Handy Tools

Media Thickness Chart


Standard Grommet Placement



A4 – ISO paper size 210mm x 297mm used for letterhead.

AI – Adobe Illustrator’s metafile format, which is actually a type of Encapsulated Postscript.

Abort – A computing command that instructs the system to abandon a program or ignore all data transferred after a given point.

Access – (1) A noun indicating the ability to log on to the Internet or another network. (2) A verb meaning to retrieve data from a hard drive or other physical storage medium or another computer connected via network or modem.

Access Control – In a network, a means of ensuring the system’s security by requiring users to supply their names and passwords each time they log on.

Access Control List – In a network, a database that holds the names of the valid system users and notes the level of access that each has been granted.

Access Time – The interval between the instant at which a call for data is initiated and delivery of the data is completed.

Achromatic – Having no color or hue.

Additive Color Theory – The mixture of red, green and blue light, the primary colors of light, to produce white light.

Addressability – In a line of printed digital information the number of positions per unit length, usually per inch, at which successive pixels are placed.

Against the Grain – At right angles to the direction of the grain of the paper.

Alias – An alternate or duplicate label for a data element in a computer system. For example, one email address may have several aliases representing different departments or individuals. On a Macintosh, an alias icon makes a program, such as Microsoft Word or QuarkXPress, accessible from different areas on the desktop instead of just where the actual program is stored. Aliasing – A “staircase” or jagged effect that occurs when display resolution is too coarse to minimize the broken or crooked appearance of certain electronic design elements. Aliasing is more visually pronounced in diagonal lines, curves and circles.

Alpha Channel – An eight-bit channel reserved by some image processing applications for masking or retaining additional color information.

Alteration – Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator or printer. The change could be in copy, specifications, or both. Also called AA, author alteration or customer alteration.

Analog – Of a circuit or device having an output that is proportional to the input. Not binary.

Analog Device – A computer or other device that uses continuous signals of varying intensity rather than digital signals that can only be “on” or “off.” Some color scanners use hardwired electronic circuits to perform analog color correction and tone reproduction, while other scanners use digital data to perform similar functions.

Analog Workflow – Traditional workflow that relies heavily on film and photosensitive materials and processes.

Anilox – This inking system is commonly used in flexographic presses. An elastomer-covered fountain roller runs in the ink pan and is adjustable against a contacting, engraved metering roll. Ink is flooded into the engraved cells of the metering roll, excess is doctored off by the wiping or squeezing action of the fountain roll or a doctor blade, and that which remains beneath the surface of the metering roll is transferred to the printing plates.

Application Files – The files that contain the data created by software programs; also called data files.

Application Program – The computer software designed to perform actual jobs as opposed to the system programs that manage equipment operation.

Applications Program Interface (API) – System software that allows computer programmers to create interface features or, in a network, determine how the various features will be used.

Archival Image – An image meant to have lasting utility. An “archival” digital image is generally an image kept stored.

Archival Standards – The standards to be met by a type of recording material or process in order for this material to have and retain specified characteristics necessary for permanent records.

Archival Storage – The long-term storage of image information on photographic, magnetic, or other media.

Archive – (1) A group of compressed computer files. (2) A repository specifically designed for preservation, storage, display and use of archival records. (3) A collection of permanently valuable historical records documenting a particular subject or activity or transaction. Also the repository where such a collection is kept. (4) A repository that intends to preserve information for access and use by one or more Designated Communities.

Artifact – A visible defect in an electronic image, caused by limitations in the reproduction process (hardware or software). Aliasing patterns are an example of artifacts.

Artwork – comprehensive – Design produced primarily to give the client an approximate idea of what the printed piece will look like. Alternative terms: comprehensive; comp.

Ascender – The part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body, as in “b” or “d”.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) – The international standard codes that are used by most computers to symbolize letters, numbers, punctuation and certain special commands.

Assets – Things that a user sees or hears, e.g., bit map, audio ,text.

Automatic Picture Replacement (APR) – Scitex’s implementation of the process in which a low resolution image is automatically replaced by the high resolution version of the image.

Autotrace – A feature found in some graphics programs that allows conversion of bitmapped images into an object oriented format. See also: bitmap.

Background Processing – Procedure by which a computer can execute one function, such as printing, while the user simultaneously executes another function, such as word processing or image editing.

Back Up – (1) In printing; to print the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. (2) In computers; to make a copy of your work on a separate disk in case something happens to the original.

Banding – An electronic prepress term referring to visible steps in shades of a gradient.

Bandwidth – The transmission capacity of an electronic pathway such as a communications line, computer bus or computer channel. Digital bandwidth is the number of pulses per second measured in bits per second (bps).

Bar Code – A binary coding system using a numerical series and bars of varying thicknesses or positions that can be read by optical character recognition (OCR) equipment. Bar codes are used in printing as tracking devices for jobs and sections of jobs in production.

Bezier Curve – The description of a character, symbol, or graphic by its digital outline used by drawing programs to define shapes.

Bi-cubic Downsampling – Bi-cubic downsampling uses a weighted average value to assign to the pixel area for image compression.

Binary – A number representation consisting of zeros and ones used by practically all computers because of its ease of implementation using digital electronics. Any file format for digital data encoded as a sequence of bits but not consisting of a sequence of printable characters.

Bit – The smallest unit of binary information. It has one of two possible values—zero or one—used to indicate “on” or “off” or “yes” or “no” in the storage and transfer of electronic information and images. A contraction of the term “binary digit.”

Bitmap – An image represented by an array of picture elements, each of which is encoded as a single binary digit.

Bleed – Printed image which extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.

Blind Image – Image that is debossed, embossed or stamped, but not printed with ink or foil.

Body – (1) The printed text of a book not including endpapers or covers. (2) The size of type from the top of the ascenders to the bottom of the descenders. (3) In inkmaking, a term referring to the viscosity, or the fluid consistency, of an ink (e.g., an ink with too much body is described as stiff).

Body Type – Text set in paragraph or block form, as distinguished from heads and display type matter. Alternative term: body matter.

Boilerplate – Standard text that is stored electronically and can be rearranged and combined with fresh information to produce new documents.

Breakacross – A photo or other image that extends across the gutter onto both pages of the spread. Alternative terms: crossover; reader’s spread.

Break for Color – In artwork and composition, to separate the parts to be printed in different colors.

Brick-and-mortar – Located or serving consumers in a physical facility as distinct from providing remote, especially online, services.

Bridge – The unit that interconnects two or more localarea networks that use the same logical link control protocol but may use different medium access control protocols. The term can also refer to the equipment used in a connection of local loops, channels, or rings to match circuits and facilitate data transmission.

Brightness – In paper, the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.

Buffer – (1) A device that separates the other devices in a system. (2) An intermediate area for the storage of electronic data.

Buffer Capacity – A measurement of the amount of data that can be stored in a frame buffer in a computer system.

CAD (Computer Aided Design) – The production of drawings and plans for architecture and engineering systems. CAD systems are very high-performance personal computers that employ CAD software packages and input devices such as graphic tablets and scanners.

CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile) – An American National Standards Institute/International Standards Organization metafile format for images of pretty much any kind.

Cache – Small portion of high-speed memory used for the temporary storage of frequently used data.

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

Calibrate – To adjust the scale on a measuring instrument such as a densitometer to a standard for specific conditions.

Calibration – A process by which a scanner, monitor or output device is adjusted to provide a more accurate display and reproduction of images.

Camera-Ready – Copy and all other printing elements are ready photography.

Cast-and-Cure – A holographic effect that uses a polypropylene film embedded with a nanoembossed pattern that is pressed into a wet UV coating and cured by a UV light source. After curing, the reusable film is removed from the substrate, leaving behind a holographic effect.

Cast Coated Paper – Paper dried under pressure against a heated, polished cylinder to produce a high-gloss enamel finish.

Centimeter – Metric measurement of length. 2.54 centimeters = 1 inch.

CEPS – Color Electronic Prepress System.

Chain-of-Custody (COC) – A third-party certified system that traces the path logs take from the forest, through the pulp manufacturing process, to the paper mill, all the way through to the certified product sold to an end-user.

Chalking – Refers to improper drying of ink. Pigments dust off because ink has been absorbed too rapidly into the paper.

Character Generation – Constructing typographic images electronically as a series of dots, lines, or pixels on the screen of a cathode-ray tube (CRT).

Character Recognition – The function of systems that automatically read or recognize typed, printed, or handwritten characters or symbols and convert them to machine language for processing and storing in electronic systems. See also: optical character recognition.

Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) – CCDs are analog devices. Their charges equate to shades of light for monochrome images or shades of red, green and blue when used with color filters. Devices may use three CCDs, one for each of the red, green and blue colors. Although mostly replaced by CMOS sensors to capture images in cameras, camcorders and scanners, CCDs are still used in astronomy, microscopy and biomedical imaging because of their excellent sensitivity during long exposures.

Choke – A slight size reduction of an opening into which an image will print.

Chroma – The attribute of color that specifies its amount of saturation or strength.

Chrome – A slang term meaning the color transparency used as the original copy.

CIE – International Commission on Illumination. A standards institute most well known in the graphic arts for its work in color space definition.

CIE Color Spaces – These are three-dimensional color mapping systems such as CIELab, CIEL*a*b*, and CIELUV that are used to plot the three color attributes, X, Y, Z. They are an integral part of color management systems and color workflows.

Client – A networked personal computer or workstation that requests information or applications from a centralized server.

Client/Server Environment – A network system that uses a designated computer for centralized resource access.

Clipboard – A temporary electronic storage area in a computer software program where text or graphics can be held for reuse.

Cloning – A function on a CEPS used to duplicate a pixel or many pixels in another area of a picture. It can be used to add or remove detail. Some manufacturers call this function “pixel swopping”.

CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) – The most widely used integrated circuit design. It is found in almost every electronic product from handheld devices to mainframes.

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

Coated Paper – Paper with a coating of clay or other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout.

Coating – An unbroken, clear film applied to a substrate in layers to protect and seal it, or to make it glossy.

Collate – In binding, the gathering of sheets or signatures.

Color Balance – Maintaining the ratio of cyan, magenta and yellow ink to produce a picture with the desired color and without an unwanted color cast or color bias.

Color Bars – The color strip on proofs that is used as a guide for the printer in determining the amount and density of ink needed.

Color Cast – Discoloration of an entire image or portion of an image caused by an overabundance of one color.

Color Channel – Color images on the computer are created by combining different color channels. In RGB, the most commonly used color model, the channels are red, green and blue.

Color Correction – The deliberate adjustment of one or more colors to achieve a desired result. With inks, process colors are not pure colors; each is contaminated with the other two colors and has a hue error that requires compensation in the separation images.

Color Electronic Prepress Systems (desktop) – Computer systems using microcomputers and software for high-quality color manipulation and preparation.

Color Electronic Prepress Systems – In digital prepress, a high-end, computer-based system that is used to color correct scanner images and assemble image elements into final pages. Dedicated computer work stations and systems designed exclusively for highest-quality color manipulation and preparation. They are device-dependent systems.

Color Fidelity – How well a printed piece matches the original.

Color Management Systems – Electronic characterization, calibration and control systems that help to assure color consistency and accuracy throughout the print production process from scanning through previewing on screen and proofing to reproduction on press.

Color Proof – A visual impression of the expected final reproduction produced on a substrate with inks, pigments or dyes. 3M Match Print™, DuPont Cromacheck® and Kodak Double Check® are examples of color proofing systems.

Color Specification System – Charts or swatches of preprinted color patches of blended inks, each with a corresponding number, used to allow designers, printers and customers to communicate color with more accuracy.

Colorimeter – An instrument for measuring color the way the eye sees it.

Composite File – A PostScript file that represents color pages containing picture elements specified in terms of RGB (red, green and blue) color space as opposed to black and white “gray level” pages which represent separations.

Composite Proofs – Single test sheet showing position and color of all elements as stripped up.

Comprehensive – A detailed dummy or sketch of a design, intended to give a clear sense of how the finished piece should look.

Compression – Reducing the size of a file for storage purposes or to enhance the speed of data transfer by eliminating the redundancies and other unnecessary elements from the original. See also: data compression.

Concept Creation – Selecting images and generating and approving ideas from thumbnails and rough layouts during the graphic design process.

Condensed Type – Type whose width has been reduced without affecting its height.

Continuous-Tone Digital Proofing (Contone) – Producing a proof with reliable color but no halftone pattern (photorealistic) directly from a digital file, usually by inkjet or dye sublimination process, without producing a set of film negatives.

Contrast – The amount of difference between the lightest and the darkest areas in a photo or artwork.

Cookie – A collection of information, usually including a username and the current date and time, stored on the local computer of a person using the Web, used chiefly by web sites to identify users who have previously registered or visited the site.

Copy – Original job material (paste-ups, film, photos and other graphics) furnished for the print job.

Coverage – The amount of ink on a page or sheet, usually given in percentages.

CREF – Computer-ready electronic files.

Crop – To opaque, mask, mark, cut, or trim an illustration or other reproduction to fit a designated area.

Crop Marks – Symbols placed in the margin outside the image area that indicates to the printer and bindery the area to be printed and/or trimmed from the image.

Cropping – (1) Indicating what portion of the copy is to be included in the final reproduction. (2) Trimming unwanted areas of a photograph film or print.

Cyan – One of the three subtractive primary colors used in process printing. It is commonly known as “process blue.”

Data – Text, audio, video, and images stored in a form that can be understood by a computer.

Data Blocks – The maximum size of continuous data blocks that can be recorded as a single block of data. Larger data blocks transfer and store data more efficiently.

Data Compression – A software or hardware process that reduces the size of images so that they occupy less storage space and can be transmitted faster and easier. This process is accomplished by removing the bits that define blank spaces and other redundant data, and replacing them with a smaller algorithm that represents the removed bits. Data must be decompressed before it can be used. See also: compression.

Data Conversion – Technique of changing digital information from its original code so that it can be recorded by an electronic device using a different code. Data created in one software format may be converted to another before printing. Data must also be converted for various output devices, such as when RGB colors are converted to CMYK.

Data File – Text, graphics, or pictures that are stored electronically as a unit.

Data Shift – In process color printing, it describes a shift in one of the channels of data that comprise the image file and could cause inconsistent color in some areas in the image.

Data Transfer Rate – The sustained speed at which data is transferred within a computer or between a peripheral device and the computer, measured in bytes per second.

Decompress – To return compressed data to its original size and condition.

Default – A method or value that software will use in processing information unless the computer operator specifies otherwise. For example, a scanning program has default settings for variables like brightness and contrast that apply unless the user requests something else.

Densitometer – Instrument used to measure density. The densitometer measures the amount of light received from a sample. Reflection densitometers measure light reflected from paper and other surfaces. Transmission densitometers measure light transmitted through film and other materials.

Density – The amount an object absorbs or reflects light is called “density level.” High-density objects absorb or stop light; low-density objects reflect or transmit light.

Descender – The part of a lower case letter which extends below the main body, as in “p”.

Diecutting – Using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes from printed sheets. Diecutting can be done on either flatbed or rotary presses.

Digital – Method of representing information in numerical (binary) code. Unlike analog signals, digital ones are either “on” or “off.” The “opposite of”: analog device.

Digital Asset – Digital data stored in a file. It can be either data that was digitized, such as video frame data and audio samples, or data created in digital form, such as title graphics or animation frames. It can be stored in either a Media Data object or a raw data file. Also called Digital media data.

Digital Asset Management (Media Asset Management) – File or asset storage and retrieval by a company for its customer.

Digital Printing – Printing by plateless imaging systems that are imaged by digital data from prepress systems.

Digital Proof – Proof printed directly from computer data to paper or another substrate without creating separation films first. Proof made with computer output device, such as laser or inkjet printer.

Digital Soft Proof – A color video monitor display of a picture file, data file or text file. Also known as a soft proof.

Digital Workflow – In print publishing, using the computer to lay out text and illustrations prior to creating film negatives for every page or going directly to plate.

Digitize – To convert an image or signal into binary form.

Digitized Information – Text, photographs and illustrations converted into digital signals for input, processing and output in an electronic publishing system.

Direct Digital Color Proof (DDCP) – A proof made directly from the stored data file onto a substrate using a peripheral device such as a photographic exposure, dot matrix printer or ink jet printer without producing intermediate films.

Dither – To fill the gap between two pixels with another pixel having an average value of the two to minimize the difference or add detail to smooth the result.

Dot – The individual element of a halftone.

Dot Area – The size of the dot is indicated by the percentage of the area it occupies from zero to one hundred percent.  Dot Gain – The increase in the printing dot size from the halftone film to the printed substrate resulting in darker tones.

Dots Per Inch (DPI) – A unit that describes the resolution of an output device or monitor.

Download – To transfer a file or files from a remote computer to a local computer’s hard drive.

Drop Out – The technique that can give a mediocre photo greater contrast by photographically removing some dots to create highlights that show the actual white of the paper.

Dummy – A layout showing the size, shape, form and general style of a piece of printing.

Dynamic Web Pages – Web pages, birthed at the time they are downloaded, often contain up-to-the-second data pulled into a template. Search engine results pages are dynamically generated.

EPS – Abbreviation of Encapsulated PostScript. Pronounced as separate letters, EPS is the graphics file format used by the PostScript language. EPS files can be either binary or ASCII. The term EPS usually implies that the file contains a bitmapped representation of the graphics for display purposes. In contrast, PostScript files include only the PostScript commands for printing the graphic.

Electronic Dot Generation – Method of producing halftones electronically on scanners and prepress systems.

Em – A measure of space exactly as high and wide as the point size of the typeface being used. Em Dash – A dash, one em long, used to separate
parenthetical phrases within a sentence.

En – A measure of space equal to one-half of an em space in the same point size and typeface. En Dash – A dash, one en long, used to indicate range
as in “see pages 4–5.”
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) – A file format used to transfer PostScript™ image information from one program to another. EPS images can be sized
without loss of quality at different resolutions. PDF files may be used for the same purpose.

Encapsulation – In programming, the process of combining elements to create a new entity. For example, a procedure is a type of encapsulation because it combines a series of computer instructions. Likewise, a complex data type, such as a record or class, relies on encapsulation. Object-oriented programming languages rely heavily on encapsulation to create high-level objects. Encapsulation is closely related to abstraction and information hiding.

Encryption – To alter (a file, for example) using a secret code so as to be unintelligible to unauthorized parties.

Estimate – A statement of what a print job will probably cost based on specified quantities, materials and labor.

Estimating – The process of determining approximate cost, specifying required quality and quantity, and projecting waste.

Environmentally-friendly Processes – Reduced-chemical, silver and VOC-free processes for preparation of printed materials.

Fadeometer – An instrument used to measure the fading properties of inks and other pigmented coatings. File – A collection of digital information stored together as a unit on a computer disk or other storage medium and given a unique name, which permits the user to access the information. A file may contain text, images, video, sound, or an application program.


File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – The tool used to retrieve information in the form of electronic files from any number of computer systems linked via the TCP/IP protocol. Users in effect transfer copies of information found on remote computers either directly to their own computers or to a service provider’s network and then to their own computers.

Firewall – The layer of security that protects internal computer networks from outside intrusions, particularly from the Internet.

Flatbed Scanner – A color scanner on which the original is mounted on a horizontal table instead of a rotary drum.

Flat Colors – (1) Colors and tints that are not formulated from standard process colors. (2) Color that seems weak or lifeless.

Font – A complete set of type characters in one typeface and type size.

Format – (1) The sequential organization of data in terms of its components. Also: A specific arrangement of data. (2)a. The shape, size, style, and general makeup of a particular record. (2)b. In electronic records , the arrangement of data for computer input or output, such as the number and size of data fields in a logical record or the spacing and letter size used in a document . Also called layout. (2)c. In microform records, the placement of microimages within a given microform (image arrangement) or the arrangement of images in relation to the edges of the film (image orientation).

For Position Only (FPO) – Refers to inferior quality copies of photos or art used on mechanicals to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction.

Four-color Process – Use of cyan, magenta, yellow and black to create a full color image.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol is the language computers speak to transfer files between systems over the Internet.

Fugitive Color – A color that tends to change or fade under different lighting, in the presence of heat or other changes in the environment, or over time— an unstable color.

Fulfillment – The storing of a customer’s materials until that customer requests delivery to itself or to a third party. Also, the fulfilling by a vendor of a request received from a customer by phone, by mail or by electronic means. Also known as “pick and pack.”

Fuzz – Fibers projecting from the surface of a sheet of paper.

Gamma – A measure of contrast in photographic images.

Gang – To halftone or separate more than one image in only one exposure. Also to print two or more finished products on the same sheet during one press run.

Gateway (Router) – Software or hardware that enables communication between computer networks that use different communications protocols.

Ghosting – Phenomenon on a faint image on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear.

GIF – The Graphic Interchange Format is a compression format for images. Pictures and graphics you see on Web pages can be in GIF format because the files are small and download quickly.

Gigabit (Gb) – One billion bits.

Gigabyte (GB) – One thousand megabytes or one billion bytes.

Glyph – A single letter, symbol or number from a font.

Gradation – The relationship of the tonal values of an image to its intermediate films and reproduction as well as magnetic or optical representation. It may also refer to the tonal values within the picture.

Grammage – The metric basis weight of paper. Weight is expressed in grams per square meter.

Graphic Communications – Allied industries, including printing, publishing, advertising and design, that participate in the production and dissemination of text and images by printed or electronic means.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) – Pronounced “gooey” and used in digital imaging, this is a technical term for a system that lets users manipulate files by pointing to pictures (icons) with a mouse or other pointing device instead of having to type in key commands.

Gray Balance – The proper amount of cyan, magenta and yellow printing to produce a gray scale with no apparent dominant hue.

Gutter – The inside margin of a bound page.

Halftone – An image composed of tiny dots whose variations in size create the illusion of variations in tone. Traditionally, a halftone screen was used to convert a continuous tone image into a halftone; such screening is currently done electronically.

Halftone-based Digital Proofing – Producing a proof with reliable color and halftone pattern directly from a digital file, usually by electronic process, without producing a set of film negatives.

Hard Copy – A printed paper copy of output in readable form. It is also a transparency film or photograph of an image displayed on the monitor.

Hard Proof – A color proof made on a substrate from production films or on a substrate directly from the stored pixel data. The latter is usually referred to as a digital hard proof, and a video proof as a digital soft proof.

Hexadecimal Colors – Hexadecimal color values are also supported in all browsers. A hexadecimal color is specified with: #RRGGBB. RR (red), GG (green) and BB (blue) are hexadecimal integers between 00 and FF specifying the intensity of the color. For example, #0000FF is displayed as blue, because the blue component is set to its highest value (FF) and the others are set to 00.

Hot Spot – Printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete drawdown during contact platemaking, leaving an area of weak ink coverage or visible dot gain.

HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) – Brilliance or Luminance. A color space used in some graphic programs.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) – Is used to structure text and multimedia documents and to set up hypertext links between documents, used extensively on the Web.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) – Used to request and transmit files, especially Web pages and Web page components, over the Internet or other computer network. Hue – The attribute of color that designates its dominant wave length and distinguishes it from other colors.

Image – The digitized representation of a graphic element (photograph, painting, film) bitmapped in computer memory for display on a video monitor for output in paper or film form.

Image Area – On a lithographic printing plate, the area that has been specially treated to receive ink and repel water.

Image Editing Software – Software programs used for working with pixel-based images to refine, enhance and manipulate them, as well as to create graphic elements.

Image Processing – The alteration or manipulation of images that have been scanned or captured by a digital recording device. Can be used to modify or improve the image by changing its size, color, contrast, and brightness, or to compare and analyze images for characteristics that the human eye could not perceive unaided. This ability to perceive minute variations in color, shape, and relationship has opened up many applications for image processing. In-line – Components of a system arranged in a logical production sequence and in such a way that materials are automatically fed to the next component. An example would be a coating tower on a press to apply the lacquer or UV coating on the same pass as the color.

Ink – A printing ink is a dispersion of a colored solid (pigment) in a liquid, specially formulated to reproduce an image on a substrate.

Ink Balance – Relationship of the densities and dot gain of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray.

Ink Jet – A method of printing images using jets that squirt minuscule drops of ink onto a variety of surfaces.

Insert – A printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.

Intensity – The measurement of color from dull to brilliant. Interface – (1)The electronic device that enables one kind of equipment to communicate with or control another. (2)The combination of hardware and software that allows different electronic devices to share resources.

IP – Internet Protocol is the language that allows computers to communicate over the Internet, defining how data is cut up into packets and addressed in order to reach its destination.

ISO – International Standards Organization.

ISP – Internet Service Provider 

JPEG – Joint Pictures Expert Group. The committee which set standards for a file format for graphics. The JPEG file format is a compressed format, with some loss of quality during compression. A popular web format do to the generally small size of pictures. File formats of .jpg, .jpeg, and .jpe.

JDF – A data exchange standard that will act as a universal electronic job ticket that contains control data from print buying through estimating, customer service, prepress, press, finishing, and dispatch. JDF contains production information rather than content data. JDF is designed to streamline information exchange between different applications and systems.

Java – A trademark used for a programming language designed to develop applications, especially ones for the Internet that can operate on different platforms.

JavaScript – A widely used programming language that is embedded in most Web pages. Supported by all Web browsers, it enables interactive functions to be added to Web pages, which are otherwise static.

Job Specifications – A detailed description of the requirements of a print job.

Job Ticket – Form used by service bureaus, separators and printers to specify the production schedule of a job and the materials needed. 

K – Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing.

Kelvin – A unit of measure used to describe the color temperature of a light source, such as the 5000K standard viewing conditions.

Kerning – In typesetting, subtracting space between two characters, moving them closer together. Negative letterspacing can apply to two letters (kerning) or to any other group of letters.

Kilobyte – K, Kb or KB. A unit of measuring digital information which equals 1024 bytes.

Kiss Cut – To die cut the top layer but not the backing of self-adhesive paper.

Knock Out – To clear an area of absolutely every printing dot; or to outline an image and drop out all dots surrounding it.

Kraft Paper – Strong brown paper made with unbleached wood pulp and used for grocery bags, envelopes and wrapping paper. 

Laminate – To bond a plastic film by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection and appearance.

LAN (Local Area Network) – Workstations and personal computers in an office are commonly connected to each other with a LAN. This allows them to have send/receive files and/or have access to the files and data. Each computer connected to a LAN is called a node.

Lap Register – Register where ink colors overlap slightly.

Layout – A drawing that gives the general appearance of the finished piece and usually indicates the relationship between illustrations and copy.

Leading – (ledd-ing) The linespace, or white space, between lines of copy measured in points.

Live Matter – The vital parts or elements of a printed piece which must not be trimmed off. Lossless Compression – Lossless compression retains all pixel data for images and image integrity is retained. This type of compression is recommended for high-contrast images, line art, and text. Lossless compression techniques used for PDF files are ZIP, CCITT Group 3 and 4, and Run Length Encoding.

Lossy Compression – Lossy compression uses algorithms designed to compress the file by selectively removing portions of the images. The portions that are removed are the details that the human eye does not pick out very well, so it usually does a good job of removing data. Some of the image information (detail) is lost in this method however, and artifacts or noise may be picked up in some images. The lossy techniques that are available in Acrobat Distiller when making your PDF are JPEG, Subsampling, Downsampling, and Bi- cubic Downsampling.

Loupe – Lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing.

LPI (Lines Per Inch) – Acronym for lines per inch. Used as a measurement of resolution or halftone screening.

M – The abbreviation for magenta in the four-color process. Also the abbreviation for “one thousand”.

MNG – (pronounced “ming”) The proposed Multiple Network Graphics format is a multi-image extension of the existing PNG format.

Magenta – One of the three subtractive primary colors of process printing. It is commonly called “process red.”

Makegood – The rerun of an ad or printed piece by a publisher or printer because of their error.

Makeready – The process of setting up and adjusting a printing press for a particular ink, paper and set of printing conditions prior to a press run. Also, the paper used during these adjustments.

Margin – The blank space around the image area of a page, also referred to as a gutter.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) – Prior to 2016 – A product specification form used to record information about the hazardous chemicals and other health and physical hazards employees face in an industrial workplace, along with guidelines covering exposure limits and other precautions. Employers are required to compile and maintain files of this information under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard set forth by the U.S. federal government. See Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

Megabit, Mb – One million bits. Megabyte, MB – One million bytes.

Metameric Colors – Colors that can change their perceived hue depending on the different lighting conditions.

Midtone – The tonal values of an image that fall midway between the highlight and shadow dots.

Misregister – Printed images that are incorrectly positioned, either in reference to each other or to the sheet’s edges.

Mottle – Spotty or speckled printing.

Mount – To fasten the plate or blanket to an offset press.

Multitasking – The ability of a computer to run more than one application at a time.

Nanometer – A unit in which wavelengths of light and other radiant energy are expressed. One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

Network – A computer system that allows several users at remote terminals to exchange data electronically through a common central computer or with a modem over conventional telephone lines.

Network Interface Card (NIC) – The device that links one workstation to another in a network.

Neutral Gray – Any level of gray from white to black with no apparent color cast or hue.

Non-reproducible Colors – Certain colors in nature and photography cannot be reproduced using process inks. An example of non-reproducible color is a very dark, deep, rich, wine red. 

Object Oriented – An approach in drawing and layout programs that treats graphics as line and arc segments rather than individual dots. Also called vector-oriented.

Online – The state of a computer being connected to and communicating with another electronic device for the purpose of distributing or retrieving information.

Online Archiving – Online archives will generally directly record compressed bit streams to avoid the concatenation effects of another compression system. The archive may also be associated with highly compressed browse mode images and metadata to aid recovery of archive content. The quality level of the browse mode images is only required to support picture recognition, with no expectation that these pictures will be used for any other purpose. Metadata and browse mode images will normally be located on the same storage device for rapid access to the content. Full editing capability should be possible with on-line archive content.

One-up – Having only one image of each item (see two-up).

Opacity – Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents print on one side from showing through to the other side. Also, the characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Opaque – To paint out the portions of a negative that are not wanted on the plate.

Operating System – The master program that a computer needs to start up and perform basic tasks. It allows the computer to control itself and perform other functions, such as managing memory allocation for application software and data files.

Overprint – To print over an area that has previously been printed. Overrun – Copies printed and/or bound in excess of the specified quantity.

Overrun – Additional copies printed in excess of the specified quantity.

Overs and Unders – Only digital presses can literally print the number of pieces you order. Other presses will print extra copies (overs) or even print fewer than you order (unders). Printers can print 10% more or less than the quantity you specify, and charge you accordingly. Just be aware of this common practice, especially if you are printing a huge run and do NOT want 10% over, or if your quantity is dangerously close to what you need (say, for a mailing), in which case you don’t want to risk running out. Know that you can specify what percentage of overs/unders you will accept.

PS – Adobe Systems Postscript isn’t an image format, per se – it’s a page description language, originally conceived so computers could send very accurate page descriptions to the then new high resolution laser printers. You can save black and white or color pictures as Postscript, but you’ll end up with a very large file. Postscript is not a very efficient format, but its advantage is all plain text – you can modify a Postscript file with any text editor, if you know what you’re doing.

PSD – Adobe Photoshop’s native format, which stores all of its layer and selection and miscellaneous other image data.

PDF (Portable document format) – A computer file format that preserves a printed or electronic document’s original layout, type fonts and graphics as one unit for electronic transfer and viewing. The recipient uses compatible “reader” software to access and even print the PDF file.

Perforating – Punching a row of small hole or incisions into or through a sheet of paper to permit part of it to be detached; to guide in folding; to allow air to escape from signatures; or to prevent wrinkling when folding heavy papers.

Pica – Unit of measure commonly used in typesetting and design. A pica is one-sixth of an inch.

Pickup Art – Artwork from a previous job incorporated into a current job.

Pigment – The fine, solid particles used to give color, transparency or opacity to ink.

Pinholes – Tiny areas that are not covered by ink.

Pixel – Abbreviation for picture element. The separate elements of a bitmapped image on a video monitor.

Pixel Interleave – System of organizing color data within a computer pixel-by-pixel (i.e., a pixel of yellow, a pixel of magenta, a pixel of cyan, a pixel of black, etc.). See also: pixel.

Pixel Swopping – A CEPS technique to exchange pixels from one area of a picture for pixels in another area. Example: a window may be removed from a brick building if one area of the brick wall is placed in that area of the picture. Using this technique, blemishes can be removed and objects can be added to the reproduction.

Pixelization – A technique used to represent areas of complex detail as relatively large square or rectangular blocks of discrete, uniform colors or tones.

PMS (Pantone Matching System) – A set of preprinted color patches used to choose and communicate color so exact matches can be obtained.

Point – Unit of measurement commonly used to specify type sizes. There are 12 points in a pica and 72 points in an inch.

POP – Point of Presence, terminology for local access to a network or telecom service. Also point of purchase.

Porosity – The property of paper that allows the permeation of air, an important factor in ink penetration.

PostScript – Adobe Systems, Inc. tradename for a page description language that enables imagesetters and other output devices developed by different companies to interpret electronic files from any number of personal computers (“front ends”) and off-the-shelf software programs.

PostScript, encapsulated – A file format used to transfer PostScript™ image information from one program to another.

Postpress – The final stages in the printing process in which printed sheets are transformed into saleable products, including binding, finishing and delivery.

Preflighting – An orderly procedure using a checklist to verify that all components of an electronic file are present and correct prior to submitting the document for high resolution output.

Premakeready – The stage prior to printing in which all production specs are examined, necessary materials are brought to the press, and materials are checked for damage.

Prepress – Camera work, color separating, stripping, platemaking and other functions performed by the printer, separator or service bureau prior to the actual printing.

Prepress Proof – Any color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays.

Press Check – When a customer is at the printing press as the press begins to print his or her job, in order to approve the job as it is printed. A press check can last a few minutes or several days, depending on the size of the job.

Press Proof – A proof made on press using the ink and paper specified for the job.

Press Run – The actual running of the press to print the job following makeready. Also, the number of copies of a publication printed. Price Break – Quantity at which unit cost of paper or printing drops.

Primary Colors – The colorants of a system used to reproduce the colors for the entire reproduction. Cyan, magenta and yellow are subtractive primary colors while red, green and blue are additive primary colors.

Print Quality – The degree to which the appearance and other properties of a print job approach the desired result.

Printing – Any process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as film, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate.

Process Colors – The three colors (cyan, magenta and yellow) plus black that are used in full-color printing.

Process Color Separation – A consequence of the offset lithographic process. In order to print full- color images, it is necessary to prepare four separate files for each of the process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). When the colors are overprinted, they combine to render a wide range of color. CMYK produces the widest range of color with the fewest inks when printing.

Process Control – A system using feedback to monitor and manage a certain procedure, input and output data are tabulated according to specific formulas and compared with certain standards and limits; the process is then adjusted as necessary.

Process Inks – The ink colors of cyan, magenta and yellow used to print color reproductions.

Production Workflow – A sequence of production steps required to produce any printed item.

Proof – A prototype of an image that is supposed to show how it will appear when printed on the press.

Proportion Scale – Round device used to calculate percentage that an original image must be reduced or enlarged to yield a specific reproduction size.

Protocol – A set of rules (conventions) that governs format of data and control of information exchange between two communications devices.

pURL (Personalized URLs) – An application that lets you create a separate URL for each person you’re targeting – perhaps in a marketing campaign.

QR Code – A quick response code is a 2D barcode that may be decoded using a smart phone with a camera and Internet connectivity. Snapping a picture of the QR code will lead viewers to the poster’s website, where they can access additional information and images.

Quality Control – The day-to-day operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfill requirements for quality, such as intermediate and final product inspections, testing incoming materials and calibrating instruments used to verify product quality.

RAM (Random Access Memory) – Hardware inside your computer that retains memory on a short- term basis. This information is stored temporarily while you’re working on it.

RAW – This may be a Photoshop RAW file, which is a PSD file with no identifying header. Or it may be a minimally formatted image data dump.

Raster – An image composed of a set of horizontal scan lines that are formed sequentially by writing each line following the previous line, particularly on a television screen or computer monitor. See also: bitmap.

Raster Image Processor (RIP) – The device that interprets all of the page layout information for the marking engine of the imagesetter or platesetter. PostScript or another page description language serves as an interface between the page layout workstation and the RIP.

Rasterization – The process of converting mathematical and digital information into a series of variable-density pixels.

Register – The fitting of two or more printing images on the same paper in exact alignment with each other.

Register Marks – Crosses or some other design that are pasted outside your keyline on the board. Everything done to the job through printing must have these marks to prevent the separations, film or plates from being misaligned or out of register.

Registration – The correct positioning of one color over another during the printing process.

Reprint – An ad which is printed and then sent to a magazine for insertion. Also refers to a reprint of ads supplied by the publication before the publication is issued.

Resolution – (1) The density of dots or pixels on a page or display usually measured in dots per inch. The higher the resolution, the smoother the appearance of text or graphics. (2) The precision with which an optical, photographic, or photomechanical system can render visual image detail. Resolution is a measure of image sharpness or the performance of an optical system. It is expressed in lines per inch or millimeter.

Retouch – To correct flaws in an image or make design changes. Retouching includes correction of mechanical problems, such as removing shadows or dust, as well as alterations to the image. Digital retouching, which makes changes to pixel values to enhance or change the appearance of the image, is typically done on a computer before printing.

RGB – Red, green and blue. The additive primaries which are used in video monitors.

Right Reading – Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it is written. Also describes a photo whose orientation looks like the original image.

RIP (Raster Image Processing) – A hardware and/or software system that translates page description command into bitmaps for output to a laser printer or imagesetter.

Routers – Devices that connect separate networks that use the same physical network standard.

Rule – A straight line of any thickness or a line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.

Run Around – Type that is made to fit around a picture of art.

Sans Serif Type – Any type style that does not have cross strokes on the ends of the letters.

Scale – Calculate the amount a photo is to be reduced or enlarged.

Scanner – Electronic device used to digitize an image.

Score – To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately.

Screen Ruling – Sometimes confused with resolution, screen ruling is the number of printing dots per millimeter or per inch on the exposed film. The screen ruling is a critical factor in determining the resolution need. The finer the screen ruling, the higher the resolution needs to be, due to the amount of information required to generate the printing dots.

Screening – That part of a RIP (Raster Image Processor) that calculates the tonal values of each spot for an output device. The function of a screener is device dependent because it is related to the resolution of the output device.

Search Engines – These engines help Internet surfers target information by keyword or concept.

Secondary Colors – Colors created by combining two primary colorants of a color system. Example: red would be the secondary color produced with magenta and yellow. Also referred to as overprint colors.

Serif Type – Any type style that has cross strokes on the ends of the letters.

Server – A device on a computer network that allows networked users (clients) access to a specific service on the network. An example is a file server, which allows the users to share data files and application software.

Show-through – The undesirable condition in which the printing on the reverse side of a sheet can be seen through the sheet under normal lighting conditions.

Shrink Wrap – Using heat to affix a thin plastic material around printed and bound products to prepare them for shipment.

Skid (Pallet) – Wooden platform that supports piles of paper during shipping and storage. Skids usually accommodate from 2500 to 4000 pounds of paper.

SMTP – The language computers must speak to send and receive email on the Internet. Solid – Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage.

Solvent – A component of the vehicle in printing inks that disperses the pigment and keeps the solid binder liquid enough for use in the printing process.

Specs – Complete and precise written description (or specifications) of features of a printing job such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing quality or binding method.

Spectrophotometer – Instrument for measuring color for CIE color spaces. It is more accurate than most color colorimeters.

Spectrum – The series of color bands formed when a ray of light is dispersed by refraction; the rainbow- like band of colors resulting when a ray of white light is passed through a prism.

Spot Color – Individual color or colors that are utilized to highlight illustrations or type. Spot color is frequently printed with non-process color inks, although process inks can be used. Can be used for exact color match, as in a corporate logo.

Spot Varnish – Varnish applied only to certain portions of a sheet to highlight those areas.

Standard Viewing Condition – An area surrounded by a neutral gray and illuminated by a light source of 5000K both for viewing transparencies and reflection prints. Large format transparencies should be surrounded by approximately 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters of white surround and should not be viewed with a dark surround.

Step-and-repeat – The procedure of exposing an image repeatedly in different places on the printing plate.

Streaming – (1) Web technologies that let viewers hear and see audio and video data as it arrives, rather than waiting for an entire file to download. (2)To transmit.

Substrate – Any surface on which printing is done.

Subtractive Color System – A means of producing a color reproduction or image with combinations of yellow, magenta and cyan colorants, which serve as filters to “remove” colors from a white substrate.

Swatch – A small, printed solid used for color matching or measurement. It represents what an ink color might look like after it is printed.

TIFF/TIF (Tag Image File Format) – A bitmapped graphics file format. TIFF handles monochrome, gray scale, 8-and 24-bit color. Widely used in book publishing and other print-related industries, TIFF allows for customization, and TIFF files retain their layers and transparency when saved in Photoshop. Over the years, several versions of TIFF have been created, which does not guarantee compatibility between all programs.

Tack – The amount of stickiness in printing inks that makes them adhere to the substrate while minimizing dot gain. Too much tack can cause surface picking.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) – Is the international language of the Internet. This set of protocols makes e-mail and other services possible among computers that don’t belong to the same network.

Terabyte (Tb or TB) – Equal to approximately one billion kilobytes and often used to measure optical disk storage capacity.

Terms and Conditions – This is metadata that describes the “rules” for use of an object. Terms and conditions might include an access list of who can view the object, a “conditions of use” statement that might be displayed before access to the object is allowed, a schedule (tariff) of prices and fees for use of the object, or a definition of permitted uses of an object (viewing, printing, copying, etc.).

Text – The body matter of a page or book as distinguished from the heading and art.

Thermal Dye Sublimation – Like thermal printers, except pigments are vaporized and float to desired proofing stock. Similar to Thermal Dye Diffusion Transfer, or D2T2. T

hermal Transfer Printer – These printers use a transfer sheet that carries ink and is placed in contact with the paper or plastic transparency, and a heated printhead driven by digital data touches the transfer sheet to transfer images to the right positions on the page.

Tile – A method used when a page is too large to be output in its entirety by the output device. The page is divided into pieces that allow for overlap so that it can be reassembled as a whole.

Tint – A solid color reduced either by screening or by adding white ink. Also, a halftone of a specified dot percentage, but less than 100%.

Tolerances – The specification of acceptable variations in register, density, dot size, plate or paper thickness, concentration of chemicals, and other printing parameters.

Tone – The character of a color, its quality or lightness.

Toner – In digital printing, imaging material also called digital inks, used in plateless printing systems such as electrophotography, magnetography, ion or electron deposition, and laser printers. Toner must hold or conduct an electrical charge. In inks, dye used to tone printing inks, especially black.

Toolbar – Onscreen bar that displays various icons or formatting choices.

Tooth – A characteristic of paper, a slightly rough finish, which permits it to take ink readily.

Trade Printers – Printers who serve other printers, not the general public (as in “we print for the trade).

Trade Shop – Service bureau, printer or bindery working primarily for other graphic arts professionals, not for the general public. Transparency – Positive photographic image on film allowing light to pass through.

Transparent Ink – A printing ink which does not conceal the color beneath. Process inks are transparent so that they will blend to form other colors.

Trim – To cut the excess paper from the edges of a publication after it has been printed and bound.

Trim Marks – Marks on the outside of a keyline to indicate where the piece is to be cut.

Two-up – Having two images of each item (see one- up).

Type 1 – A format for storing digital typefaces developed by Adobe Systems. The most popular typeface format for PostScript printers.

Typesetting – Composing type into words and lines in accordance with the manuscript and typographic specifications.

Typography – The art and craft of creating and/or setting type professionally.

Uncoated Paper – Paper that has not been coated with clay.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL) – The Web address of a company, service, or other information resource.

UNIX – The computer environment in which the Internet has been and continues to be developed. It is used to run powerful workstations and networks where multitasking and multiuser access is essential. UNIX is also the parent operating system of DOS, which, in turn, spawned the Windows operating systems prevalent on PCs today.

UV Inks – Solventless inks that are cured by UV radiation.

Value – The degree in a color or gray that varies from light to dark.

Vector – Mathematical descriptions of images and their placement.

Vellum Finish – A toothy finish that is relatively absorbent for fast ink penetration.

Vignette – An illustration in which the background fades gradually away until it blends into the unprinted paper.

Viscosity – A broad term encompassing the properties of tack and flow.

VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) – Volatile organic compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids and include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects and are a precursor to ground-level ozone formation.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) – Computer screen displays that approximate the true size and true shape of typographic characters, rules, tints, and graphics.

WYSIWYP (What You See Is What You Print) – Pronounced wizzy-whip, refers to the ability of a computer system to print colors exactly as they appear on a monitor. WYSIWYP printing requires a special program, called a color management system (CMS) to calibrate the monitor and printer.

Waste – A term for planned spoilage, such as the paper trimmed from a sheet to create bleed.

White Space – The areas in print publications that do not carry any type or images—the unprinted surface of the paper.

Whois – A command to find the who behind the .com, .org, or .net. the whois program lets you access a database of registered domain names.

Widow – A single word or part of a word on a line by itself, ending a paragraph, or starting a page, frowned upon in good typography. Sometimes called an orphan.

Wrinkles – (1) Creases in paper occurring during printing. (2) In inks, the uneven surface formed during drying.

Wrong Reading – An image that is backwards when compared to the original.

Yellow – One of the three subtractive primary colors used in process printing.

Yield – Number of final size pieces you can get from a parent size sheet.

Zoom – An electronic function that increases or reduces the magnification of the image displayed on the video screen.