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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Saddle Stitching

Stitching where the wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inset to form a single section.

Safety Paper

A paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily.

Satin Finish

A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.


The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.


Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.

Screen Angles

The placement of halftone screens to avoid unwanted moire patterns. Frequently used angles are black 45deg, magenta 75deg, yellow 90deg, and cyan 105deg.

Screen Ruling

A measurement equaling the number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.

Screened Print

A photo print made by using a halftone negative; also called a velox.


Unwanted ink marks in the non-image area.

Self Cover

A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.


Ink that is unintentionally transferred from the printed substrate to the back of the sheet above it as the pieces are stacked in a pile. See also: offset.

Shadow Dot

The lowest density of a halftone image.


To decrease the dot size of the halftone which in turn decreases the color strength.


The printing of two different images on two different sides of a sheet of paper by turning the page over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides.

Short Hundredweight

A unit of mass equal to 100 pounds or 45.3 kilograms.

Short Ink

Ink that is smooth and creamy but does not flow freely.

Short Scale

Short scale is the English translation of the French term "échelle courte", which designates a system of numeric names in which the word billion means a thousand millions.
For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Great Britain uniformly used the long scale, while the United States of America used the short scale, so the two systems were often (and accurately) referred to as "British" and "American" usage, respectively. However, by the end of the 20th century almost all English-speaking countries had universally adopted the short scale, so the phrases "British usage" and "American usage" are now misleading.
Both systems have been used in France at various times in history, but the French have now settled with the long scale, in common with most other European languages.

Show Through

A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

SI Prefix

An SI Prefix is a prefix which can be applied to any unit of the International System of Units (SI) to give subdivisions and multiples of that unit.

Not all such prefixes are exclusive to SI. Many SI Prefixes, and the very idea of using prefixes for this purpose, predate the introduction of the SI in 1960, so they are also quite properly used with many non-SI units.

As part of the SI system they are officially determined by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures.

As an example, the prefix kilo multiplies by one thousand, so a kilometer is 1,000 meters, and a kilowatt is 1,000 watts. The prefix milli subdivides by a thousand, so a millimeter is one-thousandth of a meter (1000 millimeters in a meter), and a milliliter is one-thousandth of a liter. The ability to apply the same prefixes to any SI unit is one of the key strengths of the SI, since it considerably simplifies the system's learning and use.

SI Prefixes
10n Prefix Symbol Short Scale Long Scale Decimal equivalent
1024 Yotta Y Septillion Quadrillion 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000
1021 Zetta Z Sextillion Trilliard (thousand trillion) 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000
1018 Exa E Quintillion Trillion 1 000 000 000 000 000 000
1015 Peta P Quadrillion Billiard (thousand billion) 1 000 000 000 000 000
1012 Tera T Trillion Billion 1 000 000 000 000
109 Giga G Billion Milliard (thousand million) 1 000 000 000
106 Mega M Million 1 000 000
103 Kilo k Thousand 1 000
102 Hecto h Hundred 100
101 Deca, Deka da Ten 10
100 none none One 1
10-1 Deci d Tenth 0.1
10-2 Centi c Hundredth 0.01
10-3 Milli m Thousandth 0.001
10-6 Micro µ, u Millionth 0.000 001
10-9 Nano n Billionth Milliardth 0.000 000 001
10-12 Pico p Trillionth Billionth 0.000 000 000 001
10-15 Femto f Quadrillionth Billiardth 0.000 000 000 000 001
10-18 Atto a Quintillionth Trillionth 0.000 000 000 000 000 001
10-21 Zepto z Sextillionth Trilliardth 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 001
10-24 Yocto y Septillionth Quadrillionth 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001

Side Guide

The guides on the sides of the sheet fed press that position the sheet sideways as the paper is led towards the front guides.

Side Stitching

Stitching where the wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.

Signature (Section)

Printed sheet (or its flat) that consists of a number of pages of a book, placed so that they will fold and bind together as a section of a book. The printed sheet after folding.

Silhouette Halftone

A halftone with the background screen removed.


A photographic print with having a brown color. The paper used has been treated with silver chloride. See also: blueline; brownprint; Van dyke. Reference, brownline proof.


Is a choke; relates to trapping.


A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.


That quality of paper defined by its levelness which allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.

Soft Dot

An excessively large halo around a dot in a photograph that causes a fringe that diminishes the dot intensity.


All the colors of the rainbow created by passing sunlight or white light through a prism. See visible spectrum; white light.

Specular gloss

See: gloss.


Back edge of a book.

Spiral Bind

A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.


A digital file containing a vector image.
Alternative Term: Vector File
See Also: Vector Graphics, Vectors

Spot Color

  1. Small area printed in a second color.
  2. Localized color assigned to a graphic or block of text, prepares with a color break and printed without the use of color separations. Usually, process colors are not assigned to the spot color areas. Spot colors are frequently printed with non-process color inks, although process inks can be used as well.


  1. An image that covers two pages that face each other in a book or publication.
  2. Moving the edges of a line image outward a little to overlap a color.


To bind a series of pages with wire staples such that staples enter from the front and back simultaneously, neither side being long enough to exit the opposite side.


The quality of paper to maintain its original size when it undergoes pressure and moisture changes.

Stagger Cutting

A process of cutting many sheets from the same parent sheet in which the smaller sheets have different grain directions; also called dutch or bastard cutting.


To fasten together sheets, signatures, or sections with wire staples. 3 methods... saddle stitching, side stitching, and stabbing.

Star Target

The Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, GATF has established various quality control images; the star target appears along with the color bar and helps the pressman detect any irregularity in the ink spread. Reference, Color Bars

Static Neutralizer

A device on a printing press that minimizes the amount of static build up on paper as it passes through the press.

Step And Repeat

A process of generating multiple exposures by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.

Step tablet

See gray scale.

Step wedge

See halftone step scale.


A proofreader's symbol that is usually written in the copy margin, that indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was.


A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.


To add an element, such as copy that is shot separately, and then stripped into place on a goldenrod flat.


Originally, the removal of the photographic emulsion with its image from individual negatives and combining them in position on a glass plate. Now the use of stripfilm materials, and the cutting, attachment, and other operations for assembling. The positioning of positives and negatives on the flat before proceeding to platemaking.

Stumping or Blocking

Impressing book covers, etc., by means of hot die, brass types or blocks.


The material on which printed images or coatings are applied (e.g., cloth; film; foil; paper; etc.).

Subtractive Primary Colors

Media that use reflected light and colorants to produce colors are using the subtractive color method of color mixing. In the printing industry, to produce the varying colors, apply the subtractive primaries cyan, magenta and yellow together in varying amounts. Subtractive color works best when the surface (or paper) is white, or close to it.
See Also: Additive Color Process, Process Colors

Super Calendaring

A machine procedure that produces a high finished paper surface that is extremely smooth and exceptional for printing.

Synthetic Papers

Any petroleum based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength.

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