Glossary of Terms

Like any industry, ours uses a variety of terms. If you want to find out what they mean, you are in the right place! Simply click on a letter to see its list of terms. If the term you are looking for isn't listed in our glossary feel free to contact us so that we may help you as well as add it to our list.

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Packet Internet Groper

Ping is the name of a computer network tool used on TCP/IP networks (such as the Internet). It provides a basic test of whether a particular host is operating properly and is reachable on the network from the testing host. It also provides estimates of the round-trip time and packet loss rate between the hosts. It works by sending ICMP packets to the target host and listening for replies; its operation is analogous to active sonar in submarines, in which an operator issues a pulse of energy (a network packet) at the target, which then bounces from the target and is then received by the operator, hence the name.
Abbreviation: PING


A binding method where a stack of sheets are kept together using a flexible adhesive so that the sheets can easily be removed. e.g. a notepad


One side of a leaf.

Page Description Language

The format used to describe the position of elements within a page elements as well as the page's relative position within a document. The output device then translates the format into a reproduction of the original image.
Abbreviation: PDL
Alternative Term: Page Descriptor
See Also: Imagesetter, PostScript, Raster Image Processor, Vectors

Page Descriptor

See: Page Description Language

Page Makeup

1. Using a computer application to create a single or multi-page document, including the positioning of type, line art, photographs, etc. The document is then output to an imaging device. 2. Manually pasting the elements of a single or multi-page document to a board. Referred to as camera ready, this paste-up board is then photographed to create film negatives or positives. See also: pagination.

Page Proof

Proofs made up from pages.


1. The page makeup process for a multiple page document. 2. The process of numbering or creating individual pages. See also: page makeup.


Films or other photographic materials that are sensitive to all colors.


Any paper with a thickness (caliper) of 12 points (.3mm) or more.


A high-grade soft paper used for personal stationery because it accepts handwriting well.


A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.

Parent Sheet

A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.

Paste Drier

Any of a variety of compounds used in enhancing the drying properties of printing inks.

Paste Ink

An ink having a high level of viscosity.


Manually pasting the type, photographs, line art, and other elements of an image to a board. Referred to as camera ready, this paste-up board is then photographed to create film negatives or positives. Alternative terms: mechanical; photomechanical.



Perf Marks

Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.


A term used to describe the binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive.

Perfect Binding

Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.


Printing both sides of the paper (or other material) on the same pass through the printing machine.

Perfecting Press

A printing press that prints on both sides of the page in a single pass.


Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.


In physics and mathematics, peta is an SI prefix in the SI system of units denoting 1015 or 1 000 000 000 000 000 (e.g. 1 petameter = 1015 meters, 1 petasecond = 1015 seconds).
Adopted in 1975, it comes from the Greek πέντε, meaning five, because it is equal to 10005.
Abbreviation: P


A blue red pigment used mostly in news inks; not a good ink for lithographers as it bleeds in alcohol and water.


Making printing plates by exposure of line and halftone negatives on sensitized metal, converting the image into an acid resist, and etching the print to the relief required for letterpress printing.


1. The platemaking process where plates are coated with photosensitive coatings and exposed to photo negatives or positives. 2. See pasteup.


Photoshopping is the art and practice of digitally editing pictures with image editing software. The name comes from Adobe Photoshop, the image editor most commonly used for the practice, although other programs, such as Paint Shop Pro, Photopaint, or the GIMP may be used.
See Also: Airbrush, Computer Graphics


A photographic print creating an image using photography and electrostatic processes; also called a stat.


A device that outputs exposed photosensitive film or other materials. The phototypsetter uses electronic signals from a typsetting computer to expose the photosensitive material. Also a reference to the person operating the device. See also: typesetter.


The main pigment in the manufacture of cyan ink.


A pica (pronounced "PIKE-ah") is a unit of measure traditionally used in document layout. A pica measures 1 / 6 of an inch, and is used to measure the size of blocks of type, margins and other macroscopic elements of page layout.
1 / 12 of a pica is a point, which is the standard unit for measuring font size and leading. There are 72 points in an inch or 6 picas in an inch.
A measurement in picas is usually represented by placing a small letter p after the number of picas. "10 picas" is thus abbreviated to "10p". Likewise, points are represented by placing the number of points after a small p, such as 0p5 for "5 points", 6p2 for "6 picas and 2 points" or 1p1 for "13 points" which is converted to a mixed fraction of "1 pica and 1 point".
Abbreviation: p


1. When the tack of ink is stronger than the surface strength of the paper, some lifting of the paper surface occurs; this is referred to as picking. 2. An occurrence in printing whereby the tack of ink pulls fibers or coating off the paper surface, leaving spots on the printed surface.


Pico is an SI prefix in the SI system of units denoting 10-12 or one trillionth.
Confirmed in 1960, it comes from the Italian piccolo, meaning small.
Abbreviation: p

Picture Element

A picture element is one of the many tiny dots that make up the representation of a picture in a computer's memory. Usually the dots are so small and so numerous that, when printed on paper or displayed on a computer monitor, they appear to merge into a smooth image. The color and intensity of each dot is variable.
Abbreviation: Pixel


A build up of pigment or paper coatings onto the plate, blankets or rollers.

Pin Register

Using metal pins fitted into preset holes of copy sheets, films, plates and presses that will assure the proper registration.


Failure of printed ink to form a completely continuous film, visible in the form of small holes in the printed areas.

Pixels Per Inch

Pixels per inch or pixel density is a measurement of the resolution of a computer display, related to the size of the display in inches and the total number of pixels in the horizontal and vertical directions. This measurement is often referred to as dots per inch, though that measurement more accurately refers to the resolution of a computer printer. PPI may also be used to describe the resolution of an image scanner or digital camera.
Abbreviation: PPI
See Also: Dots Per Inch

Plastic Comb

A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest the spine, and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.


An ink additive that adds flexibility, softness and adhesion.


Reproduction of type or cuts in metal, plastic, rubber, or other material, to form a plate bearing a relief, planographic or intaglio printing surface.

Plate Cylinder

The cylinder on a printing press on which the plate is mounted.

Plate Finish

Any bond, cover or bristol stock with an extremely smooth finish achieved by calendaring.


Creating a printing plate that is completely prepared for use on the press. The process starts with a blank plate, which is then exposed to the image film, developed, and sensitized (if needed).


A point is a unit of measure in typography. There are various sorts of points, used in particular locations and times:

  • PostScript Point or Computer Point - Defined as 1/72 of an English inch or 0.35277 mm by Warnock and Geschke, the inventors of Adobe PostScript. Now the universal point in computers.
  • American Printer's Point - Defined as 0.013837 in or 0.35145 mm by Nelson Hawks in 1879.
  • Fournier Point - The first definition of the printer's point, by Pierre Fournier. It was 0.34882 millimeters, which was 1/12 of a cicero.
  • Didot Point - The French typesetting point defined by Ambroise Didot in the 18th century. It equals 0.37597 mm, which is 1/72 of a French royal inch (pouce).
  • Berthold Point - An attempt to create a point with a metric definition. 0.37593 mm or 1/2660 of a meter.
  • German Didot Point - Defined in 1954 as 0.376065 mm. This is the standard Didot point now used in Europe (unless replaced by metric typographic units).

On computer displays there are two accepted resolutions for typesetting, 72 and 144. Thus, one pixel represents one or two points respectively. The default setting for Macintosh Computers is 72pt per inch, the default for Windows is 96pt per inch.

The point is the standard unit for measuring font size and leading and other minute items on a printed page.

Twelve points make up a pica, there are 72 points in an inch, or 6 picas in an inch, a point is 1/12 of a pica. A measurement in picas is usually represented by placing a small p after the number of picas. "10 picas" is thus abbreviated 10p. Likewise, points are represented by placing the number of points after a small p, such as 0p5 for "5 points", 6p2 for "6 picas and 2 points", or 1p1 for "13 points" which is converted to a mixed fraction of "1 pica and 1 point".

Point Size

The height of a typeface. A point equals 0.0138 inches.

Portable Network Graphics

A .png is a lossless bitmap image format. PNG was created to both improve upon and replace the .gif format with an image file format that does not require a patent license to use. PNG is officially pronounced as "ping", but it is often just spelled out; possibly to avoid confusion with the internet tool ping.

Abbreviation: PNG
File Extensions: .png
See Also: (GIF) Graphics Interchange Format, (JPEG) Joint Photographic Experts Group, (TIFF) Tagged Image File Format


Film that contains an image with the same tonal values as the original; opposite of a negative.


A tradename of Adobe Systems, Inc. for its page description language. This language translates a digital image file from a word processing application, for example, into a language a compatible printer or other device can use to create its output.
See also: Imagesetter, Page Description Language, Raster Graphics, Raster Image Processor, Vector Graphics


Any paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer.

Presensitized Plate

A plate that has been treated with light sensitive coatings by the manufacturer.


Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.

Primary Colors

In printing the four primary colors are cyan, magenta, yellow and black otherwise known as CMYK.
See Also: Process Colors, Subtractive Primary Colors


The quality of papers to show reproduced printed images.

Printers Pairs

Two consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

Printing Industries of America

The Printing Industries of America was founded in 1887. It has undergone several changes throughout the years. Including consolidating the Printing Industries of America (PIA) and the Graphical Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) in 1999. To see how both organizations changed and how they came together checkout their history here.

  • Abbreviation: PIA
  • Former Abbreviation: PIA/GATF, GATF

Process Colors

Process color is both a method of printing, and a method of specifying a color. In process color printing colors are created by combining 4 inks (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black or CMYK for short). Cyan, magenta and yellow are also known as the subtractive primary colors.

Process Inks

Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan, and black, which are printed, one over another in that order, to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks, and grays.

Process Lens

A high quality specialty lens made for line art, halftone and color photography.

Process Printing

Printing from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colors and shades.

Progressive Proof

Any proofs made from the separate plates of a multi-plate-printing project.


Impression from composed type or blocks, taken for checking and correction, from a lithographic plate to check accuracy of layout, type matter, tone and color reproduction.

Pull For Position

Guide sheet for the positioning of type, blocks, etc.

Pull Sheets

Random sheets removed from the stack of output and used for quality control.


The fibrous cellulose produced by mechanical or chemical means that is used for making paper.

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