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Helpful Terms


Abrasion ResistanceThe level at which paper can withstand continuous scuffing or rubbing.

AbsorptionThe properties within paper that cause it to absorb liquids (inks, water, etc.) which come in contact with it.

Acid FreePaper made in a neutral pH system, usually buffered with calcium carbonate.

Acidity Degree of acid found in a given paper substance measured by pH level. From 0 to 7 is classified acid as opposed to 7 to 14, which is classified alkaline.

Against the Grain A right angle to which the fiber direction of a piece of paper lies. Folding with, not against, the grain is recommended.

Aluminum Plate A metal press plate used for moderate to long runs in offset lithography to carry the image.

Announcement Cards Cards of paper with matching envelopes generally used for social stationery, announcements, weddings, greetings, etc.

Antique Finish A paper finish, usually used in book and cover papers, that has a tactile surface. Usually used in natural white or creamwhite colors.


Back Cylinder PressureAdditional pressure applied through the impression cylinder assisting the image transfer to the press sheet.

BackboneThe back of a bound book; also called the spine.

Baggy Roll Mill roll defect usually associated with a variation in caliper and/or basis weight across the web; stretched paper results, which tends to cause problems in the forms manufacturing process. Rolls are normally checked for baggy areas by striking with a baton and listening for variations in audible pitch.

Baronial EnvelopeAn envelope generally used with announcements.

Base StockManufactured paper that will be further processed as laminated, Duplex Cover, Bristol Cover, or off machine embossed papers.

Basic SizeThe standard sheet size of a given grade.

Basis WeightThe weight in pounds per ream of paper cut to its basic size in inches.

BinderyA process of perforating, folding, trimming and eventually binding a printed piece.

BlanketIn offset lithography, the rubbercoated fabric clamped around the blanket cylinder, which transfers the image from plate to paper.

Blanket ContaminationUnwanted matter that becomes attached to the offset blanket and interferes with print quality.

Blanket CeepMovement of the blanket surface that comes in contact with the printing plate or paper.

Blanket CylinderThe printing press cylinder on which the blanket is mounted.

Blind EmbossingA printing technique in which a basrelief design is pushed forward without foil or ink.

BoldfaceThicker, visually heavier type vs. thin visually light type. Darker type.

Bond PaperStrong, durable writing paper, consisting of wood, cotton, or both, most commonly used for letterheads, stationery, business forms, etc

Bonding StrengthThe strength of the paper fibers to resistance of picking or tearing during offset printing.

BookletA printed piece bound together, containing a few pages.

BrightnessA technical measurement of the light reflected back from a paper.

Bristol BoardA high quality heavy weight paper, sometimes made with cotton fiber prepared or glued together, usually with a caliper thickness of 0.006" and up.

BrokeMachine trim or undesirable paper that is returned to the beaters.

Broken CartonAn open carton of paper with some of its contents removed.

BulkSheet thickness. Highbulk sheets have fewer sheets per inch than lowbulk.

Bursting StrengthThe point to which paper can withstand pressure without rupturing.

Butted JointJoining two webs of paper, placing them endtoend and pasting a strip over and under to make a continuous sheet without overlapping.


Calender StacksA vertical series of steel rolls at the end of the paper machine to increase the smoothness of the paper.

Calendering&To impart a smooth finish on paper by passing the web of paper between polished metal rolls to increase gloss and smoothness.

CaliperThe thickness of a sheet paper, in thousandths of an inch (points or mils).

Camera-Ready ArtArt work ready to be imaged onto film by the film house or printer's camera department.

CelluloseFor paper manufacturing, the primary component of the cell walls of wood fibers.

Cellulose fiberThe fiber remaining after bleaching and pulping of wood used in making paper.

Chain linesThe lines on laid paper parallel with the grain; also referred to as "chain marks".

CharacterA type fonts letter, number, symbol or a blank space in typesetting.

Chemical PulpWood fiber cooked using chemicals producing a pulp used to manufacture numerous printing papers and paperboard products. Papers manufactured with chemical pulp are called "free-sheet" papers.

Chip BoardAn inexpensive thick one-ply cardboard, typically made from recycled paper stock.

Clear Formation&;Describes paper fibers that are uniformly dispersed within a sheet of paper -a characteristic of quality paper.

Close FormationUniform density in a sheet of paper.

Cloudy FormationSame as cloud effect; cloudy. Opposite of close formation. Indicates unevenness and lack of uniformity of fiber structure.

Cloudy FormationA spotty, non-uniform collection of paper fibers, the opposite of clear formation.

Cockle FinishA rough, uneven, hard paper finish. Most frequently manufactured in bond papers.

Cold ColorA color on the bluish side.

Color FastnessThe ability of dyed paper to maintain in the presence of exposure to light, heat etc.

Commercial MatchPaper manufactured to within acceptable tolerances of a sample provided to the mill.

Commodity PapersA classification of low-quality bond and offset papers.

Condensed Face or Condensed TypeA particular typeface that allows more print per line, as though the letters were squashed at their sides.

ConditioningAllowing paper to adjust itself to the temperature and humidity of the printing plant prior to use.

ConservationThe preservation and responsible use of our natural resources to ensure they endure. ENVIRONMENT® Papers are an excellent choice because they conserve trees, water, chemicals, energy and landfill space.

ConverterCompany that converts paper from its original form to usable products such as envelopes, label stock, announcements etc.

Correspondence PapersWriting papers in attractive finishes, weights or colors.

Cotton Content PaperPapers utilizing cotton fabrics and cotton linters. Today most cotton content papers are made for letterhead applications. Papers made with cotton range from 25% to 100% cotton content.

Cotton LintersThe cotton fibers that adhere to the cottonseed used to produce pulp for cotton fiber papers.

Couch RollOn a paper making machine the equipment that helps remove excess water from the moving web of paper prior to the wet press section of a paper machine.

Cover PaperDurable, heavier weight papers, available in a variety of finishes and colors, used for the cover of pamphlets, annual reports, business cards, etc…

Crop ResidueAn alternative source of fiber for paper making. Although rigorous use does have some environmental consequence, they are a clean and renewable source of cellulose.

Cross DirectionThe opposite direction of the grain of the paper.

Cross Grain FoldA fold at a right angle to the direction of the grain in the paper.

Crossmachine direction A line perpendicular to the direction the paper travels through the papermaking machine. Also referred to as Cross direction or Cross grain.

CurlUndesirable distortion or waviness occurring to the paper due to the presence of excess moisture or humidity.

Cut Size Papers cut 8 ½ x 11, 8 ½ x 14, or any other size 11 x 17 or smaller.

Cut to Register Term used for watermarked letterhead papers to indicate the watermark will be cut to appear in a predetermined position on the finished sheet. Also referred to as a localized watermark.

Cutter Dust Paper dust resulting from cutting or trimming the paper which can transfer to printing blankets causing problems during a press run.


D.T. Cover Double-thick" describes a sheet of paper made by bonding two thicknesses of paper together resulting in an extra-stiff sheet.

Damp Streaks Streaks caused by uneven pressing of drying during paper manufacturing.

Dampeners In lithography, cloth covered, parchment paper or rubber rollers that distribute the dampening to the press plate.

Dampening Water, gum buffered acid, and various types of etches used to keep the non-image areas of the plate moist, and preventing them from accepting ink, in the lithographic printing process; also called fountain solution.

Day-Glo Trade name for inks and papers containing fluorescent pigments.

Debossing The process in which the image is recessed into the paper.

Deckle On the wet end of the paper machine the straps or deckle rulers that prevent the fiber from overflowing the sides of the machine. The deckle determines how wide the paper on a particular machine will be.

Deckle Edge Refers to the feathered edge on paper produced when fibers flow against the deckle or edge of the web. Deliberately produced for aesthetic purposes, a deckle edge is found especially on formal stationery and announcements. A deckle edge can be created by an air jet, or also by a stream of water.

Decurler A device on a web press or sheeter used to remove paper curl.

Decurling A paper decurling station on a sheeter or web press, used to remove paper curl.

Dirt Count The average amount of dirt in a specific size of paper area. Both virgin and recycled sheets have "dirt," although recycled paper has significantly higher dirt counts. The dirt should always be small enough not to interfere with the quality of the finished printed piece.

Delamination A separation of the paper's surface.

Delivery Area of the originating press where the freshly printed sheets are piled as they leave the impression section.

Densitometer Reflection instrument measuring the density of colored ink to determine its consistency throughout a press run.

Density Identifies the weight of paper compared to the volume; it is directly related to the paper's absorbency, stiffness, and opacity.

Descender The parts of lower case letters that extend below the baseline.

Die A design, letters, or pattern cut in metal for stamping, embossing or for diecutting.

Die-Cutting Male and female dies are used to cut out paper or board in desired shapes.

Digester Pressure vessel in which wood chips are cooked to separate fibers from each other and to remove detrimental particles.

Dimensional Stability Characteristic of paper to retain its dimensions in all directions under the stress of production and adverse changes in humidity.

Dirt Dirt in paper consists of any imbedded foreign matter or specks, which contrast in color to the remainder of the sheet.

Dished Concave rather than flat pile of paper. Also refers to roll ends of paper that are not flat.

Dividers Tabbed sheets of index or other heavy stock, used to identify and separate specific sections of a book; used in loose-leaf and bound books.

Dot Etching Handwork on engravings and lithographic screened (halftone) negatives for correcting tonal values in either black-and-white or color work.

Double Varnish Two applications of press varnish.

Double-Deckle Paper A paper having parallel deckle edges.

Double-Thick Cover Stock A cover stock composed of two sheets of 65 lb. Cover stock laminated together.

Driers Wet paper passes through these large cylindrical steam heated rolls that dry paper webs. The dry-end of the paper machine.

Drilling Piercing of stacks of papers in a precision manner with round hollow drills at high speeds. Loose-leaf notebook paper is an example of drilled paper.

Dry-End On the paper machine, it is the section where the dryers, cutters, slitters and reels are located.

Dummy Page or set of pages assembled in the exact position, form and style desired for the finished piece of printed work. Used as a model or sample for the printer.

Duplex Paper having a different color on each side.

Dusting The accumulation of loose particles from the paper on the nonimage areas of the blanket. Particles are of very small size.

Dye An ink colorant that is soluble in vehicle or solvent.

Dye Transfer Similar in appearance to a color photograph but different in the important respect that it is produced from a transparency by printing continuous tones of color dyes.

Dylux A stable print specially sensitized on two-sided papers for proofing.


ECF Elemental Chlorine Free Pulp bleached without the use of elemental chlorine. Generally this is virgin fiber bleached with chlorine dioxide.

E.C.H. Will Sheeter Continuous automatic cut-size sheeter, ream wrapper, ream labeler, ream accumulator, case packer, lidder, bander and palletizer.

EPA The U.s. Environmental Protection Agency, which publishes guidelines for minimum recycled product content for use by federal agencies for purchasing standards. Many state and local governments and businesses have voluntarily adopted these. The EPA is charged with most of the environmental responsibility for guidance, direction, monitoring and enforcement in the United States.

Electronic Color Scanner High speed computer, which instantly calculates the necessary color correction by measuring the original copy.

Electronic Printing In digital printing, any technology that reproduces pages without the use of traditional ink, water or chemistry.

Electrostatic Copying Process using an intermediary plate or drum (like Xerography) or coated take-off sheet (like Electrofax™) which is electrically charged to attract powder or liquid developer only to the image area.

Elliptical Dot In halftone photography, elongated dots, which give improved gradation of tones particularly in middle tomes and vignettes - also called chain dots.

EM In composition, a unit of measurement exactly as wide and high as the point sizes being set. So named because the letter "M" in early fonts was usually cast on a square body.

Embossed Finish A finish imparted to a web of paper through an embossing machine. The paper will take on a raised or depressed surface resembling wood, cloth, leather, or other pattern.

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

EN In composition, one-half the width of an em.

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) In digital prepress, a file format used to transfer graphic images within compatible applications. A file containing structured PostScript code, comments and a screen display image.

End-Leaf Paper Strong, fine quality papers, either plain or coated and sometimes colored or marbled used at both ends of a book. Also called sheets.

Engraving Printing by the intaglio process. Ink is applied to the paper under extreme pressure resulting in a printed surface being raised. Used for fine letterheads, wedding invitations, etc.


Fadeout HalftoneA general reduction in the overall contrast of a halftone, to allow type to be easily readable when printed over it.

Fake DuotoneA two-color reproduction, using single halftone negative, usually blank, and a halftone screen tint for the background, usually in color.

FanfoldContinuous multiple ply form manufactured from a single wide web which is folded longitudinally.

FanoutIn printing, distortion of paper on the press due to waviness in the paper caused by absorption of moisture at the edges of the paper, particularly across the grain.

FeatheringTendency of an ink image to spread with a fuzzy, "feather like" edge.

Feed RollersOn a printing press, the rubber wheels that move the sheets of paper from the feed pile to the grippers.

FeederThe section of a printing press that separates the sheets and feeds them into position for printing.

FeelTerm expressing an individual’s impression of a paper’s finish and stiffness or suppleness.

Feet-Per-MinuteAbbreviated FPM, this term refers usually to the speed of a papermaking machine in terms of how many feet per minute the forming web of paper traverses the length of the machine.

Felt FinishA finish applied to the paper at the wet end of the paper machine by using felts of a distinctive weave rather than standard or regular wove felts. ENVIRONMENT® Papers.

Felt SideTop side of the paper, opposite from the wire side or underneath. The "right side of the paper".

FeltWoven, endless belt made of wool, cotton or synthetic materials used to transport the paper web on the paper machine, during manufacture. Felts act as a conveyor while at the same time removing water from paper as it progresses through the paper machine.

Fiber OrientationRefers to the alignment of the fibers in the sheet. The degree of alignment can be controlled in the paper making process.

FiberThe small strands of wood, cotton or other cellulose product that is used to make the paper. In the premium paper market all of the fiber is lignin free. Fiber before it is made into the finished product us referred to as pulp.

FibrillaeString-like elements that are loosened from the paper fibers during the beating process. They aid in the bonding processes when paper is being manufactured.

FibrillationAct of loosening the fibrillae during the mechanical process of beating the fibers in preparation for papermaking.

FillerMinerals, such as clay and other white pigments, added to pulp to improve the opacity, smoothness, brightness, and printing capabilities of paper.

Filling InA condition in offset lithography where ink fills the area between the halftone dots or plugs up the type; also known as plugging or filling up.

FillMaximum width of paper that can be made on any given paper machine.

Film MechanicalA mechanical on which type and design elements in the form of film positives are stripped into position on a sheet of base film.

Final NegativesNegatives that are right reading, emulsion down.

Fine Merchant, Fine Paper DistributorFirm which confines its sales and distribution activities to fine printing papers only.

Fine PapersTypes of papers used for writing, printing, and cultural purposes.

FinishThe physical look and feel of the paper’s surface. These include smooth, felt, laid, linen and others.

Finished ArtHand lettering, charts, color blocks, illustrations, photographs, etc., ready for camera.

Finishing BrokeDiscarded paper resulting from any finishing operation.

First Color DownThe first color printed as the sheet passes through the press.

FlagA strip of paper protruding from a roll or skid of paper. May be used to mark a splice in a roll of paper or used to mark off reams in a skid.

Flash ExposureIn halftone photography, the supplementary exposure given to strengthen the dots in the shadow areas of negatives.

Flat ColorPrinting two or more colors without overlaying color dots (i.e. without color trap); individual color matching. This differs from process color, which is a blending of four colors to produce a broad range of colors.

Flat EtchingThe chemical reduction of the silver deposit in a continuous-tone or halftone plate, brought about by placing it in a tray containing an etching solution.

FlatIn offset lithography, the assembled composite of negatives, usually on goldenrod paper, ready for platemaking. Also, a photograph or halftone that is lacking contrast.

Flatbed PressA press on which plates are positioned along a flat metal bed against which the paper is pressed by the impression cylinder, as compared to a rotary press which prints from curved plates.

Flatbed ScannerA device that scans images in a manner similar to a photocopy machine; the original art is positioned face down on a glass plate.

FlexographyLetterpress printing using a form of relief printing ; formally called aniline printing. Synthetic or rubber relief plates, special inks, presses procedures.

FlopTo reverse a negative or positive, to bring the underside out on top. A negative that must be flopped has emulsion on the wrong side.

FlowThe property of ink which causes it to level out when still a liquid; "short" inks have poor flow, and "long" inks have good flow.

Fluorescent InksExtremely brilliant inks containing fluorescent pigments.

Flush CoverCover of a book that has been trimmed to the same dimensions as the text papers.

FlyleafUnprinted page that is part of a printed signature. It also can be a synonym for end-leaf.

FogAn undesirable neutral density in the clear areas of a photographic film or paper, in which the image is either locally or entirely veiled by a deposit of silver. Fog may be due to flare, unsafe darkroom illumination, age, or processing conditions.

FoilA tissue-like material in sheet or roll form covered on one side with a metallic coloring used for stamping.

Folding EnduranceA paper test which measures the number of double (back and forth) folds that can be made on a sheet of paper under tension, before it breaks.

FoldoutA page that exceeds the dimensions of a single page. It is folded to page size and included in the book, sometimes bound in and sometimes tipped in (pasted).

FolioRefers to sheet size 17x22 or larger. Also, page numbers.

Foot The bottom of a page of printed information.

FormationRefers to the uniformity or lack of it in the distribution of the fibers when manufacturing paper; can be observed by looking through the sheet; a good formation is uniform or "Close", while a poor formation is not.

Fountain SolutionIn lithography, a solution of water, a natural or synthetic gum and other chemicals used to dampen the plate and keep non-printing areas from accepting ink.

Fountain The unit on a press that contains ink to be fed to the distributing system, and the part that feeds the fountain solution to the dampening system.

Four-Color ProcessThe four basic colors of ink (yellow, magenta, cyan, and black), which reproduce full-color photographs or art.

FourdrinierA paper machine developed by Louis Robert and financed by Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier that produces a continuous web of paper; also the term for the section of the paper machine which is a continuous "wire" or belt screen, through which the first removal of water occurs. The point of formation.

Four-Sided Trim (trim 4)After the job is printed and folded, a trim will be taken off all four sides to remove any reference or registration marks and give a clean edge to the pile of sheets.

For Position Only (FPO)In digital imaging, typically a low-resolution image positioned in a document to be replaced later with a higher resolution version of the same image.

Free-SheetPaper made with pulp created in a kraft process that has removed the lignin. Freesheet paper has more longevity than groundwood which contains lignin.(Newspaper is made with groundwood)

French FoldA sheet printed on one side and folded first vertically and then horizontally to produce a four-page folder.

FurnishThe mixture of fiber and other materials that is blended in the water suspension, or slurry, from which paper or board is made; usually about 1% solid material with 99% or the balance being water.

FSC - Forest Stewardship CouncilAn independent, international, environmentally and socially oriented forest certification organization. It trains, accredits and monitors third-party certifiers around the world and works to establish international forest management standards. ENVIRONMENT® Paper has four colors that are FSC certified.

Fuzz (fluff)Loose fibers projecting from a paper's surface.


Gang Printing Grouping related jobs using same paper and inks. Grouping more than one job on a single plate.

GatefoldA four-page insert, having foldouts on either side of the center spread.

GATFGraphic Arts Technical Foundation

GatheringCollating folded signatures in consecutive order.

GCRGray Component Replacement

Gear StreaksIn printing, parallel streaks appearing across the printed sheet at same interval as gear teeth on the cylinder.

GenerationEach succeeding stage in reproduction from original copy.

Genuine WatermarkWatermark made with a dandy roll.

Ghost HalftoneA light halftone that may be overprinted with solid copy.

GhostingGhost images are unwanted images that reduce print value. Mechanical ghosting develops during the delivery of the printed sheet and is traceable to on-press conditions, ink starvation, form layout, and even to the blanket itself. Chemical ghosting, which occurs during the drying process of ink on paper, is especially bothersome because the condition cannot be detected until the job has been completed.

GildTo cover the trimmed edges of a book with gold or other metallic leaf.

Gloss InkAn ink containing an extra quantity of varnish, which gives a glossy appearance when dry.

Glued-On CoverA cover fastened to the text with glue.

Gluing OffThe process of applying glue to the spine of a book to be casebound, after sewing and smashing, and before trimming.

GradeThe classification given to paper due to its unique characteristics, which includes brightness, opacity, cotton content, etc…

Grain Direction The direction of the fibers in paper.

Grain LongTerm used to designate that the grain of the paper is parallel to the longest measurement of a sheet of paper. The fibers are aligned parallel to the length of the sheet.

Grain ShortOpposite of grain long. Grain of the paper runs at the right angles to the longest dimension of the sheet. Fiber alignment in grain short paper parallels the sheet’s shortest dimension.

Grainy PrintingPrinting characterized by unevenness, particularly of halftones.

GrammageThe basis weight of paper stated in metric terms of grams per square meter and expressed as g/m2. Thus a sheet of paper 17 x 22 with a basis weight of 20 lbs. For 500 sheets would be expressed metrically as 75 g/m2. To convert from basis weight to grams per square meter (g/m2), multiply basis weight by 1406.5 (a constant factor) and divide by the number of square inches in base sheet.

GravureAn intaglio printing process in which the image area is etched below the surface of the printing plate and is transferred directly to the paper by means of pressure.

Gray BalanceThe dot values or densities of cyan, magenta, and yellow that produce a neutral gray.

Gray LevelThe number of gray values that can be distinguished by a color separation filter-usually 28 or 256.

GripperA row of clips that holds a sheet of paper as it speeds through the press.

Gripper EdgeLeading edge of a sheet of paper as it passes through the printing press.

Gripper MarginUnprintable back edge of a sheet of paper on which grippers bear, usually ½ inch or less.

GrippersIn sheetfed printing presses, metal fingers that clamp on paper and control its flow as it passes through.

GroundwoodPaper made from pulp created in one of several proceses that use virtually the whole tree. Sometimes chemical and heating process are used in the pulping. Groundwood paper retains the lignin from the trees, which causes the paper to yellow and deteriorate relatively quickly.

Gross WeightThe total weight of merchandise and shipping container.

Guide EdgeThe edge of a printed sheet at right angles to the gripper edge, which travels along a guide on the press or folder. This edge, like the gripper edge, should never be altered or mutilated between the printing and folding operations. It is the shorter edge of the sheet.

Guide MarksA method of using crossline marks on the offset press plate to indicate trim, centering of the sheet, centering of the plate, etc.; these are sometimes called register marks .

Guide RollerSometimes called a cocking roller. Located on the roll stand between the roll of paper and the dancer roll . Can be cocked to compensate for certain paper roll conditions.

Guide SideThe side the press uses to guide the sheet to the exact side toward the operator; also known as operator or control side.

GuillotineDevice that is used to cut or trim stacks of paper to the desired size.

Gum StreaksStreaks, particularly in halftones, produced by uneven gumming of plates which partially desensitizes the image.

GummingIn platemaking, the process of applying a thin coating of gum to the non-printing areas of a lithographic plate.

GutterThe blank space or inner margin on a press sheet from printing area to binding.


Hairline RegisterRegister within ± ½ row of dots.

HalationIn photography, a blurred effect, resembling a halo, usually occurring in the highlight areas or around bright objects.

Half BindingA style of binding wherein the shelf-back and the corners are bound in a different material from that used on the sides.

Halftone Negative Artwork (screened negative)The negative film produced when continuous-tone artwork is shot through a halftone screen.

Halftone Positive Artwork (screened positive) A photographic positive containing a halftone image.

Halftone ScreenAn engraved glass through which continuous tone copy is photographed and reduced to a series of dots for halftone printing.

HalftoneReproduction of continuous tone artwork with the image formed dots of various sizes.

Handmade FinishPaper with a rough finish resembling handmade paper.

Hard (dot)a halftone dot characterized by a sharp, clean cut edge.

HardboundAnother term for casebound.

Hardcover (casebound, edition binding)Nonflexible book binding made of thick, glazed board.

Hard-SizedPaper that has been treated with a large amount of size to increase its resistance to moisture. Slack-sized is the opposite.

Hard-WoodWood from deciduous trees having short fibers.

Head TrimThe amount allowed for the top trim.

HeadbandA small strip of silk or cotton used for decoration at the top of a book between the sheets and the cover. In hand binding, a real tape to which the signatures are sewn.

HeadboxOn a paper machine, the box that dispenses the appropriate amount of furnish (pulp) into the papermaking process.

HeadThe top of a page of text which can be a chapter heading, title line, etc…

Head-to-Head ImpositionAn imposition which requires that pages be laid out with the top of a page (head) positioned across the top of the page (head) opposite it on the form.

Head-to-Tail ImpositionAn imposition which requires that pages be laid out with the top of a page (head) positioned across the from the bottom (tail) of the page opposite on the form.

Heat-Set InksInks used in high-speed web offset. They set rapidly under heat and are quickly chilled.

HickeysIn offset, spots or imperfections in the printed image traceable to such things as dirt on the press, dried ink skin, paper particles, dust, etc…

High BulkA paper (normally book paper) specifically manufactured to retain a thickness not found in papers of the same basis weight. Frequently used to give thickness to a book with minimal amount of pages.

High ContrastIn photography, describes a reproduction in which the difference in darkness between neighboring areas is greater than in the original.

High FinishA term referring to a paper that has a smooth, hard finish applied through calendering or other processes.

High Key PictureA continuous tone photo made up of predominantly highlight (white) areas.

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

High-Speed PrinterComputer which prints in excess of 300 lines per minute.

HitAn impression from a stamping die.

HoldoutA term referring to papers that retain much of the resinous ink components on the surface of the sheet rather than absorbing them into a fiber network. Papers with too much holdout cause problems with setoff.

HueIn color, the main attribute of a color which distinguishes it from other colors. See Chroma.

HumidityMoisture condition of the air. Relative humidity is the percent of moisture relative to the actual amount which air at any given temperature can retain without precipitation.

Hydra PulperVat with a special type of agitator used to hydrate and prepare pulp for papermaking.

HydrationA papermaking process that involves beating the pulp so as to increase its ability to hold water and produce a paper with the proper moisture content.

HydrophilicDescribes paper with an affinity for water.

HydrophobicDescribes paper that tends to be water repellent.

HygroscopicDescribes paper that readily absorbs moisture.


Imitation ParchmentPaper made with irregular distribution of fibers.

ImposetterIn digital imaging, an imagesetter capable of outputting a film flat with 4, 8 or more pages in imposed position.

Impression CylinderIn printing, the cylinder on a printing press against which the paper picks up the impression from the inked plate in direct printing, or the blanket in offset printing.

ImpressionPressure of type of blanket as it comes in contact with paper.

ImprintTo print other information on a previously printed piece by running it through a press again.

ImprinterAn auxiliary printing unit, usually employing rubber letterpress plates; imprints copy on top side of web and permits imprint copy to be changed while press is running at full speed.

IndiciasMailing permit imprints that are preprinted on envelopes, mailing cartons, etc.

Ink Dot ScumOn aluminum plates, a type of oxidation scum characterized by scattered pits that print sharp, dense dots.

Ink DrumA metal drum, either solid or cored; a part of an inking mechanism; used to break down the ink and transfer it to the form rollers.

Ink FountainIn printing presses, the device which stores and supplies ink to the inking rollers.

Ink HoldoutAn important printing paper quality - the ability to keep ink on top of the paper's surface. An inked image printed on paper with a high degree of ink holdout will dry by oxidation rather than absorption.

Ink ReceptiveHaving the property of being wet by greasy ink, in preference to water

Inking MechanismOn a printing press, the ink fountain and all the parts used to meter, transfer, break down, distribute, cool or heat, and supply the ink to the printing members. Also called inking system.

In-LineDenotes a production line of machinery, as required for the more or less complete manufacturing of a given product.

InsertA printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.

IntaglioType or design etched into a metal plate as opposed to raised letters as in letterpress.

IntensityThe extreme strength, degree or amount of ink.

Interleaves (slip sheets)Paper inserted between sheets as they come off the printing press to prevent transfer of wet ink from one to the other. Also, accessory sheets between parts in a form.


JogTo align sheets of paper into a compact pile.

JointThe flexible hinge where the cover of a casebound book meets the spine, permitting the cover to open without breaking the spine of the book or breaking apart the signatures; also called a hinge.

JordanProper name for the beater on the paper machine. In the Jordan, the pulp is pulverized, causing the pulp and water to mix in a uniform manner.

Junior CartonA package of reamed sealed, cut size paper packed 8 to 10 reams per carton.

JustifyFitting a line of type to both margins.


Kerning A method in composition of changing the spacing between type; brings the type closer together.

Key Plate In color printing, the plate used as a guide for the register of other colors. It normally contains the most detail.

KeylineIn artwork, an outline drawing of finished art to indicate the exact shape, position and size for such elements as halftones, line sketches, etc…

Kiss ImpressionPrinting performed with only slight pressure. The normal procedure for quality printing.

Kiss PressureThe minimum pressure at which proper ink transfer is possible.

Kiss-CutPartial cut through.

Kraft ProcessA chemical pulping process that cooks down the tree to remove lignin, retaining the fibers for paper making. Free sheet papers are made in the kraft process.


Label PaperPaper coated on one side, used for labeling applications.

Laid Dandy RollA dandy roll made for the purpose of imparting a laid finish to paper. It is composed of wires running parallel to the roll’s axis and attached to the frame by evenly spaced chain wires that encircle the circumference of the roll. The laid wires are affixed on top of the transverse chain wires, rather than being wove over and under them.

Laid LinesLines seen in a laid sheet which are the result of the design on the dandy roll.

Laid PaperThe closely "lined" appearance in the finish of writing and printing papers created during manufacture by a dandy roll.

Laid WiresParallel wires in a dandy roll that produce the laid watermark and run in the cross grain direction.

Laid WritingPaper used for writing and correspondence purposes that has a laid mark.

LaidTerm describes the finish imparted by a dandy roll which features wires parallel to its axis that impress the paper during manufacture to produce a permanent watermark. The wires which produce the laid effect are situated parallel on the dandy roll and are not interwoven with the traverse chain wires which encircle the dandy roll’s circumference, meaning the cross direction. CLASSIC® Laid Papers.

LaminatedPaper that is developed by fusing one or more layers of paper together to the desired thickness and quality. Often other substances like thin sheets of metal, plastic, etc…are fused to paper.

LapThe slightly extended areas of printing surfaces in color plates, which make for easier registration of color.

Lap RegisterA register achieved by overlaying a narrow strip of the second color over the first color, at the points of joining.

LayoutThe drawing or sketch of a proposed printed piece. In platemaking, a sheet indicating the settings for a step-and-repeat machine.

Layout SheetThe imposition form; it indicates the sequence and positioning of negatives on the flat, which corresponds to printed pages on the press sheet. Once the sheet is folded, pages will be in consecutive order.

LeadersIn composition, rows of dashes or dots to guide the eye across the page. Used in tabular work, programs, tables of contents, etc…

LengthThe ability of an ink to flow.

Letterpress PrintingAlso known as relief typographic printing, letterpress printing employs the use of type or designs cast or engraved in relief (raised) on a variety of surfaces which can include metal, rubber, and wood. Opposite of intaglio printing, in letterpress printing the ink is applied to the raised printing surface. Non-printing areas or spaces are recessed. Impressions are made in various ways. On a platen press the impressions are made by pressure against a flat area of type or plate. Flat-bed cylinder press printing uses the pressure of a cylinder rolling across a flat area of type or plate to create the impression. A rotary web press uses a plate that has been stereotyped (molded into a curved form) which presses against another cylinder carrying the paper.

LevelnessThe evenness of a paper determined by the fiber distribution.

Library BindingA book bound in accordance with the standards of the American Library Association, having strong endpapers, muslin-reinforced end signatures, sewing with four-cord thread, cotton flannel backlining, and covers of Caxton buckram cloth, with round corners.

LiftMaximum number of sheets handled by operator of guillotine cutting machine or by paper handler loading paper for printing.

LightfastnessThe degree to which a paper or printed piece will resist a change in color when exposed to light.

LigninThe "glue" that binds the cells of the tree and creates its structure. This product is removed in the kraft process. Approximately one third of the tree is lignin.

LikesidednessNoticeably similar side-to-side color and finish of a sheet of paper.

Line CopyAny copy suitable for reproduction without using a halftone screen.

Line DrawingA drawing containing no grays or middle tones. In general, any drawing that can be reproduced without the use of halftone techniques.

Line NegativeA negative made from line copy.

Linear PaperA watermarked sheet with lines to guide the user.

Linen Finish PaperA paper embossed to have a surface resembling linen cloth. CLASSIC® Linen Papers.

LiningThe material which is pasted down on the backbone (spine) of a book to be casebound, after it has been sewn, glued off, and then rounded. It reinforces the glue and helps hold signatures together.

LipThe allowance for overlap of one-half of the open side edge of a folded section, needed for sewn and saddlestitch binding, for feeding the sections; also called lap.

Lithographic ImageAn ink-receptive image on the lithographic press plate; the design or drawing on stone or a metal plate.

Lithographic PapersSee offset papers

LithographyA generic term for any printing process in which the image area and the nonimage area exist on the same plane (plate) and are separated by chemical repulsion.

Localized WatermarkAchieved by arranging the design on the dandy roll to leave a watermark at a predetermined place on the sheet.

Long GrainPaper made with the machine direction in the longest sheet dimension.

LongfoldTo fold a sheet lengthwise in the direction of the grain.

Loose BackA popular style of binding, in which the spine binding material is not glued to the binding edge of the sheets.

Low BulkRefers to papers somewhat thinner than the usual papers of the same weight, having a smooth surface, and which is a "thin" sheet.


MSymbol in the paper industry designating 1,000. Usually used to designate 1,000 sheets or two reams of fine paper.

Machine DirectionEstablishes the grain direction, which is always parallel with the travel of the paper over the wire.

Machine DriedProcess of drying paper on the paper machine as opposed to air drying the paper after removal from the machine.

Machine FinishFinish that is obtained while the paper is on the paper machine. Expressed as M.F. Different finishes are obtained by the number of times paper is passed through the rollers, either dry or wet.

MakereadyIn printing presses, all work done prior to running; adjusting the feeder, grippers, side guide, putting ink in the fountain, etc. Also, in letterpress, the building up of the press form, so that the heavy and light areas print with the correct impression.

Making OrderA paper that is not available off the supplier’s shelf, but they will produce it when ordered. Making orders for special sizes, colors and weights of paper are subject to small minimums.

Mechanical (paste-up)Camera-ready assembly of all type and design elements together with instructions and ready for the plate-maker.

Mechanical PulpIn papermaking, groundwood pulp produced by mechanically grinding logs or wood chips. It is used mainly for newsprint and as an ingredient of base stock for lower grade publication papers.

Metallic InksInk containing metal substances, used to produce special printed output.

Mill BrandPaper which is brand-named by the manufacturer as opposed to the merchant house, which is known as a "private brand".

Moisture ContentRefers to the amount of moisture found in a sheet of paper. Average amount ranges from 5 to 8%. This figure varies from sheet to sheet since paper will emit or absorb moisture according to the condition of the surrounding atmosphere. Moisture loss is realized in the form of shrinkage, which begins at the edges of the paper and moves across the grain causing the sheet to tighten and curl.

Mottled FinishFinish, which exhibits high and low spots, or glossy and dull areas on the printed sheet.

Mullen TesterDevice that measures the bursting strength of paper. Sometimes referred to as the pop test or pop tester.


Neutral pHOffset papers manufactured with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0 on a scale of .0 to 14.0. Neutral pH factors are built into paper as a minimum value, to increase stability and improve permanence for use in printing of archival records.

Nominal WeightRefers to the basis weight of the paper. Unless otherwise stipulated by the mill and customer, a tolerance of plus or minus 5% is allowed when calculating the nominal weight.


OblongIn binding, a booklet bound on the short dimension.

Off-Press ProofsProofs made by photomechanical or digital means in less time and at lower cost than press proofs.

OffsetSee set-off. In printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate. Short for offset lithography.

Offset Lithography (photolithography, offset)The most common form of lithographic printing in which the image area and the nonimage area exist on the same plane (plate), separated by chemical repulsion. To print, the ink is "offset" (transferred) from the plate onto a rubber blanket and then to the paper.

Offset PaperCoated or uncoated paper specifically for offset printing.

Offset Press (sheet fed)Indirect rotary press with plate cylinder, blanket cylinder and an impression cylinder.

Offset PrintingProcess of printing utilizing a lithographic plate on which the images or designs are ink receptive while the remainder of the plate is water receptive. Ink is transferred from the plate to a rubber blanket on the printing press and this rubber blanket transfers the image to paper. It is sometimes referred to as offset lithography or photo-offset.

One-Up, Two-Up, etcPrinting one (two, three, etc.) impressions of a job at a time.

Opaque InkAn ink that conceals all color beneath it.

Open End EnvelopeAn envelope that opens on the short dimension.

Optical BrightnessOptical brighteners or fluorescent dyes are extensively used to make high, bright blue-white papers. They absorb invisible ultraviolet light and convert to visible light, falling into the blue to violet portion of the spectrum, which is then reflected back to our eyes.

Optical WhitenerA dye that is added to the fiber stock or applied to the paper surface at the size press to enhance its brightness.

Orange PeelA granular surface on coated or printed paper that looks like orange peel.

Out-of-SquareRefers to paper that has been trimmed improperly thus causing the corners to be less or more than 90 degrees. This leads to difficulty during the printing process and often results in misregister of the printed piece. Also called off-square.

Outline Halftone (silhouette halftone)A halftone image which is outlined by removing the dots that surround it.

Overhang CoverA cover larger in size than the pages it encloses.

OverlayIn artwork, a transparent covering over the copy where color break, instructions or corrections are marked. Also, instead of dots coexisting on the same sheet of acetate, each color—magenta (red), cyan (blue), yellow and black—is represented on a different acetate overlay. Since this acetate is virtually transparent, the combination of four overlays will make a full-color image.

OverpackingPacking the plate or blanket to a level that is excessively above the level of the cylinder bearer.

OverrunQuantity of paper that is manufactured beyond the quantity specified. In printing, copies printed in excess of the specified quantity.


PackingIn printing presses, the paper or other material used to underlay a press blanket or plate, to bring the surface to the desired height; the method of adjusting squeeze pressure.

Packing Gaugea device for determining the relationship between the height of the plate or blanket, and the cylinder bearers.

Padding GlueA flexible glue used in padding loose sheets.

Page FlexThe number of flexes a book page can withstand before loosening from the binding.

Page MakeupIn stripping, assembly of all elements to make up a page. In digital imaging, the electronic assembly of page elements to compose a complete page with all elements in place on a video display terminal and on film or plate.

Page ProofsInitial impression of a page pulled for checking purposes before the entire job is run.

Pages-Per-Inch (ppi)In book production, the number of pages contained in a one-inch stack of paper.

PalletA wooden platform with stringers wide enough to allow a fork lift to drive into it and lift; used to pack cartons for shipment, if specified by the customer. Pallets are usually not reusable.

PanchromaticA type of film equally sensitive to light in all colors.

Paper MachineMachine on which paper is manufactured, dried, wound on rolls and slit to appropriate lengths.

Paper MasterA paper printing plate used on an offset-duplicator. The image is made by hand drawing, typewriter or electrophotography.

Paper Surface EfficiencyMeasure of the printability of a sheet of paper which is dependent upon the amount of ink the paper absorbs, the smoothness of its surface, and the evenness of its caliper.

PaperboundA paper-covered book; also called paperback or soft cover.

PapeterieA paper used for greeting cards, stationery, etc…which is distinctive from regular stock in that special watermarks and embossing may be used.

Paraded Watermark(See watermark).

Parallel FoldAny series of folds in sequence, made in parallel fashion.

Paste DrierIn inkmaking, a type of dryer, usually a combination of drying compounds.

PastedPasted grades are those grades of paper or paperboard made up of layers pasted together. The process is machine operation used to combine sheets of the same or different papers into a single thickness.

PCF - Process Chlorine FreeThis is generally a recycling decolorizing and bleaching done with out the use of chlorine or chlorine compounds. The usual chemicals are peroxide, ozone and oxygen.


Quick-Set InksThose inks that set-up faster and dry faster, usually from top to bottom. These inks are used when sheets have to be sent back through the press faster than normal drying time will allow.

QuadratonePrinting with four half-tone images at different screen angles using four different colors. Usually the four colors would have a color slant or cast towards a selected tone or color; for example a sepia-tone or overall brown slant or cast.

Quarter ToneIn printing, a printing dot that has a percentage that is close to the 25% printing dot size.


Rag PaperToday it is usually referred to as cotton fiber paper. It is made from cotton cuttings and linters.

Rag PulpPulp made by disintegrating new or old cotton or linen rags and cleaning and bleaching fibers.

ReamFive hundred sheets of printing paper.

Ream MarkedPile of paper is ream marked by the insertion of small slips of paper or "ream markers" at intervals of every

500 sheets.

Ream MarkerPiece of rectangular shaped paper used to mark off the reams in a stack of paper.

Ream WeightWeight of a given ream of paper.

Ream WrappedPaper which has been separated into reams and individually packaged or wrapped.

ReducersIn printing inks, varnishes, solvents, oily or greasy compounds used to reduce the consistency for printing. In photography, chemicals used to reduce the density of negative or positive images or the size of halftone dots (dot etching).

RefiningThe mechanical treatment of pulp fibers to develop their papermaking properties.

Relative Humidity (RH)The amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere expressed as a percentage of the maximum that could be present at the same temperature.

RepeatabilityThe ability to keep photo film and the images thereon in proper register. Repeatability is usually measured in micrometers.

RerunA term referring to printing again from standing negatives.

RetardersChemicals that slow setting time of printing inks.

RewinderEquipment which slits and rewinds paper webs into smaller rolls.

Right-Angle FoldTerm used for two or more folds that are at 90 degree angles to each other.

RigidityStiffness, resistance to bending.

RollWeb of paper. Paper wound around a core or shaft to form a continuous roll or web of paper.

Roller StrippingIn lithography, a term denoting that the ink does not adhere to the metal ink rollers on a press.

Rosin SizeA size added to paper to make it water resistant.

Rotary PressPrinting press in which the plate is wrapped around a cylinder. There are two types, direct and indirect. Direct presses print with a plate cylinder and an impression cylinder. Indirect rotary presses (sheet-fed offset presses) combine a plate cylinder, a blanket cylinder and an impression cylinder.

RotogravureIntaglio process. The image is below the surface of the plate. (Letterhead image is raised the offset image is flat)

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

RubylithA separable two-layer acetate film of red or amber emulsion on a clear base. It has dozens of uses in graphics, most often for color separations by hand in the composition or stripping departments.

Rule WeightThickness of lines; hairline rule; medium rule (1/2 point); heavy rule (1 point).

RunnabilityPaper’s performance on a press and its ability to withstand the stresses of a running press unaltered. Not the same as printability.


Saddle StitchBinding process for pamphlets or booklets, which works by stapling through the middle fold of the sheets (saddle wire).

Saddle Wire BindingTo fasten a booklet by wiring the middle fold of the printed sheets of paper.

Schopper's TesterAn instrument for testing the folding endurance of paper.

Score/ScoringThe process and the resulting line or crease mechanically impressed in the paper to facilitate folding while guarding against cracking of paper and board. Scoring is essential when heavyweight papers are to be folded across the grain.

Screen The ruling used to determine the dots per unit area in developing tonal values in the printed piece. Screens from which letterpress halftones of photographs are made range from 60 lines-per-inch for printing on newsprint to 150 lines for printing on coated paper. Offset halftones for printing on most surfaces range from 133 lines to 200 lines.

Screen AnglesIn color reproduction, angles at which the halftone screens are placed with relation to one another, to avoid undesirable moire patterns. A set of angles often used is: black 45º, magenta 75º, yellow 90º, cyan 105º.

Screen Process PrintingThis printing process uses a screen of fine-mesh silk (thus the common name silk screen printing) taughtly stretched across a frame. A squeegee drawn across the screen forces ink through the open image areas which are cut-out by hand using lacquered tissue prior to its adherence to the silk. Special photographic negatives are adhered to the screen when faithful reproduction of intricate designs are sought.

Screen RangeThe density difference between the highlight and shadow areas of copy that a halftone screen can reproduce without a flash exposure.

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

ScummingA term referring to the press plate picking up ink in the nonprinting areas for a variety of reasons, basically due to spots or areas not remaining desensitized.

Sealed Term often applied to cut size sheets which are packaged "ream sealed", 500 sheets to the package.

Seasoning Process of allowing paper to adjust to atmospheric conditions of the plant in which it will be used.

Secondary Fiber A term used for wastepaper, also referred to as paper stock.

Semi-Chemical PulpingPulp made using a combination of chemical and mechanical methods and usually used for corrugated mediums.

Semi-Concealed CoverA cover for mechanical binding that is a single piece scored and slotted or punched for combining with the mechanical binding device, formatting a closed backbone on bound units.

SetbackIn platemaking, the distance from the front edge of the press plate to the image area, to allow for clamping to the cylinder and also for the gripper margin.

Set-Off The undesirable transfer of ink from freshly printed sheets of paper to another. (Also called off-set).

Set-Up SheetA sheet drawn in Plate Prep on the Craftsman table from computer specifications; used as a master for the layout and positioning of pages on the job for which it was drawn.

Sewn BookA popular style of bookbinding; in which the signatures are gathered in sequence and then sewn individually in 8s, 16s, or 32s. The sewing threads are visible at the center of each signature.

Sewn-On TapesStrips of reinforcing cloth sewn to the spine of the book sections and extending slightly past the edge of the spine; used to strengthen the binding of a casebound book.

ShaveTo cut a slight trim from bound books or paper, printed or blank.

Sheet Term which may be applied to a single sheet, a grade of paper, or a description of paper, i.e. coated, uncoated, offset, letterpress, etc.

Sheet DelaminationDirectly related to poor surface strength in that if the sheet has poor surface strength, delamination will occur in the printing process. Sheet delamination could also create a problem of a blanket smash. If the delamination is large enough and thick enough, as the press continues to run, it will create a depression in the blanket, so that when the delamination buildup is removed from the blanket the depression will remain, rendering the blanket unusable. These defects pertain to both sheet-fed and web-fed equipment.

Sheeter In paper manufacture, rotary unit over which the web of paper passes to be cut into sheets. In printing, rotary knife at the delivery end of web press that slices press lengths.

Sheet-Fed Any printing press requiring paper in a sheet form as opposed to printing in rolls.

SheetingThe process of cutting a roll or web of paper into sheets.

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

ShivesUndercooked wood particles that are removed from the pulp before manufacture of paper begins. Sometimes shives will appear as imperfections in the finished sheets.

Short-Grained PaperPaper in which the predominant fiber orientation is parallel to the shortest sheet dimension.

Shrinkage Decrease in the dimensions of a sheet of paper or loss incurred in weight between the amount of pulp used and paper produced.

Side Guide On sheet-fed presses, a guide on the feed board to position the sheet sideways as it feeds into the front guides before entering the impression cylinder.

Size or Sizing Additive substances applied to the paper either internally through the beater or as a coating that improves printing qualities and resistance to liquids. Commonly used sizes are starch and latex.

Size Press Part of the paper machine, near the end, where sizing agents are added.

Size Tub Container holding sizing material during the tub sizing process.

Skid(1)A reusable platform support, made of wood, on which sheets of paper are delivered, and on which printed sheets or folded sections are stacked. Also used to ship materials, usually in cartons which have been strapped (banded) to the skid. (2)A quantity of paper, usually about 3000 lbs., skid-packed.

Slack SizeA paper that is slightly sized and therefore will be somewhat water resistant.

Slip-SheetingPlacing pieces of paper between folded sections prior to trimming four sides, to separate completed books.

Slitter A sharp disk which cuts a paper into pre-determined widths.

SlittingCutting printed sheets into two or more sections by means of cutting wheels on a folder.

Slur-Gauge (The GATF Slur Gauge) A combination dot gain and slur indicator supplied in positive or negative form. It is a quality control device that shows at a glance dot gain or dot loss. It also demonstrates whether the gain or the loss occurs in contacting, platemaking, proofing or on the press.

SlurringThe smearing or elongation of halftone dots or type and line images at their trailing edges.

Slurry Watery suspension of pigments, etc…which is used in coating or papermaking.

Smashed or Weak BlanketAn area of a blanket that is no longer firm and resilient, and that gives a light impression in the center of a well printed area. Usually caused by physical damage of the blanket at impression.

Smashing (nipping, compressing)The binding operation following sewing in which the folded and sewn sheets are compressed to tighten the fold free of air to make the front and back of the sheets the same thickness.

SmearingA press condition in which the impression is slurred and unclear, because too much ink was used or sheets were handled or rubbed before the ink was dry.

Smooth Finish A finish on paper that has been made smooth by passing through various rollers. CLASSIC CREST® Papers.

Smoothing Press Prior to reaching the driers, the paper web is smoothed, if necessary, by two rolls working together.

SmoothnessThe flatness of a sheet of paper, which generally determines the crispness of the image printed upon it.

Smyth SewingA method of fastening side-by-side signatures so that each is linked with thread to its neighbor, as well as saddlesewn through its own centerfold. Smyth-sewn books open flat. The stitching is on the back of the fold.

Soda PulpA chemical pulp that has been derived from wood chips digested in a solution of caustic soda. Both hardwoods and softwoods can be used in this process.

Soft DotA camera term describing halation or fringe around the edge of a dot which is excessive and almost equals the area of the dot itself.

Soft InkA term that describes the consistency of lithographic inks.

SoftcoverAnother term for paperback or paperbound books.

Softwood Wood from coniferous trees having long fibers.

Specialty Papers or Boards Paper or board that is manufactured, or subsequently converted, for a specific use. These grades usually cannot be used for anything other than their intended special purpose.

Spectrophotometer Sophisticated instrument that measures color across a visible spectrum and produces data describing the color of a given sample in terms of the three parameters in color space.

Splice An overlapping joint used to join the ends of webs together.

Splice Tag Tab or marker giving the location of a splice.

Split FountainA technique for simultaneously printing two colors from the same ink fountain.

Spot Smallest visible point that can be displayed or printed. The smallest diameter of light that a scanner can detect, or an image-setter or printer can image. Dot should not be confused with spot.

Spot VarnishPress varnish applied to a portion of the sheet, as opposed to an overall application of the varnish.

Spotting OutFine opaquing such as in removing pinholes or other small transparent defects in a negative; also called Opaquing.

Spray PowderA powder used at press to prevent setoff (offset) of wet ink; also called anti-offset spray.

Square Halftone (square-finish halftone) A halftone whose four sides are straight and perpendicular to one another.

Square SheetA sheet which is equally strong and tear resistant with and against the grain.

Stabilize A term used to describe paper that has been seasoned so that the moisture content is the same as the air surrounding it.

Stacker Device attached to delivery conveyor to collate, compress and bundle signatures.

StampingPressing a design onto a book cover using metal foil, colored foil, or ink, applied with metal dies.

Steel Engraving An engraved plate used in relief printing.

StepoverIn multiple imposition on a lithographic press plate, the procedure of repeating the exposure of a flat by stepping it along the gripper edge; side-by-side exposure.

Stock Sizes Standard sizes of paper or board.

Stock Weights Weights of papers stocked by mills and merchants.

Stocking ItemsPapers manufactured in popular sizes, weights, colors, etc. on a regular basis to maintain adequately stocked inventories in mill warehouses.

Stocking Merchant Paper distributor that stocks in his own warehouse facilities enough paper to immediately fill anticipated orders in the market. This eliminates the delay of ordering from the paper manufacturer, taking delivery, and delivering to the customer.

Stopping OutAn application of opaque to photographic negatives; also the application of special lacquer to protect areas in positives in dot etching; staging of halftone plates during relief etching; protecting certain areas of deep-etched plates so that no ink will be deposited on the protected areas.

Stream FeederA type of press feeder that keeps several sheets of paper, overlapping each other, moving toward the grippers.

Stretch Describes the "give" of a sheet of paper when it is subjected to tensile pressure.

Stretch Resistance Stretch properties are essential for paper to fold well and to resist stress in use. Stretch resistance is measured on tensile testing instruments.

Strike-In Penetration of printing ink into a sheet of paper.

Strike-Through Penetration of printing ink through a sheet of paper.

String and Button EnvelopeAn envelope made with two reinforced paper buttons, one on the flap and the other on the back of the envelope. To close, a string which is locked under the flap button is wound alternately around the two buttons.

Strip-InA negative which must be combined with another, to give a single page negative which contains all components; also called set-in.

Stripping In offset: negatives are properly positioned on a masking sheet (goldenrod masking paper). In photoengraving: film containing the photographic image from the wet-plate is moved and turned.

Substance WeightSame as basis weight.

SuckerA rubber suction cup on machine feeding devices.

Suction Box Device that removes water from the paper machine by a suction action located beneath the wire at the wet end.

Suction FeedA term applied to suction grippers which feed paper.

Sulphate Alkaline process of cooking pulp also known as the kraft process. Wood chips are cooked to a high brightness without fiber degradation in a substance of sodium sulfate and sodium sulfide.

Sulphite Acid process of cooking pulp. Wood chips are cooked in a solution of bisulphite.

Supercalender Off machine calender rolls that heat and iron paper to provide a high gloss finish.

SupercalenderingAlternating rolls of highly polished steel and compressed cotton in a stack. During the process the paper is subjected to the heated steel rolls and "ironed" by the compressed cotton rolls. It imparts a high, gloss finish to the paper. Supercalender stacks are not an inherent part of the paper machine whereas the calender rolls are.

Surface PlateOne of the two basic types of lithographic press plates; a colloid image is formed on the light-sensitized metal plate by the action of actinic light passing through photographic negatives.

Surface Sized Term applied to paper that has been sized by applying a sizing agent when the web of paper is partially dry. Purpose is to increase resistance to ink penetration.

Surface TextureThe relative roughness, smoothness or unevenness of the paper surface.

SurprintAn additional printing over the design areas of previously printed matter. Its equivalent in stripping uses overlay positive films on negatives, or photographic contact procedures to produce such overprints as "Sale," "$1.98" "Sample," etc. Also called overprint.


T4SAbbreviation indicating that the paper has been guillotine trimmed on all four sides. Literal translation: trimmed four sides.

TabbingDuring binding, the cutting or adhering of tabs on the edges of pages.

Tack The pulling power or separation force of ink causing picking or splitting of weak papers.

TCF - Tottaly Chlorine Free Includes both virgin and post-consumer fibers that are bleached without any chlorine containing compounds.

Tearing StrengthThe ability of a paper to resist tearing when subjected to rigorous production demands of manufacturing, printing, binding and its conversion from flat sheets into envelopes, packaging materials, etc.

Tensile Strength Tensile strength relates to the stress and strain to which paper is subjected in its many end use applications. It is defined as the maximum force required to break a paper strip of a given width under prescribed laboratory conditions. Tensile strength is usually defined as pounds-per-inch width of the testing strip, or as kilograms per 15-millimeter width. Tensile strength is measured in both the grain and cross-grain directions, however, it is always greater in the grain direction.

Text Paper A general term applied to various grades of printing paper designed for deluxe printed booklets, programs, announcements and advertising. May be watermarked.

Thermography Letterpress printing in which a special ink, while still wet, is dusted with a retinous powder. Then the sheets are baked fusing the powder with the ink, giving it a raised effect.

Thermomechanical PulpMade by steaming wood chips prior to and during refining, producing a higher yield and stronger pulp than regular groundwood.

ThicknessMeasurement in thousandths of an inch.

TintShading of an area in a form.

Tint PlatePrinting plate with customized surfaces to print solid colors or patterns, stipple line or dot arrangements in tints of inks. Tint blocks are also used to deepen colors in an illustration.

TintingAn all-over color tint on the press sheet in the nonimage area of the sheet, caused by ink pigment dissolving in the dampening solution.

Titanium Dioxide Chemical substance used as loading or coating material to increase the whiteness and brightness of a sheet and contribute to its opacity.

TolerancePermissible degree of variation from a pre-set standard.

ToothCharacteristic of paper. A slightly rough paper which permits acceptance of ink readily.

Top Designates the felt side of a sheet of paper. The top side of a sheet is the side not against the wire during manufacture. (2) In paperboard, the top is the side that exhibits the best quality.

Top-Sizing Tub sizing of paper which has previously been beater sized.

TrappingThe ability to print a wet ink film over previously printed ink. Dry trapping is printing wet ink on dry paper or over dry ink. Wet trapping is printing wet ink over previously printed wet ink.

TrimExcess of the paper allowed a printed sheet for gripper and bleed.

Trim MarginThe margin of the open side, away from the bind; also called thumb, face or outside margin.

Trim Marks In printing, marks placed on the copy to indicate the edge of the page where to cut or trim.

Trim SizeThe final size of a printed piece after trimming.

TrimmerMachine equipped with a guillotine blade that can cut paper to the desired size.

TumbleHead to foot printing.

Twin-Wire Machine A paper machine with two wires instead of one producing paper with less two-sidedness.

Two-Sheet Detector In printing presses, a device for stopping or tripping the press when more than one sheet attempts to feed into the grippers.

Two-Up Printing the same page or group of pages from two sets of plates, thereby producing two impressions of the same matter at one time.

Two-Up BindingPrinting and binding in such a way that two books are bound as one, then cut apart into separate books.


UnbleachedPaper not treated to bleaching; it has a light brown hue.

Uncoated Paper that has not been coated. Nevertheless a given coated sheet can be made in a variety of finishes.

Undercolor RemovalTo improve trapping and reduce ink costs in the process color web printing, color separation films are reduced in color in areas where all three colors overprint and the black film is increased an equivalent amount in these areas.

Underrun Term refers to an order produced or delivered that is less than the quantity specified by the customer. Allowances are permitted in trade practices for under-runs.

UndertrimmedTrimmed to a size smaller than the specified trim size.

Uniformity Being uniform in the structure of the paper, the color and finish.

UnitRefers to the combination of inking, plate and impression operations to print each color. A 4-color press has 4 printing units each with its own inking, plate and impression functions.

UV Ultra Violet radiation method of drying process color inks on high-speed multicolor offset presses.

UV CuringThe drying of UV inks by a light reaction, rather than by heat and/or oxidation.

UV Inks In printing, solventless inks that are cured by UV radiation. They are used extensively in screen printing, narrow web letterpress and flexographic printing.


Varnish Thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet of paper for protection or improved appearance.

Vellum Term usually applied to a paper finish that exhibits a toothy surface which is very similar to eggshell or antique finishes. A vellum finish is relatively absorbent to provide good ink penetration.

Vellum Paper Very strong, good quality cream colored or natural paper made to impersonate calfskin parchment. Also, the term is often applied to the finish of paper rather than a grade of paper. Stationery is often referred to as vellum. Also, tracing paper used by architects and artists.

Velox A black and white print for proofing or for display.

Vignette Halftone whose background gradually fades away to blend with the surface of the paper.

Virkotyping Another name for thermography or raised printing.

Viscosity Broad term that encompasses the properties of tack and flow as applied to inks.


Walk-Off Deterioration of part of image area on plate during printing.

Water Ball Roller A roller which runs in the fountain solution pan.

Water Fountain The metal trough on a lithographic press which holds the dampening solution.

Waterless Plate In platemaking, printing on a press using special waterless plates and no dampening system.

Web Roll of paper used in web or rotary presses and most often folded, pasted and converted in one continuous form. Also a ribbon of paper as it unwinds from a roll and threads through the press.

Web Break break in a roll of paper while it is on the machine during manufacturing or while on the printing press during production.

Web Offset Paper Paper that is made to be printed in a continuous manner from a roll. It can be coated or uncoated and must be strong enough to withstand the rigors of web offset printing at high speeds.

Web Press An offset press that uses web paper as opposed to sheet fed paper.

Web Tension Amount of pull applied in direction of the travel of a web of paper by the action of a web-fed press.

Weight Tolerance Acceptable degree of variation in a paper's shipped weight, usually within 5 percent of the paper's nominal weight.

Well-Closed Formation Bonding of fibers in a sheet that provides an overall uniformity. Opposite of wild.

Wet Rolls Water or dampness on the edge of the roll can weld or bond the paper together, which will then break on the infeed, a problem easily determined by the press crew.

Wet Rub Test A test of the moisture resistance of paper.

Wet Strength The strength retained by a sheet when completely wetted with water; generally, tensile strength.

Wet-End Finish Category of finishes such as antique, eggshell, vellum applied to the wet paper web by machine rolls and the presses at the wet end of the papermaking machine.

White Paper A term often applied to printing and writing grade papers and envelopes.

Whiteness Whiteness of pulp and paper is generally indicated by its brightness.

Whitewater Water that has been used in the papermaking process that is milky in color.

Winder Unit at the end of the paper machine that takes the paper web from the reel, trims it, winds it into rolls and slits it to make smaller rolls if desired.

Wire Mark On the bottom or wire side of the paper, these are impressed traces of the machine wire.

Wire Side Opposite of felt side, this is the side of the paper that was against the wire during manufacture. A watermark will read backward from this side of the sheet.

With the Grain Parallel to the direction in which the paper fibers lie.

Wove Finish characterized by the impressions of a felt dandy roll covered in woven wire and without laid lines. ENVIRONMENT® Papers.

Wove Dandy A dandy roll without a watermarked design.


Xerography Copying process that uses a selenium surface and electrostatic forces to form an image.


Yankee DryerA device that dries paper as it comes off the wet end of the papermaking machine by pressing one side against a cylinder that steam-heats it and imparts a glazed finish at the same time.

Yellowing Describes a transformation inherent to all vegetable fibers which is caused by aging. Paper made of vegetable fibers will turn various degrees of yellow as its environment couples with aging to produce this phenomenon. Yellowing is very evident in groundwood papers and only a few hours in direct sunlight is enough to yellow newspaper.


Zig-Zag Folding Folding used with continuous forms with alternating position (head and foot). Commonly used to convert roll paper to easily managed flat-back.