Glossary of Terms

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

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary. If the term you are looking for starts with a digit or symbol, choose the '#' link.

- A -

accordian fold

In Binding, a term used for two or more parallel folds which open like an accordian.

against the grain

Folding or feeding paper at right angles to the grain direction of the paper.


That part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body, as in "b".
authors alterations

In Composition, changes and additions in the copy after it has been set in type. Often called "AA's".

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- B -


The back of a bound book connecting the two covers; also called spine.

backing up

Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side.

bad break

In Composition, starting a page or ending a paragraph with a 'widow'.

basis weight

The weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that grade: 25 x 38 for book papers, 20 x 26 for cover papers, 22 1/2 x 28 1/2 or 22 1/2 x 35 for bristols, 25 1/2 x 30 1/2 for index. E.g., 500 sheets 25 x 38 of 80-lb. coated weighs eighty pounds.


An extra amount of printed image which extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.

blind embossing

A design which is stamped without metallic leaf or ink, giving a bas-relief effect.

break for color

In artwork and composition, to separate the parts to be printed in different colors.

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- C -

cast coated

Coated paper dried under pressure against a polished cylinder to produce a high-gloss enamel finish.

coated paper

Paper having a surface coating which produces a smooth finish. Surfaces vary from eggshell to glossy.

color separation

In composition, the process of separating color originals into the primary printing color components in negative or positive form.

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- D -


That part of a lower case letter which extends below the main body, as in "p".


The process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes for labels, boxes and containers, from printed sheets.


An intaglio process for the production of letterheads, cards, etc., printing from lettering or other designs engraved into copper or steel.


A term for a two-color halftone reproduction from a one-color photograph.

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- E -

embossed finish

Paper with a raised or depressed surface resembling wood, cloth, leather or other pattern.


Impressing an image in relief to achieve a raised surface; either overprinting or on blank paper (called blind embossing).

emulsion side

In Photography, the side of the film coated with the silver halide emulsion which should face the lens during exposure.

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- F -

felt side

The smoother side of the paper for printing. The top side of the sheet in paper manufacturing.


In offset lithography, the assembled composite of negatives or positives, mostly on mylar, ready for platemaking.


The page number.


In composition, a complete assortment of letters, numbers, puncuation marks,etc. of a given size and design.


In offset, the assembly of pages and other images for printing.

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- G -


In papermaking, the direction in which most fibers lie which cooresponds with the direction the paper is made on a paper machine.

gripper margin

Unprintable blank edge of paper on which grippers bear, usually 1/2 inch or less.

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- H -

hairline register

Register within +/- 1/2 row of dots.


The reproduction of continuous-tone artwork, such as a photograph, through a crossline or contact screen, which converts the image into dots of various sizes.


The lightest or whitest parts in a photograph represented in a halftone reproduction by the smallest dots or the absence of dots.

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- I -


The arrangement of pages in a press form to insure the correct order after the printed sheet is folded and trimmed.

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- J -


In Composition, to space out lines uniformly to the correct length.

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- K -


In typesetting, subtracting the space between two characters, so that they appear closer together.

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- L -

laid paper

Paper with a pattern of parallel lines at equal distances, giving a ribbed effect.


In Composition, the distance between lines of type measured in points.


Any copy suitable for reproduction without using a halftone screen.

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- M -


Abbreviation for a quantity of 1000 sheets of paper.


In printing presses, all work done prior to running, i.e., adjusting the feeder, grippers, side guide, putting ink in the fountain, etc.

matte finish

Dull paper finish without gloss or luster.


In color process printing, the undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles of overprinting halftones.

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- N -


In Photography, film containing an image in which the values of the original are reversed so that the dark areas appear light and vice versa.

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- O -


See set-off. In printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate.


That property of paper which minimizes the "show-through" of printing from the backside or the next sheet.


Double printing; printing over an area that already has been printed.

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- P -


The process of performing page makeup automatically.

perfecting press

A printing press that prints both sides of the paper in one pass.


Printer's unit of measurement used principally in typesetting. One pica equals approximately 1/6 of an inch.


The lifting of the paper surface during printing. It occurs when pulling force (tack) of ink is greater than surface strength of paper.


Printer's unit of measurement, used principally for designating type sizes. There are 12 points to a pica; approximately 72 points to an inch.

press proofs

In Color reproduction, a proof of a color subject on a printing press, in advance of the production run.

process printing

The printing from a series of two or more halftone plates to produce intermediate colors or shades. In four-color process: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black.

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- Q -

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- R -


In printing, fitting of two or more printing images on the same paper in exact alignment with each other.


In printing, an ink that has reached maximum dryness and does not mar with normal abrasion.

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- S -

saddle stitch

In binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold of the sheets.

screen ruling

The number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.


In offset-lithography, a film of ink printing in the non-image areas of the plate where it should not print.


A cover of the same paper as the inside text pages.


In presswork, when the ink of a printed sheet rubs off or marks the next sheet as it is being delivered. Also called offset


To print one side of a sheet of paper with one form or plate, then turn the sheet over and print the other side with another form using the same gripper and side guide.


In offset-lithography, the positioning of negatives (or positives) on a flat (Mylar) prior to platemaking.

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- T -


In printing inks,the property of cohesion between particles; the pulling power or separation force of ink. A tacky ink has high separation forces and can cause surface picking or splitting of weak papers.

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.

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- U -

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- V -


A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance. Also, in inkmaking,it can be all or part of the ink vehicle.


in printing inks,the fluid component which acts as a carrier for the pigment.

vellum finish

in papermaking,a toothy finish which is relatively absorbent for fast ink penetration.


A photographic paper print made from a screen negative.


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

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- W -


The process of cleaning the rollers, form or plate, and sometimes the ink fountain of a printing press.


in papermaking,a design impressed on paper by the raised pattern of the dandy roll during manufacture.


in composition,a single word in a line by itself, ending a paragraph; frowned upon in good typography.

wire-o binding

A continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet.

wire side

in papermaking,the side of a sheet next to the wire in manufacturing; opposite from felt or top side.

with the grain

Folding or feeding paper into a press parallel to the grain of the paper.

work and tumble

To print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn the sheet over from gripper to back using the same side guide and plate to print the second side.

work and turn

To print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn the sheet over from left to right and print the second side. The same gripper and plate are used for printing both sides.

wove paper

Paper having a uniform unlined surface and a soft smooth finish.

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- X -

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- Y -

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- Z -

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- # -

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Revised: November 1, 2000.
Copyright © 2000 by Hermitage Press, Inc.
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