• Accepted Payment Methods

Printing Industry Glossary

Browse helpful definitions of terms commonly used in the printing industry.

ABCDEFGHIJ – K – LM – N – O – P – Q – RSTUV – W – X – Y – Z

Acrobat®: A program from Adobe Systems which creates and reads documents that are saved as PDFs. PDF is an acronym for Portable Document Format. A PDF is used when it is desirable to create a document that retains all of its original type, formatting and graphics intact. Since HTML limits many of these options when writing and viewing standard web pages, PDFs allow a clear, clean presentation that will look the way you want it to. The only caveat is that you need a PDF reader to view these pages. We recommend Adobe Reader, available free from Adobe’s website.


Background: The area contained within the border, behind the ad space. It may or may not contain color or images.

Bleed:  The outer margin area of a given page, outside the border, which literally “bleeds” off the page area. The bleed may or may not contain color or images. Century Publishing recommends a minimum 1/8″ bleed.

Body Copy: The main body of text in an ad, separate from the masthead or headline.

Border: A line that divides the background from the bleed area. Also the keyline around a photo box can be referred to as a photo border.


Callouts: The CMYK color formula used to create a given color on the printing press. The proportion of each of cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Client: In “net -speak”, this refers to software that is used to access internet or world wide web sites. Think of yourself as a customer-a client who is walking into a store which happens to be a web site. Since the store-the web site-never sees you, but only the software you are using, that software is referred to as the client. So Internet Explorer is a client, Fetch is a client, Firefox is a client, Eudora is a client, etc.

CMYK: Literally, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & blacK. The four colors used in the process color printing method, which, when printed, produce a full color image.

Compressed Files: Files that have been put through a software routine which reduces the size. Most files which you might download from the internet will have been compressed, and may even be compressed more by your client software. Most client programs have decompression software which automatically extract the original data after downloading. If you receive a file which is not fully decompressed, a utility like Stuffit Expander should help you out.

Copy: Any text to be used in your advertisement.


Download: To copy a file from another computer or disk to yours.


Electronic File: Any file that exists as a digital document rather than hard copy. Simply referring to computer files of one sort or another.

Extensions:  .bin, .eps, .gif, .hqx, .jpg, .pdf, .sea, .tif, .sit, .zip, etc. Extensions can be almost anything, but commonly refer to the type of file. On the DOS/Windows platform for example, an .exe extension is short for executable, meaning literally that this is an application file which can be executed, that is, run by clicking on it. See individual entries for definitions.


Fetch: The most common FTP client for the Macintosh because it’s free to download, and inexpensive to license.

FileZilla: An Open Source FTP client available for Macintosh and Windows.

Folio: The page number. Typically part of a header or footer.

Font: The design family to which a chosen type style belongs. For instance, Helvetica is a style of type referred to as a font.

Footer: Generally a line at the bottom of the page, below the border, which may include page number, agency name, phone number or e-mail address.

FTP: An acronym for File Transfer Protocol. The agreed-upon language certain programs use (FTP clients) to access FTP sites in order to upload and download files. When typing in a URL, if the address uses ftp instead of http, it is identifying that address as an FTP site. An FTP client is recommended for uploading files to an FTP site as web browsers typically can’t handle FTP file uploads. FTP downloads typically work fine with a web browser.

FTP Client: File Transfer Protocol Client. (See client). A client software program designed to access FTP sites. Fetch is the most common Macintosh compatible FTP client. We recommend FileZilla for Windows computers.


GIF: (Pronounced “Jif” – like the peanut butter.) An acronym for Graphical Interchange Format. One of only three graphic file formats that is supported by HTML for inline graphics in Web pages. Gifs use an indexed color palette which is limited to 256 colors, making accurate color reproduction more likely, since most monitors support at least 256 colors. Gifs also employ a compression technique that reduces file size without too much loss of image quality. Gifs are not recommended for images intended for printing.


Hard Copy: Any printed version of an electronic file.

Header: Generally a line of text at the top of a page, above the border, which may include page number, agency name or property classification.

HTML: An acronym for HyperText Markup Language. The internationally agreed-upon language for writing documents for the World Wide Web. Almost every page you see when opening a URL in your web browser is written in some form of HTML.

HTTP: An acronym for HyperText Transport Protocol. It basically identifies the type of address you are trying to reach when you type in a URL.


InSite: Prepress portal software developed by Kodak which allows customers to upload files for printing as well as providing soft proofing and commenting tools.

ISP: An acronym for Internet Service Provider. This is the company which provides you with internet access. This could be a small local provider, your regional telephone company, a cable company or an international provider like America Online. Any of these could be a good choice and prices vary quite a bit, so it serves to do a little shopping around.


JPEG: An acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This is essentially a compression method used to make photographic quality images smaller. Different levels of compression are available when making a JPEG file, but the more compression is used, the more the overall quality of the image can suffer. Most commonly used for displaying photos on the World Wide Web. JPEGs are not a preferred file type for printing. Usually, but not necessarily recognized by the file extension .jpg.


Leadin: Sometimes referred to as a headline. The initial, usually bold, text that introduces each ad in your layout.

Logo Specs (Corporate): Most corporate entities require that their logos be reproduced in a specific manner. Specifications may include colors used, proportions, fonts used for attached text (Such as a DBA), physical proximity to other objects, etc. Logo specifications vary from design to design. In some cases, failure to comply with corporate logo specifications can jeopardize affiliation status.


Match Print: A full color glossy print made for final proofing purposes prior to printing the full job.

Mock-up: A rough construction of what is desired for the layout of a specific page or book, to be used as a reference when electronically constructing the actual layout.


Pica: A unit of measurement used by printers and graphics professionals. Equal to 1/6th of an inch. Also see point.

PMS: This abbreviation refers to the Pantone Color Matching System. A specifically defined method for choosing and reproducing printed colors. Used to ensure that the color chosen is accurately reproduced on press.

Point: A unit of measurement used by printers and graphics professionals. There are 6 points per pica, 36 points per inch. Also see pica.

Process Color: The method of using four colors – cyan, magenta, yellow & black – to produce full color prints.

Proof:  a.) The process of carefully examining the content of a document to ensure accuracy. b.) A printed hard copy of a page provided to the customer for their approval.


Rich Black: A special build of black containing not only black, but cyan, magenta and yellow. Used to give black backgrounds a richer, blacker appearance on the final printed product. Century Publishing recommends 100% black, 60% cyan, 40% magenta and 40% yellow for a rich black build.


Scan: To electronically sample an image in order to create a digital facsimile for computer use.

Shareware: Software applications that are distributed on a “try before you buy” basis. Although readily available from numerous sources without charge, all shareware authors expect that you will register and pay for their continued use.

Spam: No, not that Spam. Spam is the colloquial term used for unsolicited e-mail. Essentially junk mail for computers.

Specs: Specifications.

Stuffit Expander: A free utility used for extracting most types of archived or compressed files.


TCP/IP: An acronym for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is the basic language that computers use to communicate with each other over the internet.

TIFF: One of the recommended file types for images intended for printing. Usually, but not always indicated by the file extension “.tif”.

Trim Size: The actual size of the finished printed product after all excess paper has been trimmed off.


Upload: To transfer a file from your computer to another computer or disk.

URL: An acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. Think of this as the address of a specific site, file or object on the internet. For instance, the URL of our web site is https://www.centurypublishing.com.


Virus: A software program whose purpose is to infiltrate your computer and wreak some sort of havoc. Some viruses will do virtually harmless things like change your startup screen picture, while others can destroy any and all data they come into contact with. Whenever using the internet, and especially when downloading files, it is ALWAYS recommended that virus protection software be used to scan for these programs.