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Glossary of Printing Terms



Air - an amount of white space in a layout.

Align - to line up typeset or other graphic material as specified, using a base or vertical line as the reference point.

Anti-aliasing - The rendering of hard-edged objects so they blend smoothly into the background. A technique for merging object-oriented art into bitmaps.

Apron - additional white space allowed in the margins of text and illustrations when forming a foldout.

Art paper - a smooth coated paper obtained by adding a coating of china clay compound on one or both sides of the paper.

Artwork - A general term used to describe photographs, drawings, paintings, hand lettering, and the like prepared to illustrate printed matter.

Ascender - any part of a lower case letter extending above the x-height. For example, the upper half of the vertical in the letters b or h.

ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard format for representing digital information in 8-bit pieces.

Authors Alterations - changes made to the document by the author after the first proof.

Autoflow - the flow of text automatically from one page to another, or one column to another.


Backing up - to print the second side of printed sheet. Also, to make a duplicate of a computer file as a precaution against losing the original.

Back matter - also known as end matter

Banding - A visible stair-stepping of shades in a gradient.

Bank - a lightweight writing paper.

Banner - a large headline or title extending across the full page width.

Bar code - a pattern of vertical lines of varying thickness identifying details of a product, conforming to the Universal Product Code (UPC).

Baseline - the line on which the bases of capital letters sit.

Bezier curves - In object-oriented programs, (such as Freehand, Illustrator, or Photoshop) a curve whose shape is defined by points set along its arc.

BF - abbreviation for bold face.

Bibliography - list of publications providing reference material on a particular subject, usually included in the endmatter of a book.

Binding - the various methods used to secure loose leaves or sections in a book; e.g. saddle-stitch (also called stapling), perfect bound.

Bitmapped - An image formed (or appearing to be formed) by a rectangular grid of pixels. The computer assigns a value to each pixel, from one bit of information (black or white), to as much as 24 or 30 bits per pixel for full color images. Also used to refer to an image that has a too low resolution or linescreen for the output resolution ("That image looks bitmapped."; line art scanned at 72dpi when it is to be printed at 2540dpi will be very coarsely bitmapped).

Bitmapped font - a font made up of bitmapped letters, characterized by jagged edges, as opposed to the smooth edges of an outline font.

Blanket - a sheet made of rexine or rubber that covers the impression cylinder of a press.

Blanket cylinder - the cylinder via which the inked litho plate transfers the image to the paper. The cylinder is covered with a rubber sheet which prevents wear to the litho plate coming into contact with the paper.

Bleed - layout, type or pictures that extend 1/8" beyond the trim marks on a page. Illustrations that spread to the edge of the paper without margins are referred to as 'bled off'.

Blind emboss - a raised impression made without using ink or foil.

Blind folio - page number counted for reference or identification but not printed on the page itself.

Blow up - an enlargement, most frequently of a graphic image or photograph.

Blurb - a short description or commentary of a book or author on a book jacket.

Blueline proof - a now outdated proofing process. This term refers to a proof made from the actual printing plates, so-called because of its blue color. Now a high-quality full color proof is provided, sometimes called a "Sherpa" after the output device. Sometimes it is simply referred to as the "final proof." This is chance to get one more look at a printing job before it goes to the press. See also Sherpa and Final Proof.

Board - paper of more than 200gsm.

Body - the main text of the work but not including headlines.

Bold type - type with a heavier darker appearance. Most typefaces have a bold face.

Bond - a sized finished writing paper of 50gsm or more. Can also be used for printing upon.

Border - a continuous decorative design or rule surrounding the matter on the page.

Box - a section of text marked off by rules or white space and presented separately from the main text and illustrations. Longer boxed sections in magazines are sometimes referred to as sidebars.

Bronzing - an effect produced by dusting wet ink after printing with a metallic powder.

Bullet - a large dot preceding text to add emphasis.


Calibration bars - On a negative, proof, or printed piece, a strip of tones used to check printing quality.

Caliper - the thickness of sheet of paper or board expressed in microns (millionths of a metre). Also the name of the tool used to make the measurement.

Camera ready - artwork or pasted up material that is ready for reproduction.

Cap line - an imaginary line across the top of capital letters. The distance from the the cap line to the baseline is the cap size.

Caps - (or "all caps") an abbreviation for capital letters.

Caps and small caps - a style of type that shows capital letters used in the normal way while the body copy is set in capital letters which are of a slightly smaller size.

Caption - Also called a cutline. The line or lines of text that refer to information identifying a picture or illustration.

Carbonless - paper coated with chemicals and dye which will produce copies without carbon paper. Also referred to as NCR (No Carbon Required).

Case bound - a hardback book made with stiff outer covers. Cases are usually covered with cloth, vinyl or leather.

Cast coated - art paper with a exceptionally glossy coated finish usually on one side only.

Chalking - a powdering effect left on the surface of the paper after the ink has failed to dry satisfactorily due to a fault in printing.

Clip Art - copyright free photos or drawings.

Choke - a method of altering the thickness of a shape by overexposure in processing or by means of a built-in option in some computer applications.

CMYK - cyan, yellow, magenta, black. The subtractive primaries, or process colors, used in color printing. Black (K) is usually added to enhance color and to print a true black. See four color process.

Coated - printing papers which after making have had a surface coating with clay etc, to give a smoother, more even finish with greater opacity.

Collate - to gather separate sections or leaves of a book together in the correct order for binding.

Color correction - The process of adjusting an image to compensate for scanner deficiencies or for the characteristics of the output device.

Color proof - A representation of what the final printed composition will look like. The resolution and quality of different types of color can vary greatly.

Color transparency - A photographic image transparent film used as artwork. 35 mm, 4"x5" and 8"x10" formats are commonly used.

Column rule - a light faced vertical rule used to separate columns of type.

Concertina fold - a method of folding in which each fold opens in the opposite direction to its neighbour, giving a concertina or pleated effect.

Condensed - a style of typeface in which the characters have a vertically elongated appearance.

Continuous tone - an image in which the subject has continuous shades of color or gray without being broken up by dots. Continuous tones cannot be reproduced in that form for printing but must be screened to translate the image into dots.

Contrast - the relationship between the lightest and darkest areas of an image.

Copy - The text to be printed.

Crop marks - lines printed showing the dimensions of the final printed page. These marks are used for final trimming.

Cropping - the elimination of parts of a photograph or other original that are not required to be printed. Cropping allows the remaining parts of the image to be enlarged to fill the space.

Cursive - used to describe typefaces that resemble written script.

Cut flush - a method of trimming a book after the cover has been attached to the pages.

Cutline - also called a caption. The line or lines of text that refer to information identifying a picture or illustration.

Cutout - a halftone where the background has been removed to produce a silhouette.


Dagger and double dagger - symbols used mainly as reference marks for footnotes.

Dampening - a necessary process in lithography of dampening the printing plate to prevent ink from spreading.

Dash - Sometimes called an "em" dash. A horizontal rule used for punctuation.

Densitometer - A device sensitive to the density of light transmitted or reflected by paper or film. Used to check the accuracy, quality, and consistency of output.

Density - The degree of opacity of a photographic image on paper or film.

Descender - any part of a lower case letter that extends below the x-height, as in the case of y and j.

Die - a hardened steel engraving stamp used to print an inked image. Used in the production of good quality letter headings.

Die Cutting - The process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes into printed sheets.

Digital - Files for printing that are produced on the computer.

Display type - larger type used for headings etc. Normally about 18 point or larger.

Dithering - The process of specifying color to adjacent pixels in order to simluate a third color in a bitmapped image. This technique is generally used whan a full range of colors is not available.

Dmax - The highest level of density on a film negative.

Dot gain - A printing defect in which dots print larger than intended, causing darker colors or tones; due to the spreading of ink on stock. The more absorbent the stock, the more dot gain. Can vary by type of ink as well.

DPI - Dots per inch. A measure of output resolution produced by printers, imagesetters, or monitors.

Double page spread - two facing pages of newspaper or magazine where the textual material on the left hand side continues across to the right hand side. Abbreviated to DPS.

Downloadable fonts - type faces which can be stored on a disk and then downloaded to the printer when required for printing. These are, by definition, bit-mapped fonts and, therefore, fixed in size and style.

Drawn on - a method of binding a paper cover to a book by drawing the cover on and gluing to the back of the book.

Drop cap - a large initial letter at the start of the text that drops into the line or lines of text below.

Dry transfer (lettering) - Characters, drawings, etc, that can be transferred to the artwork by rubbing them off the back of the transfer sheet. Best known is Letraset.

Dummy - a sketch of a page showing the position of text and illustrations and giving general instructions.


Elliptical dot - A type of halftone screen dot with an elliptical rather than circular shape, which sometimes produces better tonal gradations.

Em - a fixed space equal in size to the chosen point size. It gets its name from the letter M which originally was as wide as the type size.

Em dash - a dash used in punctuation the length of one em.

Embossing - A process performed after printing to stamp a raised (or depressed) image into the surface of paper, using engraved metal embossing dies, extreme pressure, and heat. Embossing styles include blind, deboss and foil-embossed.

Emulsion - The coating of light-sensitive material on a piece of film.

En dash - a dash approximately half the width of an em dash.

En - a fixed space that is half as wide as an em space.

End papers - the four page leaves at the front and end of a book which are pasted to the insides of the front and back covers (boards).

EPS - Enapsulated PostScript. A file format used to transfer PostScript image information from one program to another. The preferred file format for saving images, as it is resolution independent, as opposed to TIFF.

Estimate - A price provided to a customer, based on the specifications outlined on the estimate form. It is normally sent prior to entry of an order and prices may change if the order specifications are not the same as the estimate specifications.

Expanded type - a typeface with a slightly wider body giving a flatter appearance.


Face - an abbreviation for typeface referring to a family in a given style.

Filler - extra material used to complete a column or page, usually of little importance.

Final Proof - once called a "Blueline" this is now a digitally generated full color proof.

Flag - the designed title of a newspaper as it appears at the top of page one.

Floppy disk - once popular and now seldom used, it is recommended that all materials be burned to a CD.

Flush left - copy aligned along the left margin.

Flush right - copy aligned along the right margin.

Flyer - an inexpensively produced circular used for promotional distribution.

Foil Stamping -The process of applying a thin film of colored foil to paper for decorative purposes.

Font - or typeface. A complete set of characters in a typeface.

Four color process - The four basic colors of ink (CMYK--yellow, magenta, cyan, and black) which reproduce full-color photographs or art.

French fold - a sheet which has been printed on one side only and then folded with two right angle folds to form a four page uncut section.

Full measure - a line of type set to the entire line length.


Gatefold - an oversize page where both sides fold into the gutter in overlapping layers. Used to accommodate maps into books.

Gathering - the operation of inserting the printed pages, sections or signatures of a book in the correct order for binding.

Gothic - typefaces with no serifs and broad even strokes.

Gradated screen - A smooth transition between black and white, one color and another, or color and the lack of it.

Grayscale - a range of luminance values for evaluating shading through white to black. Also, a term used when referring to a black and white photograph.

Greeking - gibberish or gray areas to simulate lines of text.

Grid - A systematic division of a page into areas to enable designers to ensure consistency. The grid acts as a measuring guide and shows text, illustrations and trim sizes.

Guard - a narrow strip of paper or linen pasted to a single leaf to allow sewing into a section for binding.

Gutter - the central blank area between left and right pages.


Hairline rule - the thinnest rule that can be printed. Hairline rules do not print well. Half-point rules are strongly recommended.

Hairlines - the thinnest of the strokes in a typeface.

Halftone - an illustration reproduced by breaking down the original tone into a pattern of dots of varying size. Light areas have small dots and darker areas or shadows have larger dots. Simulating a continuous tone photograph using dots.

Hanging punctuation - punctuation that is allowed to fall outside the margins instead of staying within the measure of the text. This is now seldom used in desktop publishing.

Hardback - a case bound book with a separate stiff board cover.

Head - the larger bold text at the top of a page.

Helvetica - a sans serif typeface.

Hickies - a dust particle sticking to the printing plate or blanket which appears on the printed sheet as a dark spot surrounded by an halo.

Highlight - the lightest area in a photograph or illustration.


Icons - pictorial images used on screen to indicate utility functions, files, folders or applications software. The icons are generally activated by an on-screen pointer controlled by a mouse or trackball.

Imagesetter - A device used to output a computer image or composition at high resolution onto photographic paper or film.

Imposition - refers to the arrangement of pages on a printed sheet, which when the sheet is finally printed on both sides, folded and trimmed, will place the pages in their correct order.

Imprint - the name and place of the publisher and printer required by law if a publication is to be published. Sometimes accompanied by codes indicating the quantity printed, month/year of printing and an internal control number.

Insert - an instruction to the printer for the inclusion of additional copy.

ISBN - International Standard Book Number. A reference number given to every published work. Usually found on the back of the title page.

Italic - type with sloping letters.

Ivory board - a smooth high white board used for business cards etc.


Justify - the alignment of text along a margin or both margins. This is achieved by adjusting the spacing between the words and characters as necessary so that each line of text finishes at the same point.


Keep standing - to hold type or plates ready for reprints.

Kerning - the adjustment of spacing between certain letter pairs, A and V for example, to obtain a more pleasing appearance.

Keyline - an outline drawn or set on artwork showing the size and position of an illustration or halftone.

Kilobyte (K, KB) - 1024 bytes, a binary 1,000.

Knockout - A shape or object printed by eliminating (knocking out) all background colors. Contrast to overprinting.

Kraft paper - a tough brown paper used for packing.


Laid - paper with a watermark pattern showing the wire marks used in the paper making process. Usually used for high quality stationery.

Laminate - a thin transparent plastic coating applied to paper or board to provide protection and give it a glossy finish.

LAN - Local Area Network. A group of connected computers in a relatively small area that share access to printers and other peripheral devices.

Landscape - work in which the width used is greater than the height. Also used to indicate the orientation of tables or illustrations which are printed 'sideways'. See portrait.

Laser printer (see also Page printer) - a high quality image printing system using a laser beam to produce an image on a photosensitive drum. The image is transferred on to paper by a conventional xerographic printing process.

Lateral reversal - a positive or negative image transposed from left to right as in a mirror reflection of the original.

Layout - the final composed pages

Lead or leading - Space added between lines of type to space out text and provide visual separation of the lines. Measured in points or fractions therof. Named after the strips of lead which used to be inserted between lines of metal type.

Legend - the descriptive matter printed below an illustration, mostly referred to as a cutline or caption. Also an explanation of signs or symbols used in timetables or maps.

Letterpress - a relief printing process in which a raised image is inked to produce an impression; the impression is then transferred by placing paper against image and applying pressure.

Letterset - a printing process combining offset printing with a letterpress relief printing plate.

Letterspacing - the addition of space between the letters of words to increase the line-length to a required width or to improve the appearance of a line.

Ligature - letters which are joined together as a single unit of type such as oe and fi.

Lightface - type having finer strokes than the medium typeface. Not used as frequently as medium.

Linen tester - a magnifying glass designed for checking the dot image of a halftone.

Lines per inch (lpi) - a measure of the frequency of a halftone screen (usually ranging from 55-200). 150 lpi is the standard printing resolution. Fewer lines per inch are often used for printing on newsprint or low quality paper.

Logo - short for logotype. A word or combination of letters set as a single unit. Also used to denote a specially styled company name designed as part of a corporate image.

Loose leaf - a method of binding which allows the insertion and removal of pages for continuous updating.

Lower case - the small letters in a font of type.

Luminosity - A value corresponding to the brightess of color.


Machine glazed (MG) - paper with a high gloss finish on one side only.

Macro - a series of instructions which would normally be issued one at a time on the keyboard to control a program. A macro facility allows them to be stored and issued automatically by a single keystroke.

Magnetic ink - a magnetized ink that can be read both by humans and by electronic machines. Used in check printing.

Making ready - the time spent in making ready the level of the printing surface by packing out under the forme or around the impression cylinder.

Manilla - A tough brown paper used to produce stationery and wrapping paper.

Manuscript (MS) - the original written or typewritten work of an author submitted for publication.

Margins - the non printing areas of page.

Mask - Traditionally, opaque material or masking tape used to block-off an area of the artwork; the inactive area of a bitmapped image which will not respond to changes. Now it is done electronically.

Masthead - details of publisher and editorial staff usually printed on the contents page.

Matt art - a coated printing paper with a dull surface.

Measure - denotes column width, expressed in picas.

Mechanical binding - a method of binding which secures pre-trimmed leaves by the insertion of wire or plastic spirals through holes drilled in the binding edge.

Megabyte (M, MB) - one million bytes.

Memory - the part of the computer which stores information for immediate access. .

Metallic ink - printing inks which produce an effect gold, silver, bronze or metallic colors.

MG (Machine glazed) - paper with a high gloss finish on one side only.

Mock-up - or layout dummy. The rough visual of a publication or design.

Modern - refers to type styles introduced towards the end of the 19th century. Times roman is a good example of modern type.

Moire pattern - the result of superimposing half-tone screens at the wrong angle thereby giving a chequered effect on the printed half-tone.

Monitor calibration - The process of correcting the color settings of a monitor to match selected colors of printed output.

Monochrome - A black and white display with no gray tones.

Monospace - a font in which all characters occupy the same amount of horizontal width regardless of the character.

Montage - a single image formed from the assembling of several images.

MS (Manuscript) - the original written or typewritten work of an author submitted for publication.


Newsprint - Unsized, low quality, absorbent paper used for printing newspapers.

Nipping - a stage in book binding where after sewing the sheets are pressed to expel air.


Object-oriented - A type of drawing that defines an image mathematically rather than as pixels in a bitmap (vector-based as opposed to rasterized).

Oblique stroke - (/)

Offprint - a run-on or reprint of an article first published in a magazine or journal.

Offset Plates - A method in which the plate or cylinder transfers an ink image to an offset or transfer roller, which then transfers the image to stock.

Oldstyle (US) - a style of type characterised by stressed strokes and triangular serifs. An example of an oldstyle face is Garamond.

Onion skin - a translucent lightweight paper used in air mail stationery.

Opacity - term used to describe the degree to which paper will show print through.

Optical center - a point above the true centre of the page which will not appear 'low' as the geometric centre does.

Orphan - line of type on its own at the top or bottom of a page.

OU Red - PMS 200 or 201. (See Pantone Matching System) A dark scarlet red.

Outline - a typeface in which the characters are formed with only the outline defined rather than from solid strokes.

Output - Computer image transferred to color proof, paper, film, or temporary plate material by an imagesetter device.

Overprinting - printing over an area already printed. Contrast with knockout.

Overs - additional paper required to compensate for spoilage in printing. Also used to refer to a quantity produced above the number of copies ordered.

Overstrike - a method used in word processing to produce a character not in the typeface by superimposing two separate characters, eg $ using s and l.


Page proof - Initial output to proofing printer. The best stage for identifying and correcting mistakes, typos and other problems.

PageMaker - a common desktop publishing software.

Pagination - the numbering of pages in a book.

Pantone Matching System - a registered name for an ink color matching system, usually abbreviated PMS.

Paragraph mark - a type symbol used to denote the start of a paragraph.

Parallel fold - a method of folding; eg two parallel folds will produce a six page sheet.

Paste up - the various elements of a layout mounted in position on pasteboard to form camera-ready artwork. Now seldom used in the era of desktop publishing.

Perfect binding -An inexpensive bookbinding technique in which the pages are glued rather than sewn to the cover and used primarily for paperbacks, small manuals, phone books, etc.

Perfector - a printing press which prints both sides of the paper at one pass through the machine.

Pi fonts - characters not usually included in a font, but which are added specially. Examples of these are timetable symbols and mathematical signs.

Pica - a printing industry unit of measurement. There are 12 points to a pica. Originally, one pica was approximately 0.166in. Now, in the era of computerization, a pica is 1/6 of an inch.

Picking - the effect of ink being too tacky and lifting fibres out of the paper. Shows up as small white dots on areas of solid color.

Pigment - Particles that absorb and reflect light and appear colored to our eyes; the substance that gives ink its color.

Pixel - The smallest distinct unit of a bitmapped image displayed on a screen.

PMS - Pantone Matching System. A commonly used system for identifying specific ink colors.

Point - In measuring a paper's caliper, one point equals a thousandth of an inch. In typography, it is the smallest unit of measurement used principally for designating type size, one point approximating 1/72 of an inch and 12 points equaling one pica.

Portrait - an upright image or page where the height is greater than the width.

Positive - a true photographic image of the original made on paper or film.

Posterization - the deliberate constraint of a gradation into visible steps as a special effect.

PostScript - a page description language developed by Adobe Systems. Widely supported by both hardware and software vendors it represents the current 'standard' in the market.

Press proof - a copy obtained from inked type, plate, block or screen for checking purposes; a reasonably accurate sample of how a finished piece is intended to look. Also, to check for consistency and accuracy.

Primary colors - cyan, magenta and yellow. These three colors when mixed together with black will produce a reasonable reproduction of all other colors.

Process colors - See four color process.

Production coordinator - A person who follows the print job through every step of the process and in general acts as a liaison between Printing Services and the customer.

Progressives - color proofs taken at each stage of printing showing each color printed singly and then superimposed on the preceding color.

Proofreading - To read and mark typesetting corrections in written matter.

Proofreading marks - a standard set of signs and symbols used in copy preparation and to indicate corrections on proofs. Marks are placed both in the text and in the margin with a line connecting them.

Proportional spacing - a method of spacing whereby each each character is spaced to accommodate the varying widths of letters or figures, so increasing readability. Books and magazines are set proportionally spaced, typewritten documents are generally monospaced.


QuarkXpress - The industry standard typesetting and page layout program. Highly recommended.

Quire - 1/20th of a ream (25 sheets).


Rag paper - high quality stationery made from cotton rags.

Ragged left/right - successive lines of type which are of unequal length and which are aligned at either the right or left hand column.

Ragged Right - Typesetting style that is characterized by lines that end in unequal length, usually lined up flush on one side or the other example?flush left/ragged right.

Rasterization - The process of converting mathematical and digital information (vector commands) into a series of dots by an output device.

Raster image processor (RIP) - the hardware engine which calculates the bit-mapped image of text and graphics from a series of instructions. Most RIPs operate on PostScript.

Ream - 500 sheets of paper.

Recto -A right hand book page (usually odd numbered), more significant than the reverse side, which is called the verso.

Registration marks - small cross-hairs on film used in the alignment of negatives.

Register - the correct positioning of an image especially when printing one color on another.

Resolution - the measurement used in typesetting to express quality of output. Measured in dots per inch, the greater the number of dots, the smoother and cleaner appearance the character/image will have. Phographs need to be scanned at a resolution of 300 dots per inch. Screen resolution is 72 dots per inch and something that looks wonderful on your computer screen or on the Internet will look terrible when printed.

Retouching - a means of altering artwork or color separations to correct faults or enhance the image.

Reverse out - to reproduce as a white image out of a solid background.

RGB - red, green, blue. The additive primary colors used for computer monitor displays; also a color model. Cannot be used for printing. All RGB files must be changed to CMYK to be printed.

Right reading - a positive or negative which reads from left to right.

Roman - type which has vertical stems as distinct from italics or oblique which are set at angles.

Rosette - The pattern created when all four color halftone screens are placed at the traditional angles.

Rotary press - a web or reel fed printing press which uses a curved printing plate mounted on the plate cylinder.

Rough - a preliminary sketch of a proposed design (see also, "Dummy" and "Layout dummy."

Royal - a size of printing paper 20in x 25in (508 x 635mm).

Ruler - rulers displayed on the sreen that show measures in inches, picas or millimeters.

Runaround (see also Text wrap) - the ability within a program to run text around a graphic image within a document, without the need to ajust each line manually.

Running head - a line of type at the top of a page which repeats a heading.


S/S (Same size) - an instruction to reproduce to the same size as the original.

Saddle stitching - a method of binding where the folded pages are stitched through the spine from the outside, using wire staples. Usually limited to 64 pages size.

Sans serif - a typeface that has no serifs (small strokes at the end of main stroke of the character). Helvetica, Geneva, and Arial are examples of sans-serif fonts.

Saturation - the amount of gray in a color. The higher the gray content, the lower the saturation.

Scale - the means within a program to reduce or enlarge the amount of space an image will occupy.

Scaling - a means of calculating the amount of enlargement or reduction necessary to accommodate a photograph within the area of a design.

Scanner - a digitizing device using light sensitivity to translate a picture or typed text into a pattern of dots which can be understood and stored by a computer.

Scanning - Using a scanner to digitize images to be manipulated, output or stored on a computer.

Screen angles - the angles used to offset the different films in process color separations. Proper screen angles are critical to minimize moire patterns.

Screen frequency - the number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.

Section - a printed sheet folded to make a multiple of pages.

Security paper - paper incorporating special features (dyes, watermarks etc) for use on cheques.

Serif - a small cross stroke at the end of the main stroke of the letter.

Set solid - type set without leading (line spacing) between the lines. Type is often set with extra space; eg 9 point set on 10 point.

Set off - the accidental transfer of the printed image from one sheet to the back of another.

Sheet - a single piece of paper. In poster work refers to the number of Double Crown sets in a full size poster.

Sheet fed - a printing press which prints single sheets of paper, not reels.

Sheetwise - a method of printing a section. Half the pages from a section are imposed and printed. The remaining half of the pages are then printed on the other side of the sheet.

Show-through - see opacity.

Sherpa - The final proof stage before printing. This full color output is generated digitally and has replaced the Blueline

Side stabbed or stitched - the folded sections of a book are stabbed through with wire staples at the binding edge, prior to the covers being drawn on.

Side heading - a subheading set flush into the text at the left edge.

Sidebar - a vertical bar positioned usually on the right hand side of the screen.

Signature - a letter or figure printed on the first page of each section of a book and used as a guide when collating and binding.

Sixteen sheet - a poster size measuring 120in x 80in (3050mm x 2030mm).

Size - a solution based on starch or casein which is added to the paper to reduce ink absorbency.

Slurring - a smearing of the image, caused by paper slipping during the impression stage.

Small caps - a set of capital letters which are smaller than standard and are equal in size to the lower case letters for that typesize.

Soft back/cover - a book bound with a paper back cover.

Soft dot - a type of dot in a halftone screen whose edge is not smoothly circular. This can create a fuzzier image. Contrast with hard dot.

Soft or discretionary hyphen - a specially coded hyphen which is only displayed when formatting of the hyphenated word puts it at the end of a line.

Spell check - a facility contained in word processing and page makeup programs to enable a spelling error check to be carried out. Should be used as an adjunct to proofreading, not a replacement of it.

Spine - the binding edge at the back of a book.

Spot Color - An ink color,The ink is usually Pantone Matching System (PMS) consisting of named or numbered colors. PMS is generally accepted throughout the printing and graphic arts industry as the standard.

SRA - a paper size in the series of ISO international paper sizes slightly larger than the A series allowing the printer extra space to bleed.

Stat - photostat copy.

Stem - the main vertical stroke making up a type character.

Stet - used in proof correction work to cancel a previous correction. From the Latin; 'let it stand'.

Stock Art - Copyright-free photos.

Strawboard - a thicker board made from straw pulp, used in bookwork and in the making of envelopes and cartons. Not suitable for printing.

Strike-through - the effect of ink soaking through the printed sheet.

Stripping - the preparation and assembling of film prior to platemaking.

Style sheet - a collection of tags specifying page layout styles, paragraph settings and type specifications which can be set up by the user and saved for use in other documents.

Subscript - the small characters set below the normal letters or figures.

Subtractive primaries - The inks (cyan, magenta, and yellow) used in process-color printing to create different colors. In contrast to additive primaries, these produce darker colors when combined.

Supercalendered paper - a smooth finished paper with a polished appearance, produced by rolling the paper between calenders. Examples of this are high gloss and art papers.

Superscript - the small characters set above the normal letters or figures.

Surprint (US) - (see Overprinting) printing over a previously printed area of either text or graphics.

Swash letters - italic characters with extra flourishes used at the beginning of chapters.

Swatch - a color sample.


Tabloid - 11" x 17" - a page half the size of a broadsheet, or twice the size of a sheet of standard typing paper.

Tabular setting - text set in columns such as timetables.

Tags - the various formats which make up a style sheet- paragraph settings, margins and columns, page layouts, hyphernation and justification, widow and orphan control and automatic section numbering.

Template - a standard layout usually containing basic details of the page dimensions.

Text wrap - see Runaround.

Text - the written or printed material which forms the main body of a publication.

Text type - typefaces used for the main text of written material. Generally no larger than 14 point in size.

Thin space - the thinnest space normally used to separate words.

Thirty two sheet - a poster size measuring 120in x 160in (3048mm x 4064mm).

TIFF - a common format for scanned photographs.

Tint - the effect of adding white to a solid color or of screening a solid area.

Tip in - the separate insertion of a single page into a book either during or after binding by pasting one edge.

Transmissive densitometer - Instrument used to measure the coverage of exposed film.

Transparency - a full color photographically produced image on transparent film.

Trapping - a prepress technique which allows for variation in registration during the press run. This is done primarily by allowing an overlap between abutting colors.

Trim - the cutting of the finished product to the correct size. Marks are incorporated on the printed sheet to show where the trimming is to be made.

Twin wire - paper which has an identical smooth finish on both sides.

Typeface - A complete set of characters forming a family in a particular design or style.

Typo (US) - an abbreviation for typographical error. An error in the typeset copy


U & lc - an abbreviation for UPPER and lower case.

UCR - Undercolor Removal. A technique for reducing the amount of magenta, yellow, and cyan in neutral areas and replacing them with an appropriate amount of black.

Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) - gives protection to authors or originators of text, photographs or illustrations etc, to prevent use without permission or acknowledgment. The publication should carry the copyright mark, the name of the originator and the year of publication.


Varnishing - a finishing process whereby a transparent varnish is applied over the printed sheet to produce a glossy finish.

Vellum - the treated skin of a calf used as a writing material. The name is also used to describe a thick creamy book paper.

Vertical justification - the ability to ajust the interline spacing (leading) and manipulation of text in fine increments to make columns and pages end at the same point on a page.

Vignette - a small illustration in a book not enclosed in a definite border.


Watermark - an impression incorporated in the paper making process showing the name of the paper and/or the company logo.

Web - a continuous roll of printing paper used on web-fed presses.

Weight - the degree of boldness or thickness of a letter or font.

WF - an abbreviation for 'wrong fount'. Used when correcting proofs to indicate where a character is in the wrong typeface.

Widow - a single word left on the last line of a paragraph which falls at the top of a page.

Wire - the wire mesh used at the wet end of the paper making process. The wire determines the textures of the paper.

Wire stitching - see saddle or side stitching.

Woodfree paper - made from chemical pulp only with size added. Supplied calendered or supercalendered.

Word break - the division of a word at the end of a line.

Work and turn - a method of printing where pages are imposed in one forme or assembled on one film. One side is then printed and the sheet is then turned over and printed from the other edge using the same forme. The finished sheet is then cut to produce two complete copies.

Work and tumble - a method of printing where pages are again imposed together. The sheet is then printed on one side with the sheet being turned or tumbled from front to rear to print the opposite side.

Wove - a finely textured paper without visible wire marks.


X-height - the height of a letter excluding the ascenders and descenders; eg 'x', which is also height of the main body.

Xerography - a photocopying/printing process in which the image is formed using the electrostatic charge principle. The toner replaces ink and can be dry or liquid. Once formed, the image is sealed by heat.

File Prep