Printing Partners Glossary of Terms
Printing Partners  Printing Partners Glossary of Terms
Printing experience
Every industry has a collection of words that are unique. The printing industry is no exception.
We have gathered a group of what we consider to be the most important terms in printing and finishing. Hopefully you will find this glossary useful.

The following definitions are offered to provide a common understanding for phrases such as “we’ll print your brochure 4/4 work/turn with satin aqueous coating.”

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Usually special paper used to underlay the image or impression cylinder in letterpress, or the plate or bkanket in lithography to get proper squeeze or pressure for printing.

Page Buffering
The ability to spool an entire image to disk and print in a continous motion.

Page Description Langage (PDL)
A computer language designed to describing how type and graphic elements should be produced by output devices.

Page Markup
The electronic assembly of pages elements to compose a complete page with all elements in place on a video display terminal and on film or plate.

The process of performing page makeup automatically.

The collection of colors or shades available to a graphic system or program.

Panatone Matching Systems (PMS)
Color charts that have over 700 preprinted patches of blended inks, used to identify display or define special colors.

Photographic film sensitive to all visible colors.

Pantone color
Color designated by name and/or number corresponding to a physical ink-on-paper standard manufactured by Pantone, Inc.

Paper Master
A paper printing plate used on an offset duplicator. The miage is made by hand drawing, typewriter or electrophotography.

parent sheets
Cut sizes in which a mill stocks and sells each paper.

Paste Drier
A type of drier, usually a combination of drying compound.

Acronym for Personal Computer

(Portable document format) Format in which a file is saved that allows anyone to output the file without having the software application in which the file originated

PEFC is the world's largest forest certification organization. An international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management, PEFC is the certification system of choice for small forest

Perfect Binding
Bookbinding method where leaves are glued together at the spine.

Printing on both sides of the paper simultaneously; synonymous with duplexing.

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

Permit Imprint
Printed indicia used in place of a postage stamp or meter, that shows postage prepayment through the mailer's advance deposit account.

A number used for expressing the acidity or alkalinity of solutions. A value of 7 is neutral in a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Solutions with values below 7 are acidic. Values above 7 are akaline.

Materials used in electrophotography which are light sensitive when charged by corona.

Photograhic Developer
The chemical agent and process used to render photographic images visible after exposure to light.

Pertaining to any platemaking process using photographic negatices or positives exposed onto plates or clylinders covered with photosensitive coatings.

Photomechanical Proof
Also called analog, the photomechanical system produces proofs through the intermediate use of film. The result is that dot size, shape or arrangement cannot be changed significantly between film and proof. The aim is to show you what is in the film with an attempt to predict the press results.

Photomultipler Tube (PMT)
Used in drum scanners to produce color seperations of high quality.

Photopolymer Coating
A plate coating consisting of compounds which polymerize on exposure to produce tough abrasion-resistant plates capable of long runs especially when baked in an oven after processing.

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 the surface strength of paper.

A standard data format with which most older Macintosh illustrations are encoded.

The fine solid particles used to give inks color, transparency or opacity.

The building up or caking of ink on rollers, plate or blanket; will not transfer readily. Also, the acculumlation of paper dust or coating on the blanket of offset press.

PIN Register
The use of accurately positioned holes and special pins on copy, film, plates and presses to insure proper register or fit of colors.

Picture element; the smallest distinguishable part of any image.

Plate Cylinder
The cylinder of a press on which the plate is mounted.

Plate Setter
An image recorder which images directly on plate material. Platesetters currently available use lasers to expose or image paper, polyester or aluminum plates.

(Pantone matching system) Method for specifying and mixing inks from a numbering system listed in a swatch book.

Unit to measure type size and leading; 12 points equal 1 pica; 72 points equal 1 inch. Also the basic measure of paper thickness equal to 0.001 inches.

Poor Trapping
The condition in wet printing in letterpress and lithography when less ink transfers to previously printed ink to unprinted paper. Also called undertrapping.

Quality of paper surface. Uncoated papers have open, porous surfaces; coated papers are more closed with lower porosity. Porosity relates to the degree to which the surface will hold out ink.

Vertical orientation of a format as opposed to landscape horizontal orientation.

Postion Proof
Color proof for checking position, layout and/or color breakout of image elements.

Film containing an image in which black and light values are the same as the original. The reverse of negative.

Graphics language marketed by Adobe; a de facto industry standard for page description.

PostScript font
Type font in the Adobe Type 1 format. PostScript language is used to describe all of the characters and how they should be rendered.

Procedure of preparing an electronic file for output; includes checking that the file is correctly set-up, fonts are included and graphics are correctly linked.

Preliminary Proof
A preliminary proof is a representation of digital information that is not necessarily in final form.

Print production process up to the point where plates are made or a data stream is sent directly to a digital printer.

Presensitized Plate
A metal, film or paper base plate that had been precoated with a light-sensitive coating.

Press Proofs
A proof of a color subject made on a printing press, in advance of the production run.

Pressure-Sensitive Paper
Materail with an adhesuve coating protected by a abcking sheet until used.

Print Quality
A term describing the visual impression of a printed peice. The properties of the paper that affects its appearance and the quality of reproduction.

Process Color
Use of ink with a translucent base that allows for the creation of many colors by overprinting only four (cyan, magenta, yellow and black)

Process Colors
The subtractive primaries; yellow, magenta and cyan, plus black in four-color process printing.

Process Lens
A highly corrected photographic lens with a flat field for graphic arts line, halftone and color photography.

Process Printing
The printing from a series of two or more halftone plates to produce intermediate colors and shades.

Sequence of instructions for a computer.

The definition of a proof depends on the requirements of the job being printed. There may be several proofing systems at work on a single job. All proofs have different levels of cost and accuracy associated with them. In addition, depending on whether the workflow being used is conventional film or digital, proofs may be made from film or directly from digital files. In either case, a proof serves as a communication and quality control tool to preview image quality during the reproduction process.

A wet-and-dry bulb of hygrometer. Considered the most accurate of the instruments practical for industrial plant use for determining relative humidity.