preparation for turning it over to a graphic designer. The most commonly used program for keyboarding is MS Word.

A thin border or frame surrounding a colour area. A thin border around a picture or a box indicating where to place pictures. In digital files, the keylines are often vector objects while photographs are usually bitmap images.

A kicker is a short phrase or key word which introduces a headline. Kickers can also be used to relate a headline to a particular portion of a publication.

Kiss fit
A condition that exists when abutting colours in a knockout come together with no trapping, framing, or keylines, also known as a net fit.

The process of removing the portion of a background colour that lies underneath an object so that the object colour will not mix with the background colour during printing. A printing technique that prints overlapping objects without mixing inks. The ink for the underlying element does not print (knocks out) in the area where the objects overlap. Opposite of overprinting.

Extremely strong paper used when durability is important. May be unbleached and brown like a grocery bag, bleached, or bleached and dyed.



Laser printer
Although a number of devices employ laser technology to print images, this normally refers to printers which use dry toner and the xerographic printing process.

The position of print on a sheet of paper.

The overall plan or design of a document or document page.

A leader is a repeating symbol used in combination with tab stops to draw a reader from one area of line of text to another area. Dotted and dashed lines are the most common leader elements.

Leading is the vertical space relationship between one line of type and the next. Computer graphics normally default to +2 points of leading for any given point size selected. (i.e. 10 point type uses 12 points of leading and 14 point type uses 16 points of leading). In general, the larger a point size gets, the better it will look with reduced leading. Increased and decreased leading can also be used for copyfitting purposes. This spacing was originally achieved with lead type by placing slugs of lead between lines of type. Pronounced Ledding.

Page with printing on both sides.

A paragraph of text in which the left edge is flush and the right edge is ragged. Also called ragged right.

The space between characters.

The words of a language and their definitions.

In typography, two or more letters merged or tied into one.

An attribute of object colour where the object reflects or transmits more of the incident light.

Linear fill
A gradient fill that is projected from one point to another in a straight line (as apposed to a radiant fill where the gradient is projected from the center outward in a concentric manner.

Line art
An image that contains only black and white with no shades of gray. Some examples of line art are type matter, solid black and white logos and pen-and-ink drawings.

Typographic term for the distance from baseline to baseline of lines of text.

Particles of paper dust which can degrade print quality.

Printing process which originally utilized the oil repellant properties of water and the water repellant properties of oil to separate the printing and non-printing areas of an image. Subsequently, waterless lithography has been developed, where physical properties of the printing plates are used to repel ink in the non-printing areas and attract ink in the printing areas.

Live Area
A page’s live area is the part between borders and margins where most text and graphics will appear.

Live Art Files
The original electronic file used to create and identify an EPS or TIFF image. This can be an original drawing that has been created in FreeHand, Illustrator or CorelDraw or a scanned image. Live art files are necessary inclusions in processing electronic documents because they are the links needed to produce high resolution output.

A logo is a stylized name of a company or organization set in a unique way and often accompanied by an illustration or icon. A successful logo should be reproducible in its original colour design and a black and white version.

Image compression that functions by removing minor tonal and/or colour variations, causing visible loss of detail at high compression ratios.

Noncapital letters, such as a, b, c, and so on. The name is derived from the practice of placing these letters in the bottom (lower) case of a pair of type cases. Compare uppercase.

Low key
A dark image that is intentionally lacking in highlight detail.

Low resolution
An image or screen in relatively coarse detail. In raster-oriented printing or displays, low resolution has to do with the number of pixels or dots used to reproduce the image. The fewer the pixels per inch, the lower the resolution.

Lines per inch – The imperial unit in which haltone frequency is measured. Lpcm or per centimeter is the metric equivalent

The apparent brightness/darkness of an image adjusted to account for the inherent tendencies of the human eye to perceive some colour values as being brighter than others despite their similar rates of light transmission and reflection.

The Lempel-Ziv-Welch image compression technique.



The distance from the edge of the paper to the image area occupied by text and/or graphics.

An analog or digital image used to eliminate unwanted portions of an image. An analog mask could consist of a negative film, hand cut ruby or amber film or simply photographically opaque paper. Digital mask files utilize a clipping path and are superimposed over an image to define which portions of the image should print and which should not. Image pixels inside the clipping path print; pixels outside the clipping path do not. A similar mask can be used to control the area of a graphic affected by such operations as colour correction, filters, tool effects, etc.

Artwork used as an original from which subsequent reproductions are made.

Master page
A nonprinting page in certain page layout programs that help to define the basic layout and format of subsequent document pages. A master page can contain headers, footers, page numbers, graphic elements, etc.

The list of staff, owners, and subscription information for a periodical.

Not glossy, such as a matte varnish or a matte laminant.

In traditional publishing, one or more artboards with type galleys, line art, “for-position-only” photostats, and tissue overlays to indicate colour. In electronic publishing, the final camera-ready page with position-only stats keyed to flat art to be stripped in by the printer.

Those parts of an image with colours of intermediate value–that is, in the 25% to 75% value range.

The unwanted result of incorrectly aligned colours on a finished printed piece. Misregistration can be caused by many factors, including paper stretch and improper plate alignment. Registration tolerances vary according to the device on which an image is printed, but no device is capable of consistently producing perfect registration. Trapping (choking or spreading images that require tight registration) can compensate for misregistration. Imaging plates directly on the press eliminates the problem of plate misalignment.

A proof used to ensure the correct page numbers, orientation, and dimensions are used in the final printout of an imposition layout. A good mockup is as close as possible to the finished product, and is of great value in showing trimming, folding and assembling in pieces involving complicated finishing operations, such as boxes.

Moirè pattern
Interference caused by incorrect halftone screen angles which results in an undesirable pattern in multi-colour printing. Images such as plaid or checkered fabrics can also interfere with the angles of the halftone screens. One advantage of stochastic screening is the reduction of obvious and subtle moirè patterns.

The colour attributes of an image made up of one or more tones of one hue.

Character spacing that is the same for all characters regardless of their shape or width (such as typewriter spacing).

The process of making a composite picture by bringing together into a single composition a number of different pictures or parts of pictures and arranging these to form a blended whole.

A texture similar to orange peel sometimes caused by sharpening. It is particularly visible in flat areas such as sky or skin.

Multichannel image
An digital image where the components of the image are spread over more than one digital channel. Refer to alpha channel.

A polyester film product developed by DuPont often used as the base for magnetically coated storage media.



The typographic design of a publication’s name as it appears on the cover of a publication. Also called a masthead) A nameplate is the distinctive portion of the front of any publication which usually contains the “name” of the publication, a logo, date and volume information and remains consistent in style from one issue to the next.

NCR paper
No Carbon Required paper. A special type of paper used for multi-copy forms. NCR paper has a special coating that combine under the pressure of a writing implement to produce an image where the pressure is applied (the first sheet of a 3 part NCR form would be coated on the back, the second sheet coated front and back, and the third sheet coated front). This paper comes in standard colour sequences for 2 part, 3 part, 4 part and 5 part forms. Forms are commonly padded at the head (glued at the top) in sets.

Negative leading
A type specification in which there is less space from baseline to baseline than the size of the type itself (for example 40-point type with 38-point leading).

Negative letterspacing
A type specification in which the space between characters is reduced beyond the default setting either by kerning or tracking.

Neutral density
A measurement of the lightness or darkness of a colour without reference to its hue or chroma. A neutral density of zero (0.00) is the lightest value possible and is equivalent to pure white; 3.294 is roughly equivalent to 100% of each of the CMYK components.

Neutralized colour
Any hue dulled by the addition of white, gray, black, or some of the complementary colour.

A coarse, absorbent, low-grade paper used for printing newspapers.

In the scanning context, this refers to random, incorrectly read pixel values, normally due to electrical interference or device instability. In an image, pixels with randomly distributed colour values. Adobe Photoshop provides filters to apply noise to an image.

Non-breaking space
In typesetting, a special space character placed between two words to keep the words from being separated by a line break.

Non-impact printer
Any printer that makes marks on the paper without striking it mechanically. The most common non-impact printers are ink-jet, thermal, and laser.

Image compression without loss of quality.



In graphics, a distinct entity. In many object-oriented applications, objects are framed by tiny square handles that enable manipulation.

Object-oriented graphics
Computer vector graphics based on the use of construction elements (graphic primitives) such as lines, curves, circles, and squares. These construction elements are defined mathematically rather than specifying the colour and position of each pixel and are combined to form complex images and text. This contrasts to bitmap images, which are composed of individual pixels.

A text style created by slanting a roman font to simulate italics.

Optical Character Recognition. The analysis of scanned data to recognize characters so that these can be converted into editable text. This is a method used to convert hard copy into text files. Because OCR depends upon comparing scanned images to a library of defined images, the attempt to scan faxes and other low grade documents can result in garbled text. OCR scans are far from perfect and require subsequent editing and clean-up.

The distance of an object from some (usually standard) reference point. Also, the transfer of ink from one surface to another. The undesirable effect produced when the pressure from cutting a printed job before the ink is dry caused the ink from the front of one sheet to transfer to the back of the sheet above it.

Offset lithography
The most common commercial, high-volume, ink-based printing process, in which ink adhering to image areas of a lithographic plate is transferred (offset) to a blanket cylinder before being applied to paper or other substrate.

Oldstyle numerals
Numerals positioned so that the body sits on the baseline, creating ascenders and descenders.

One-up, two-up, etc.
The number of identical images on a press sheet. Multiples of the same image are often run on the same press sheet to shorten the press time required to produce a job. This results in savings to the customer. When a job is quoted, it is planned to print on the most economical cut of the paper with the most economical number of multiple images possible on that cut. Multiples of different images placed on a press sheet are described on x-on. For example, two business cards, each having a different name, but running on the same press sheet would be described as one-up, two-on, while two business cards, each having the same name, would be described as two-up.

A material characteristic that prevents or restricts the transmission of light. Opacity also refers to the apparent transparency (or lack thereof) of a digital image (such as a layer) in a graphics program.

Open Prepress Interface. A set of PostScript language comments defining and specifying the placement of high-resolution images in PostScript files on an electronic page layout. A process used on desktop prepress systems where high resolution scans are made and specially linked low resolution images are used for placement in the layout. The linked low-res images are automatically swapped with the high-res images when the file is processed by the raster image processor. (Similar to APR.)

Optical resolution
In a scanner, a measurement of the amount of data captured for a given area of the scanned image, typically expressed in dots per inch (DPI). It’s important to note that the optical resolution refers to the true resolution of the scanner (usually 300 or 600 dpi for desktop models). When a scanner claims to be able to scan “up to” 2400 or 3600 dpi, this additional resolution is accomplished via software calculations, and is known as interpolated resolution. Refer to Resolution.

The first line of a paragraph that falls at the bottom of a text column and is separated from the remainder of the paragraph by a page or column break. Also, a word or very short line that appears by itself at the end of a paragraph. Compare widow. When a single word or line of type at the end of a paragraph falls at the beginning of the next page or column, and thus separated from the rest of the text, it is a widow.

The vector information that decribes the shape of a letter. Converting fonts to outlines in Adobe Illustrator converts the letters to vector outlines and preserves the letter shapes even if the computer opening the file does not have the originating fonts installed. In the field of graphic design, this is standard practice in preparing a file to be transferred from one computer to another.

Outline font
A font stored in a computer or printer as a set of templates from which the font characters, at various sizes, can be drawn.

Refer to misregistration.

Output device
Any hardware equipment, such as a laser printer or imagesetter, that images computer-generated text or graphics onto a substrate, such as film or paper.

Outside margin
In a book or magazine, the space between the fore-edge (the edge opposite the spine) trim and the text.

A font style in which a horizontal line appears above characters. Also, a brief tag line over a headline that categorizes the story.

The opposite of knockout. A printing technique in which all overlapping inks print on top of each other, and transparent inks blend to form a new colour. See also knockout, trapping.



Page break
The point at which the flow of text in a document moves to the top of a new page.

Page-description language
A programming language, such as PostScript, that is used to describe output to a printer or display device.

Pages per minute (PPM)
A rating of printer output, especially used with laser printers.

The process of dividing a document into pages for printing and/or of adding page numbers to the header or footer of each page.

A subset of the colour lookup table which establishes the number of colours that can be displayed on the screen at a particular time. Also a user-defined set of colours used in a graphics program.

To scan horizontally or vertically to bring off-screen portions of a display or image into view.

Pantone Matching System (PMS)
The most common colour matching system used by commercial printers for spot colour printing. The pantone matching system is comprised of ink formulas for mixing colours by weight using a standard set of basic colours. Swatch books with over 500 numbered colours allow the customer to specify the desired colour exactly, and allows the printer to maintain the same colour from press run to press run.

A thin, flexible material made from a pulp prepared from rags, wood, or other fibrous material, and used for writing or printing on, for packaging, as structural material, and so on.

Pastel colours
Colours resulting from adding white pigment to neutralized colours.

Traditionally, the process of assembling mechanicals by pasting galleys and line art in place. In desktop publishing, traditional pasteup has largely been replaced by electronic page assembly.

In file storage, the route followed by the operating system to find, store, or retrieve files on a disk. In graphics, the vector description of an accumulation of line segments or curves. Vector paths can be filled, stroked, used as masks and clipping paths and type may be made to follow or fit within such paths.

Perspective view
A display method that shows objects in three dimensions with the depth aspect rendered according to its perceived relative distance or position.

See Ghost.

Photo CD
A method created by Kodak for scanning and storing photographic images on CD ROM.

Pi font
A font made up of non-standard characters such as arrows, map symbols, bullets, and dingbats.

In typography, a unit of measurement equal to 12 points or approximately one-sixth inch.

The pulling off of particles from a paper’s surface during printing. Particles accumulate on the plate or blanket, causing printing defects.

A file-format for encoding both bitmapped and object-oriented graphical images. A format for defining images and drawings on the Macintosh platform. PICT 2 supports 24-bit colour. Pict files are not universally supported by printing devices, and are not recommended for graphic reproduction.

Picture window
A clear rectangle in a negative into which a halftone negative would be stripped by the printer. This has become unnecessary because of the function of page layout programs in combining photos and text prior to the creation of film, plates or direct to press imaging.

A substance, usually a powder, added to a liquid binder to give colour to paints or inks. Some properties of pigments include lightfastness (non-permanent pigments are know as fugitive) transparency and hue.

A measure of fixed-width fonts that describes the number of characters that fit in a horizontal inch. Refer to Monospacing.

Picture element. A tiny rectangular element in the rectilinear grid of the computer screen that is either “painted” on or off to form an image or character. If a pixel is black-and-white, it can be encoded with only 1 bit of information. If the pixel must represent a larger range of colours or shades of gray, the pixel must be encoded with more bits of information as follows 2 bits for four colours or shades of gray, 4 bits for sixteen colours or shades of gray, and so on. An image of 2 colours is called a bitmap; an image of more than 2 colours is called a pixel map.

Pixel map
The data structure of a colour graphic which includes the colour, resolution, dimensions, storage information, and number of bits used to describe each pixel. When only 1 bit per pixel is used, the data structure is called a bitmap.

Pixel skipping
A means of reducing image resolution by simply deleting pixels throughout the image.

Plate cylinder
Cylinder on a rotary press to which the metal printing plate is attached.

An image carrier made of polyester or aluminum used on a press. Plates are coated with a photochemical emulsion which is exposed by a light source in a vacuum contact frame, or by a laser in the case of computer-to-plate or direct-to-press applications. The exposed image becomes ink receptive and the unexposed area repels ink. During offset printing the image is transferred from the plate to a rubber blanket which then transfers the image to the paper (the soft blanket more easily conforms to the surface of the paper).

The process of exposing and developing the photochemical plate used to transfer the image on an offset press.

The cylinder used in most impact printers and typewriters around which the paper wraps and against which the print mechanism strikes the paper. In letterpress printing and foiling, the surface of the press against which the type or die presses, and which allows the transfer of the image.

A type of removable hard disk drive. Also commonly referred to as a Syquest Drive. No longer in common usage.

To create a graphic or a diagram by connecting points representing values defined by their positions in relation to the x (horizontal) axis, y (vertical) axis, and z (depth) axis.

Any device used to draw charts, diagrams, and other line-based graphics.

(Pantone Matching System) A commonly used system for identifying specific ink colours. The North American printing industry standard for defining non-process colours. Refer to Pantone Matching System.

Acronym for photomechanical transfer. PMTs are created by exposing a photosensitive paper image carrier through a negative, positive or on a camera; sandwiching this carrier with a receptor paper and processing the sandwich through a special processor. The latent, unstable image on the carrier is transferred to the receiver paper which results in a high quality, stable line or halftone image. Prior to the advent of page layout programs and imagesetters, images were commonly made into PMTs for paste-up purposes.

A typographical unit of measure equal to approximately 1/72 inch, often used to indicate the height of type characters or the amount of space between lines of text (leading). There are 12 points in a pica.

Any two-dimensional closed shape consisting of three or more sides. Triangles, rectangles, hexagons, octagons, etc. are all polygons.

A line consisting of two or more connected segments.

Portrait mode
A page orientation in which the horizontal dimension of the image follows the narrower dimension of a rectangular page.

Portrait monitor
A computer display with a shape higher than it is wide, used to display an 8.5-by-11-inch page at full size in portrait mode.

To limit all the values in an continuous tone image to some smaller number, resulting in the conversion of continuous tone data into a series of visible tonal steps or bands.

A page-description language from Adobe Systems that offers flexible font capability and high-quality graphics. PostScript is the copyrighted term for the Page Description Language owned by the Adobe Corporation. PostScript defines images as vector (outline) information permitting extreme flexibility in scaling, colour, shading, position, rotation, etc.

PostScript Printer Description file
See PPD.

Acronym for PostScript Printer Description, a file format developed by Adobe Systems, Inc., that contains information enabling application software to optimize PostScript printing by utilizing the printer properties described for each type of designated printer.

Pixels per Inch. Units of measurement for bitmapped or pixel mapped images. The number of pixels in a linear inch (as opposed to a square inch). Therefore, a 72-ppi monitor displays 72 pixels per linear inch, or 5,184 (72 x 72) pixels per square inch. PPI is technically the correct terminology for describing image and monitor resolution, as apposed to DPI

See Pages per minute.

Evaluating an electronic file before sending it to an imagesetter, platesetter, large format printer, direct-to-press or any other reproduction device, specifically for the purpose of detecting and correcting any problems that would render the resulting film, plates, or large format prints or press sheets unusable. A typical preflight check would involve ensuring that all linked images and fonts are supplied, that all information needed for output is available, that images destined for process colour printing are CMYK, not RGB, that image file formats are supported and are high resolution, that trapping has been applied where necessary and only the desired colours have been applied to images. Preflighting a job is a chargeable service designed to save the customer money by preventing wasted materials and labour due to deficiencies in customer supplied files.

Any of the operations required to prepare a digital file, or mechanical artwork for printing, including the production of plates or the transfer of files to the imaging device in computer-to-plate or direct-to-press processes.

Prepress service provider
In the publishing industry, the generic term for colour separation houses, commercial printers, electronic prepress houses, service bureaus, and in-plant printers or any company that provides prepress operations. Refer to prepress.

Press Proof
A proof actually run on a press, using the printing inks and substrates as specified for the finished job. Because the printer must keep the job on the press while the customer examines the press proof for approval, customers are generally charged press time until the approval is received. This can be a very expensive proofing method, and is discouraged, except when the cost is justified in the case of an extremely prestigious job.

Press sheet
In sheet-fed printing, the printed sheet of paper that comes off the press.

Primary colour
The hues from which other colours can be mixed. The additive primaries (for projected light) are red, green, and blue. When added together, these hues form white light. The standard pigment primaries are red, yellow and blue. The subtractive four colour process primaries are cyan, magenta, and yellow and black.

A shape, such as a line, curve, circle, or polygon, that can be drawn, stored, or manipulated as a discrete entity by a graphics program.

Print buffer
An area of memory to which print output can be sent for temporary storage until the printer is ready to handle it. A print buffer can be located in a computer’s random-access memory, in the printer, on a disk, or in a special memory unit between the computer and the printer. Refer to Print Spooler.

A computer peripheral that puts computer-generated text and images on paper or other medium.

Printer controller
The processing hardware in a printer, including the raster image processor, the memory, and the microprocessor.

Printer engine
The portion of a printer that performs the actual printing. Many printer engines are self-contained units that are easily replaced.

Printer font
A font residing in or intended for a printer. Printer fonts differ from screen fonts which are intended for displaying characters on a computer screen. Also known as Type 1 Fonts or Outline Fonts, printer fonts are Postscript language programs that mathematically describe the appearance of each character in a font, using lines and curves. Printer fonts generate smooth output on-screen and on a postscript printer at any size. You must have a printer font installed for any typeface you print. This category can include TrueType fonts, as well as Postscript fonts.

Printer’s marks
The marks printed on a press sheet or film to aid in positioning the print area on the press sheet, checking the quality of the printed image, and trimming the final pages. Printer’s marks may include calibration bars, crop marks, and registration marks.

Printer spread
A pair of pages positioned across a fold from each other on the press sheet. The pages in a printer spread are positioned so that when the final press sheets are collated and folded, the pages will be in the proper order, as opposed to reader spreads, which have consecutive pages on the same sheet to simplify proofreading. Beware of setting up a saddle-stitched document in reader spreads, unless you plan to convert it to printer spreads prior to submitting to a printer. Some programs do not allow linked documents to easily be converted to printer spreads so it can be expensive for the printer to spend the extra time to impose the pages properly for printing.

Process colours
The four transparent inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) used in four-colour process printing. See also Colour separation.

Print head
The part of a printer that mechanically controls the imprinting of characters on paper. The print head can consist of pins that strike a ribbon, ink jets, or pins that pass an electrostatic charge to the paper.

Printing plates
The metallic or polyester sheets, usually imaged from film negatives or directly from a digital file, used to transfer ink to paper (actually, to the printing blanket) on a commercial printing press. One plate is required for each colour being printed.

Print job
Any number of characters, images, pages, or documents sent to a printer as a single unit.

Print quality
The clarity of printer output, partly determined by resolution, but subject to many factors such as moisture content of the paper, screen frequency designated in the print file, etc.

Print server
A computer dedicated to managing a network printer.

Print spooler
Software that intercepts a print job on its way to the printer and sends it to a disk or memory where it can be held until the printer is ready to process it.

Process colour
Any one of the subtractive primary colours (cyan, magenta, yellow or black). Process colour may also refer to the technique of creating full colour images by blending percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks. See also spot colour.

Manipulating data within a computer system. In a RIP system, processing means rasterizing the data and outputting it to film or other medium.

The colour characteristics of an input or output device, used by a colour management system to enhance colour fidelity.

A reasonably accurate representation of how a finished page is intended to look. Proofs can be in black and white or colour.

One side of a leaf of a book, magazine, newspaper, letter, and so on.

To check typeset material for spelling, punctuation, and basic document layout (alignment of elements, etc.).

Proportional font
A set of characters with a variable amount of horizontal space allotted to each. For example, the letter ihas less space allotted to it than the letter w.

Proportional spacing
A type of character spacing in which the horizontal space each character occupies is proportional to the width of the character.

Pull quote
A sentence or phrase excerpted from the body copy and set in large type, used to break up running text and draw the reader’s attention to the page. Also known as a blurb, breakout, or callout. Pull-quotes (also called out-quotes) are short phrases or sentences taken from body copy and emphasized by enlargement, boxing, or colour background to highlight surrounding content.

Beaten and refined vegetable fibers (cellulose) to which chemicals and fillers are added, used to make paper.



Quality factor
A multiplication factor applied to output screen ruling to calculate scanning resolution for optimum output quality. Refer to halftoning factor.

Quarter tone
Tonal value of dot, located approximately halfway between highlight and midtone. Tones between shadow and midtones are known as 3/4 tones and those between highlight and midtones are known as 1/4 tones.

Any number (positive or negative, whole or fractional) used to indicate a value.

A stored arrangement of computer data or programs, waiting to be processed (usually in the order in which they were received).



The irregularity along the left or right edge of a column of text.

Type which is set with an uneven alignment of characters on the left or right side has been set ragged. A common alignment choice is “flush left/ragged right” type. Because of its poor legibility, “flush right/ragged left” type alignment is rarely used.

Ragged right
Text alignment that is flush on the left margin and uneven on the right.

Rag paper
Paper containing at least 25% rag or cotton fiber pulp.

Radial fill
A fill that is projected from a center point outward in all directions.

The illusion of a gradual change from one colour to another, like the effect of an airbrush, created in the software by a series of discrete steps.

A rectangular pattern of lines. A synonym for grid. Sometimes used to refer to the grid of addressable positions in an output device.

Raster graphics
A method of generating graphics in which images are stored as multitudes of small, independently controlled dots (pixels) arranged in rows and columns.

Raster image
An image formed by patterns of light and dark pixels in a rectangular array. See also bitmap.

Raster image processor (RIP)
A hardware and/or software device that converts vector graphics and/or text to raster images.

The process of converting digital information into pixels. Also the process used by an imagesetter to translate PostScript files before they are imaged to film or paper. See also RIP.

Reader spread
A layout made in two-page spreads as readers would see them. For example, an 11 by 17 reader’s spread of a 16-page manual would have pages 2 and 3 next to each other and so on. Refer to Printer Spread.

500 sheets of paper.

Recto page
The right-hand page of an open book or spread. Opposite of verso page.

See RGB.

The change in direction of particular wavelengths of light by bending or throwing back off a surface.

Reflective Art/Copy
Artwork prepared so that it may be photographed or input into a computer by scanning or digital capture.

In desktop publishing, to change the way a page looks by altering its layout, fonts, etc. In data storage, to prepare a disk for reuse which already contains data, effectively destroying the existing data.

The bending of light as it passes from one medium to another, separating the light into different wavelengths that show their hues.

The process of precisely aligning elements or superimposing layers in a document or a graphic so that everything will print in the correct relative position. The precise alignment of the various colour plates used when printing. In order to properly register plates on press, printers rely on the placement of registration marks on film or mechanicals. Refer to Misregistration.

Registration marks
Marks placed on a page so that in printing, the elements or layers in a document can be arranged correctly with respect to each other. Figures (usually crossed lines and a circle) placed outside the trim page boundaries in colour separation overlays to provide a common element for proper alignment.

Recorder element. The minimum distance between two recorded points (spots) in an imagesetter.

The creation of an image containing geometric models, using colour and shading to give the image a realistic look.

To recalculate the page numbering in a document.

A new impression or a second or subsequent edition of a printed work. Also, the publication in one country of a work previously published in another.

A shortening of the term Graphic Reproduction.

Reprographic paper
Copier paper.

A term used to define image resolution instead of ppi. Res 12 indicates 12 pixels per millimetre.

An increase or reduction in the number of pixels in an image, required to change its resolution without altering its size. See also down-sampling and interpolation. Altering the amount of data in an image by changing its size and/or resolution. Reducing the file size of an image containing more information than is necessary for final output is an example of resampling, and is done in Photoshop by choosing “Image Size” from the “Image” menu. Attempting to increase the resolution of an image by resampling up will still produce an inferior image, despite interpolation. See also resolution.

To change the size of an image while maintaining its resolution.

The clarity or fineness of detail attained by a printer or monitor in producing an image. Resolution is often expressed as the number of pixels per inch in a displayed image, the number of dots per inch in printer output, or the number of bits per pixel. The amount of data available to represent graphic detail in a given area. In an image file or on a computer monitor, resolution refers to the number of pixels in a linear inch (PPI); on a printer, to the number of dots printed in a linear inch (DPI); on a scanner, to the number of samples saved for a given area of the scanned image; and in a halftone, to the number of lines of halftone dots per inch (LPI). See also optical resolution, screen resolution.

To edit an image to eliminate imperfections or simply to alter it. Retouching can be done by hand, by airbrush, or electronically by prepress software.

Type appearing in white or other light colour on a black or dark background. Sometimes called a knockout if the type is the colour of the paper.

Reverse Print
Mirrored type or image.

To return to the last saved version of a document.

Acronym for red, green, blue. The colours of projected Light which, when combined, simulate a subset of the visual spectrum. See also CMYK.

RGB monitor
A colour monitor that receives red, green, and blue levels over separate lines.

Rich Text Format (RTF)
A Microsoft adaptation of Document Content Architecture (DCA) that is used for transferring formatted text documents between applications or platforms.

Right-reading, emulsion-side-down, page art
Art printed as a negative on film in such a way that the type reads correctly (left to right) when the emulsion side of the film is facing down.

Acronym for raster image processor, the part of an output device or imagesetter that converts digital information into dots on film or paper. See also Rasterize. A software program (usually resident on a laser printer or imagesetter) that interprets PostScript page information and translates it into data needed by the printing engine to produce printed dots.

Unsightly white space that seems to run through a text column when word spacing is too loose.

A type face or type style in which the characters are upright. Compare italic and oblique.

To change the angle of a graphic image or type. It is better to rotate an image in the native graphic program instead of the page layout program because this reduces the time it takes to rasterize the image in an output device.

A loosely sketched graphic design idea, usually in felt markers on tracing paper.

A series of items arranged horizontally within some type of framework or matrix. Compare column.

Rels (recorder elements) per inch. A measurement of the number of discrete steps that exposure units in imagesetting devices can make per inch.

See Rich Text Format.

Rubber banding
In computer graphics, changing the shape of an object made up of connected lines by selecting a point on an anchored line and dragging it to a new location.

Two-layer acetate film of red or amber (Amberlith) emulsion on a clear base for used for hand cutting masks for platemaking.

A line printed above, below, or to the side of text or some other element. Rules can be created in a variety of thickness (referred to as rule weight), although the rule described as a hairline in many page layout programs is too thin to properly reproduce and should be avoided. Rules can be solid, screened, or vignetted in black or coloured ink.

In some application programs, a non-printing screen measuring tool extending horizontally across the page, marked off in inches or some other unit of measure, used to show line and column widths, tab settings, paragraph indents, and so on. Some programs may also employ a ruler along the vertical edge of the document.

Run around
In page composition, to position text so that it flows around an illustration or other items. Also called text wrap.

Run-in head
A subhead, usually in bold or italic type, which is part of a paragraph.

Paper qualities (strength, dimensional stability, cleanliness, and surface integrity) that determine how well a sheet performs on the press.

Running head, running foot
One or more lines of text in the top (head) or bottom (foot) margin area of a page, composed of one or more elements such as the page number, the name of the chapter, the date, and so on. See also Header, Footer.



Sans Serif Type
Sans serif typefaces have straight stems and cross-bars with no tiny extensions or decorations at the end of any letter part. Examples of common sans serif types are Helvetica, Franklin Gothic and Univers. A typeface in which the characters have no serifs (short lines or ornaments at the upper or lower end of character strokes). A sans serif typeface usually has a straightforward, geometric appearance. See also serif.

Purity or intensity of hue. The less saturated a colour is, the less visible the hue is. Desaturated colours are often described as washed-out.

Scalable font
Any font that can be scaled to produce characters of varying sizes.

The act of reducing or enlarging an image, while leaving the amount of image data intact.

Scanned image
Image created by the process of placing hardcopy in a device that projects light onto (reflective copy) or through (transmissive copy) the original and records that light as a bitmapped or pixel mapped image.

An electronic device that digitizes and converts photographs, slides, paper images, or other two-dimensional images into bitmapped or pixel mapped images. Scanners project light onto, or through, an original and record that light as electronic data.

Another name for clipping.

To crease with a dull rule in preparation for folding. Cover stock, card stock and heavy papers require scores to prevent cracking.

A pattern of dots used to reproduce colour or grayscale continuous-tone images. The fineness of the screen can vary from 55 lines to 200 or more lines per inch. Eighty-five-line screens are commonly used for printing on newsprint. Better paper can accommodate finer line screens. See also AM screening, FM screening, and halftone. Screens are also the “tinting” or “shading” of a solid image area. Tint screens are defined in percentages from 99% to 1% of solid (which is 100%). Tint screens can be applied to practically any graphic image including type.

Screen angle
The degree of rotation at which a halftone screen is printed. In process colour and duotone printing, the halftone screens for each colour must be printed at a different angle to avoid moirè (interference) patterns when the colours are superimposed. In process colour printing black is normally angled at 45 degrees, magenta at 75 degrees, cyan at 105 degrees, and yellow at 90 degrees. These angles are chosen for elimination of the screen interference and assigned to particular colours to avoid the screen becoming too apparent. A 45 degree angle is the least noticeable, so it is assigned to the darkest colour (black), while 90 degrees is the most visible and is assigned to the lightest colour (yellow). In the case of duotones, the darker colour is assigned a 45 degree screen angle and the lighter colour is assigned a 75 degree angle (the same as magenta in process work). When precisely registered the combined angles of the screen form a well distributed pattern known as a rosette. Because of the balanced nature of this rosette, the halftone screen is not obvious on the printed piece.

Screen dump
A copy of the computer screen, taken by copying video memory or main memory and then converting it to an image file. Also called a snapshot and screen shot.

Screen font
Also called bitmapped fonts, screen fonts are maps of dots (used by computer monitors) that represent specific fonts at specific sizes. You must install one bitmapped font for each Postscript printer font you have installed. TrueType fonts do not require screen fonts.

Screen frequency/screen resolution/screen ruling
Refer to Halftone screen frequency.

Secondary colour
A colour created from mixing two primary colours. See primary colour.

A PostScript file format created from PageMaker that can contain multiple pages as well as links in the form of OPI comments to high-resolution images, in colour or in black and white.

Artwork for commercial printing that has been separated into individual pages containing components of each colour. Process colour separations are represented on four pages (usually film) consisting of combinations of the four process colours. Spot colour separations consist of one page, or piece of film, for each spot colour used. See Colour separation.

Serif Type
Serifs are the tiny decorative extensions applied to the ends of a type font’s character. Serifs enhance reading flow and reduce eye strain in long, text-heavy documents and books. Examples of common serif types are Palatino, Times, Garamond, and Bodoni.

Service bureau
A company that specializes in providing prepress services such as film output from electronic files.

See screen.

The darkest part of an image, represented in the halftone by the largest dots.

Sheet-fed press
A printing press that is fed by individual sheets of paper, rather than a roll, or “web”. See also web press.

Sheetwise imposition
A layout in which different plates are used to print the front and back of a press sheet. Sheetwise impositions are commonly used for creating book signatures for multiple-page documents among other uses.

An adjustment for the way page images in a folded signature tend to move toward the outer or facing edge of a book (an occurrence called creep). The amount of shingling needed steadily increases as you move toward the center signatures in the book.

A sidebar is a short article that accompanies a longer, feature article. Sidebars can amplify content or tie related information to the feature.

In bookwork, a completed press sheet containing page impositions in multiples of four, before folding, collating, binding, and trimming.

A silhouette is created when a photograph or illustration’s background is dropped away. Silhouetting is also referred to as “outlining” or “close-cropping.”

To slant an object by a prescribed degree.

Slab Serif Type
When a type font’s serifs are squared off, rather than tapered to a point, they are referred to as slab serif types. Examples of common slab serif types are Courier, Lubalin and Egyptiennes.

Small caps
A font of capital letters which are slightly smaller than the standard capital letters in that typeface. A true small cap font has been specially designed so the capital letters that make up the so-called lowercase have the same weight strokes to balance with the actual capitals. Using a smaller type size for the small cap letters results in the small caps looking weaker than the true capitals.

The adjusting of a bitmap image by rounding the jagged edges to give them a more uniform look, usually by using the appropriate filters in Adobe Photoshop. Careless use of the smoothing filter can result in a blurred image.

Flatness of the surface of a sheet of paper, a factor in the printability of the sheet. Smoothness is a requisite for achieving crisp images in laser printing.

A drawing feature that causes objects to align with an invisible grid when created, moved, resized, or rotated.

Snap grid
An invisible grid to which an object snaps when you create, move, resize, or rotate it.

A screen dump. A copy of the video screen, taken by copying video memory or main memory and then converting to an image file.

Soft copy
The temporary images presented on a computer display screen. See also hard copy.

Soft font
A downloadable font.

Soft return
A line break inserted in a document that only takes effect when the word following the soft return would extend into the page margin.

A photographic effect in which the image combines positive and negative areas, Solarization can be accomplished by exposing the film to light during processing or by using retouching software.

Isolated light pixels in predominantly dark image areas, sometimes caused by incorrect readings or noise in the scanning device.

Specular highlight
In a halftone, a bright reflection containing no halftone highlight dot. See highlights.

An extremely accurate colour measurement device using a diffraction grating to split light into its component wavelengths, which are then measured by numerous light sensors.

Spiral binding
Mechanical binding using a plastic coil passing through pre-drilled holes.

A composite dot created through the halftoning process. A spot is composed of a group of dots arranged in a pattern reflecting the gray level of a pixel to be drawn at a particular location.

Spot colour
Any premixed ink that is not one of or a combination of the four process colour inks. A colour that is produced by printing an ink of that specific colour, rather than creating the colour by combining CMYK inks (e.g., printing green ink as opposed to printing cyan ink on top of yellow ink). See also process colour.

(1) A spread is the relative viewing position of a pair of left and right-hand pages in a book or publication. A “reader’s” spread is the consecutive placement of pages by page numbers. A “printer’s” spread is the imposed position of pages based on how many pages are in the publication. (2) A colour trapping option in which a colour object overlaps into the knockout to allow some overprinting to occur where the colours meet. In trapping, the lighter colour is spread so the overprinting is less visible and the darker colour defines the shape of the image. Opposite of choke. Also refer to knockout.

Stacking order
The order in which text and graphics overlap in a page layout program.

The jagged appearance of a graphic line or curve when reproduced using pixels. Also called jaggies. See aliasing.

A layout in which two or more copies of the same piece are placed on a single plate. This is useful for printing several copies of a small layout, such as a business card, on a single sheet. Also called a multiple-up layout.

Stochastic screening
A relatively new technology for reproducing continuous tone images through the printing process, involving the placement of miniscule, random spots of process colours on paper rather than the repeating pattern of uniform dots used in standard halftone screening. It eliminates colour shifts caused by slight misregistration, and is used widely (and very effectively) in large-format digital colour printing devices.

One or more lines drawn through a range of text. This is often used in electronic text editing to indicate text that is to be deleted at some future time.

The act of assembling individual film negatives into flats for printing. Also referred to as film assembly. The preparation and assembling of film prior to platemaking.

(1) A line representing part of a letter or other type character. (2) The colour applied to the perimeter of an object in a graphics program (as opposed to fill which is the overall colour of the object). Most graphics programs allow the user to specify the thickness of the stroke.

The part of a perforated form, ticket, cheque, etc, usually numbered, that is retained after the other part is distributed.

A variation of a typeface, such as bold or italic.

Style sheet
A file of instructions used to apply character, paragraph, and page formats to a document.

A pen-like pointing device, usually attached to a graphics tablet.

A character printed smaller than standard text and positioned slightly below the baseline; commonly used in mathematical and chemical notation.

A subhead is smaller than a headline and larger than body copy. Subheads are useful for breaking up long articles, identifying specific content for the reader, and giving the reader a break from long passages of copy.

The basis weight of certain grades of paper. For example, 20 lb bond is also called substance 20 or sub 20.

The base material used to carry or support an image, for example paper or film.

Subtractive primaries
Cyan, magenta and yellow are the subtractive primaries. Refer to Colour, subtractive.

The capture of more grey levels per colour than is required for image manipulation or output. This additional data allows shadow details to be heightened, for example.

A character printed smaller than standard text and positioned slightly above the baseline of the surrounding text; commonly used in reference citation and mathematical and technical notation.

Surface Print
Wrong reading plate or Wrong reading emulsion down film.

To print one image or colour over another. Refer to Overprint.

Acronym for Specifications for Web Offset Publications. A standard set of specifications for separations, proofs, and colour printing established to ensure consistent quality in magazine and other web printing applications.

To align the baselines of body paragraphs along a page grid.



A character used to vertically align text or figures on the screen or page. Tab alignment is particularly important in the typesetting of tables. Tab commands can be used inside columns in most page layout programs.

A data structure characterized by rows and columns with data potentially occupying each cell formed by the intersection of row and column.

Table lookup
The process of using a known value to search for data in a previously constructed table of values.

(1) A standard sheet size of 11″ x 17″. (2) A large-format publication, usually half the size of a standard newspaper.

An identifier used to categorize or locate data. See profile.

Tag Image File Format

Teasers are short phrases placed on the outside front cover which are meant to increase the reader’s interest in the publication’s inside contents.

An electronic prototype of a publication that provides the layout grid and style sheet necessary to create documents. Templates are predetermined and saved formats for page layouts. They are designed to be used as a starting point for each successive page or issue. Templates can also be used as guides to the imposition of multiple-up documents. The use of templates saves time and reduces errors in layout formats.

Text paper
A fine-paper weight designed specifically for use for internal pages of books, or as letterheads and other documents requiring a high-quality medium weight paper. Many text stocks have matching cover weights that, aside from the obvious use as covers, can be used for business cards which match the letterhead. Some text stocks also have matching envelopes.

(1) In computer graphics, shading and other attributes applied to a graphical image to give it the appearance of a physical substance. (2) In reference to paper, the tactile properties of the paper surface such as writing laid, linen finish, felt, smooth, etc. Paper texture can have a marked effect on the type of image which can be printed or the process which can be used for printing on a particular paper.

Thermal printer
A non-impact printer that uses heat to generate an image on specially treated paper.

Thermal wax-transfer printer
A special type of non-impact printer that uses heat to melt coloured wax onto paper to create an image. A printing process using small heating elements to melt dots of wax pigment on a carrier film, which are then transferred to paper or transparent film by contact. This differs from the dye sublimation process in that individual dots do not fuse together, so thermal wax transfer appears to be of a lower resolution.

Printing process in which an engraved or embossed look is simulated by adhering a clear powder to wet ink and applying heat to fuse the powder and produce a raised surface on the image. Thermography is not suitable for letterheads or other printed product that will be subsequently subjected to heat such as the heat present in the fuser assembly in a laser printer.

Thin Space
A thin space is rarely used today. It was originally developed when hot metal was the popular form of typesetting and situations often arose where a minute amount of space was needed to center or justify a line of type. The only common use for thin spaces is placing them before and after an em or an en dash. A thin space is approximately one-third the width of an en space. Thin spaces are achieved in most layout programs by applying custom kerning to the space in question.

The point at which an action begins or changes. The tonal threshold setting used in scanning in a bitmap mode determines which values are converted to black and which will become white. The tonal threshold defined in the unsharp masking process determines how large a contrast between adjacent colour values must be before sharpening will be applied.

Rough sketch, display, or printout of a page layout. Thumbnails are reduced in size to fit several on a single page.

Tick marks
Marks on a ruler showing the increments of measure.

Acronym for Tagged Image File Format, a file format developed by Aldus, Microsoft, and leading scanner vendors for bitmap images. A TIFF image can be monochrome (black and white), grayscale, or colour, with a bit depth ranging from 1-bit to 32-bit. TIFF is a lossless file format commonly used for scanning, storage, and interchange of bitmapped and pixel mapped images.

Tiling is the process of joining sheets containing partial images together to create oversized sheets. This process is used when an output unit does not have the size capabilities available to produce the image in one piece at 100% size. Printing portions of a document at 100%, aligning them with each other and taping them together is a common form of tiling.

A value of any colour ranging from 1% to 99%. Tints are produced in offset printing by using a halftone screen or combination of halftone screens. Refer to Halftone Screen.

Tissue overlay
Sheet of tissue paper on a piece of artwork or mechanical with instructions to the printer, including colour indications.

A value of a colour, ranging from 0% to 100%. Refer to Tint.

Tone curves
The two dimensional representation of the tonal values of an image as a curve on x and y axes. This curve can be used to manipulate particular points in the tonal range of an image, or to affect the overall tonal range. Graphic programs such as Adobe Photoshop provide access to tone curves for each separate colour channel for multicolour images.

Plastic magnetic ink used in the Xerographic method of printing.

Toner cartridge
A disposable container that holds toner for a laser printer or other similar Xerographic imaging device.

Total ink coverage
In process colour printing, the maximum total amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink that will be printed to create the darkest shadows in an image. Although 400% is theoretically possible (100% for each of the CMYK inks), a maximum of 280-300% is recommended to reduce printing problems. Attempting to print 100% of each colour can result in paper sticking to the blanket cylinder of a press, or in one ink layer not adhering to properly to the layer below. Heavy ink coverage is reduced by the process of GCR (gray component replacement) and UCR (under colour removal) in which the overlapping values of cyan, magenta and yellow are removed and replaced with values of black. This is accomplished by the settings applied either at the scan level or in the look-up tables of in colour separation software.

The overall adjustment of the amount of space between letters and words is tracking. Tracking increases and decreases word density and can be used for copyfitting purposes. Adjustment of tracking is often needed with “justified” type to even out the rivers of white space within body copy. Creative tracking can also remove widows, orphans, bad word-breaks, and undesirable hyphenation. Tracking is different from kerning, in that tracking is applied to words, lines, paragraphs or pages, and kerning is applied specifically to pairs of letters to compensate for unpleasant spacing caused by the particular letter combinations.

(1) Film colour positive. Common transparency sizes are 35mm, 4″ x 5″ and 8″ x 10″ (2) Any image on a transparent carrier, such as presentation transparencies used for overhead projection.

(1) The property of a material that allows virtually all of the visible light spectrum to pass through it (glass is transparent). (2) Operation that is either automatic or so easy or intuitive as to be “invisible” to the user.

Trap, Trapping
The process of creating an overlap between abutting colours to compensate for imprecision or misregistration in the printing process, which otherwise would cause the paper colour to show through in certain areas. (Sometimes called “chokes and spreads.”) See also knockout, overprint.

Three colours taken at approximately equal distances apart on the colour wheel.

To cut away folded or uneven edges. Also, the final size of a printed page.

Trim page size
Area of the finished page after the job is printed, bound, and trimmed.

A halftone image made up of three spot colours (usually two colours plus black).

To cut off the beginning or end of a series of characters or numbers or part of an image.

Turnaround time
The time from the submission of a job to the completion of that job.

The characters that make up printed text. As a verb, to enter information by means of a keyboard.

A specific, named design of a set of printed characters, such as Helvetica or Courier, that has a specified obliqueness and stroke weight. A typeface is not the same as a font, which is a typeface in a specific size (for example, 10-point Helvetica).

Typeface family
The collection of all related typefaces, such as Helvetica, Helvetica Bold, Helvetica Oblique, and Helvetica Bold Oblique.

Type size
The size of printed characters, usually measured in points.

Type style
The specific obliqueness or stroke weight of a typeface. In some page layout programs, type style may also refer to special type effects, such as outline, shadow, or strikethrough.

The choice and arrangement of type. Good typography requires a thorough understanding of communication, and the role of letter shapes, size, spacing and style in successfully achieving that communication.



Abbreviation for under colour removal, a technique for minimizing ink coverage. In this printing process black ink is substituted where there are equal percentages of cyan, magenta, and yellow inks. UCR is identical to GCR (Gray Component Replacement), except that it is applied only to neutral or shadow areas of the printed image. UCR uses less ink and can eliminate ink coverage problems in dark areas without altering colour saturation or hue. See GCR.

Uncoated offset paper
A good quality, general-purpose printing paper that has not been coated with the clay covering used on gloss and matte coated stocks. Offset stocks are also referred to as book stocks.

A line set at or slightly below the baseline of one or more letters of text.


Capital letters, such as A, B, C. The name is derived from the practice of placing capitalized letters in the top (upper) case of a pair of type cases. See lowercase.

Upward compatibility
A computer product, especially software, designed to perform adequately with computer products expected to become widely used in the foreseeable future.

Unsharp masking. A process used to sharpen images.



The lightness or darkness or shade of a colour.

In computer graphics, a path drawn from a starting point to an ending point, both of which are coordinates in a rectangular grid with horizontal (x) and vertical (y) axes. Vectors are used in draw programs to create graphical images which are composed of keypoints and paths, as well as fill and stroke instructions.

The process of turning a bitmap into a Vector.

Vector objects
Artwork or text characters constructed from mathematical statements instead of individual pixels. Vector objects usually take less disk space than bitmap images and can be scaled to virtually any size without losing visual quality. Fonts (such as PostScript and TrueType), illustrations from drawing applications, and files from page-layout applications are common examples of vector objects.

Verso page
The left-hand page of an open book or spread. Opposite of recto page.

In general context, an image in which the colours or tones gradually bleed out into the background. In prepress, often used to refer to a continuous gradation of colours. See graduated fill.

Diagonal slash or solidus (/).

Visible spectrum
Wavelengths perceived by the human eye as colours.

Visual neutral density
The degree to which a colour is perceived to be light or dark. Prepress service providers measure visual neutral density using a densitometer with no process filters.



Warm colour
A subset of colours roughly including yellow and the range extending to the adjacent secondaries in both directions on the colour spectrum.

An identifying design impressed on paper during manufacture. Custom watermarks were formerly the indication of wealth and prestige.

Web press
A printing press that is fed by a roll, or “web” of paper, rather than individual sheets. See also sheet-fed press.

(1) The density of letters, traditionally described as light, regular, bold, extra bold, etc. (2) A measurement of the thickness of paper, based on the weight of a ream of paper at the parent size, also known as basis weight or substance.

White point
A movable reference point that defines the lightest area in an image, causing all other areas to be adjusted accordingly.

White space
The areas of the page without text or graphics, used as a deliberate element in good graphic design.

A single word, portion of a word, or a few short words left on a line by themselves at the end of a paragraph or column of type. Usually considered undesirable on the printed page, a widow can usually be eliminated through editing or rewording. See orphan.

The horizontal measure of letters, described as condensed, normal, and expanded.

Wire-o binding
Elegant mechanical binding using double series of wire loops through slots rather than holes.

Word space
The amount of space between words.

The function of a word processor that breaks lines of text automatically so that they stay within the page or column margins. Line breaks created by wordwrap are called soft returns.

Work-and-tumble layout
A layout in which a single plate is used to print both sides of a two-sided job. The paper is run through once, then flipped over, top to bottom, to run on the opposite side. The gripper edge changes from the edge that was the head on the first pass to the edge that was the tail.

Work-and-turn layout
A layout in which a single plate is used to print both sides of a two-sided job. The paper is run through once, then flipped over, side to side, to run on the opposite side. Both sides use the same gripper edge to hold the paper for positioning, and repeat the same sequence of pages on both sides.

Smooth paper finish.

Wraparound text
Text that wraps around a graphic. Also called runaround text. When type is shortened or follows around an illustration, graphic, or photograph, it is called a wrap-around type.

(pronounced “wizzywig”) An acronym for “What You See Is What You Get.” A display method that shows document layout and images on the screen as they will appear on the printed page.



Electrostatic printing using magnetic ink particles (toner) where the image is fused to the paper by heat and pressure.

The height of the main body of a lowercase letter, excluding ascenders or descenders.



Fan fold, as in a map or brochure.

To magnify or reduce your view of the current document.


Are you looking for a term that we have not defined here? Give us a call at 604.683.6991 for immediate assistance or contact our Technical Support staff. You can also reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Related Stories