Software developed by Adobe System. There are two common applications:
1- Acrobat Reader ---> free version to open PDF files.
2- Acrobat Professional ---> paid version to verify and/or edit files for cross media use.
Alignment (text)
Position of the text from the page edges. Alignment can be left, right, justified or centered.
Engraved roller of metal or ceramic, which transfers the color to the printing plate.
Aqueous coating
Applied on the paper during the printing process, this is a fast drying and protective coating. It's water based, resistant and does not crack easily.
An option which allows you to easily adjust the spacing between characters in a proportional font. To adjust the spacing in InDesign simply select the required text + ALT + right or left arrow.
Average downsampling
An option which allows you to compress your files and reduce the file-size without a loss of quality (resolution).


Basis weight
Value representing the mass of paper in pounds of a ream (500 sheets of paper of a given size, usually 24" x 36"). Also referred to as "Paper weight".
To note: for an equal weight, the thickness of the paper can vary according to the nature and volume of the paper.
Benday dots
Frames color superposition of a primary color to create another color.
Method of assembling the elements of a document. There are different types of binding: glued, stapled, spiral ...
Bitmap (BMP)
Open format for digital images described by points. It is one of the most simple formats to develop / program. It is readable by nearly all viewers and image editors.
Bitmap images
Digital image stored in a data format which is composed of an array of pixels or color spots.
These images differ from vector images, which are defined with the lines.
Rubber cylinder which forms, together with the metal cylinder and the impression cylinder, the basis of an offset press.
Extended area of an image / a layout outside the final printing format, which will then be cut off (trimmed) during the finishing of the product. The size of this area varies from one printer to another (usually 0.1" or 1/8"). Also commonly called trap.


Computer Aided Design.
Mechanical process to smoothen paper by passing it under rollers at high temperatures and pressures. The paper will be more or less smooth and shiny, thus depending on the degree of calendering (pressure, temperature, heating).
Action of counting the number of characters in a file in order to measure its volume.
Substance used to create or work with paper.
Fibrous substance drifted from wood (wood pulp), cotton (cotton pulp), flax, or other plants. This solid element from plants is often used for the manufacture of paper pulp.
Quality brand and a high gloss coated paper used to give a high-quality finish to the products.
Computer protocols of exchange and registration for print settings.

Setting process for all units of the printing machine (fixation of the plate, filling ink pots, paper supply, ...). This process is designed to obtain a reference sheet for the rest of the printing.
Color Management Module.
Group of primary colors, used as basis for offset printing. (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key=black).
Coated (paper)
Adjective used to qualify a paper with a treated surface (vs. uncoated paper).
Collecting, inserting
Action of gathering the sheets of a document. The sheets can be bound to each others (collecting) or dragged into each others (inserting).
Color bar
Also called color control strip, print control bar, or even a quality control strip
Set of colored 'squares', printed in the edges of a document, to monitor and measure color result during printing (density measurement, fattening, etc.)..

Color calibration
Action aiming matching the colors of a document on a display device (ie. computer screen) with those of a printing device (ie offset press). Both types of devices do not cover the same color space and reproduce colors under different modes (RGB / CMYK). This action allows you to preview the colors in a really accurate way before starting printing.
Color intensity
Power / intensity of the ink (color). Amount of light stored in the material (photocopy, digital and offset printing).
Color mode
Color system used image display or print. It is the basis used to define a picture.
Color profile
File describing the color characteristics of a specific device. Essential element for color management.
Color specimen / book
Working tool showing the different shades of colors.

Showing the different shades of colors, or a set of spot color (ie. Pantone, HKS).
Color measurement system.
Combined forme
Gathering orders for one sheet (same weight, same finishing, same color range) in order to achieve economies of scale.
Continuous tone
Term refering to an non-raster image with grey scale or color shades.
Rapid test to get a high resolution and matching color result. There are the analogical cromalin obtained from films and digital cromalin obtained from files.
Crop mark
Small crosses in each corner of a document which help to trim the paper to the final size.
Cross fold
Type of fold obtained by folding the sides of a sheet perpendicularly to each other.
Cross media
Term used to describe documents for multiple uses (paper and web version for example).
Computer To Film. A method to create printing film directly from computer files.
Computer To Plate. Process allowing the creation of printing plates directly from computer files.
Cut out / clipping
Suppression of the background of an image according to the outline of an element of the picture.
Cutting die
Cutting structure tailor made to obtain a particular form for a specific product (ie a round flyer). This tool is mainly used when guillotine cannot work.
Light / Neon blue, used as primary color in the CMYK color mode.


Twist in shape of a text or an image when changing its hight or width.
Tool used for measuring the density of color.
Degree of color of a picture.
Die cut
Cutting mold used to cut the documents in a shape that cannot be obtained with a guillotine.
Printing method directly controlled over a computer. Generally used for small print runs.
Dot gain
Term describing dots which widen on the surface during printing.
Changing the number of pixels from an image by resizing it. The resampling of an image necessarily alters its sharpness.
Dots Per Inch. Value defining the resolution of a digital file. The point by inch is a unity of precision. The higher the value, the better the quality of the file. The average value generally asked for a good resolution for printing is 300 DPI.
Action designed to balance the volume ink / water modified during the printing process.
Desktop Publishing. Process based on the use of a computer and/or of specific software to combine text and graphics to produce documents and printing templates.
Dull finish
A dull finish paper is a smooth paper with a low gloss finish. It is between gloss and matte: it is more shiny than matte paper but not more shiny than glossy paper.
Printing technique / result based on two colors. Term also used to refer to images made out of two colors (primary or not).


European Color Initiative.
Groupe of European experts, which work on color management within digital publishing systems.
Printing method which creates relief patterns.
Embossing tool
Mold, stamping tool creating a relief on a sheet of paper.
Encapsuled Post Script. File format describing the content of an image or of a full page. EPS files can be viewed and imported into many illustration, layout or DTP programmes.
Last step before printing. To flash is to create different films by color that will later be delivered to the printer. The term photo-engraving is also often used, corresponding to the same method, except that in this case plates are used instead of films.


Final proof (digital proof)
Last control before printing. The agreement commits both the printer and the customer's liability. This test represents the reference point for the rest of the order.
Last steps of the overall printing process which gives to the prints their final form (folding, cutting, inserting, stitching, sewing, binding, ...).
Term used for leaflets, refering to one side of the document (ie a trifold leaflet has three flaps).
Flexographic print
Printing method made with a relief printing cylinder and especially used for large runs. This process is known for the longevity of its printing plates and is therefore used for printing in large quantities.
Foil lamination
Action of applying a fine layer of cellulose on a paper to protect it and give it a shiny or matte appearence.
Foil stamping
Hot and relief-based printing method using golden leaves to emphasize some area of a document.
Complete set of characters, with a similar style, completed by different typestyles. Fonts are used by graphic programs and are gathered in different groups (True Type, Open Type, Post Script).
Printing files are generally categorized in standard formats which define measurement in hight and lenght, for example 8.5" x 11" for a regular letter size.
Forest Stewardship Council. Eco-label provided by an independent organization which certifies the manufacture of products containing wood and ensuring the sustainable management of forests.
See also PEFC.
File Transfer Protocol. Software solution enabling secure file transfer between two devices. It is commonly used to transfer large files.
Full color
Four-color-printing. Printing process which reproduces a wide color spectrum from the 4 primary colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are working on a substractive basis whereas the red, green and blue (RGB) are based on a additive system.


Gate fold
Fold type with three parallel folds. The two outsides parts are put together towards the middle fold.
Processing software for Postscript and PDF files.
Paper treatment giving a shiner touch.
Gravure printing
Printing method used for large runs which uses an engraved copper cylinder. This process is known for the longevity of its printing plates and is therefore used for printing in large quantities. Also called Flexographic printing.
Green Printing
Label guaranteeing the will or commitment of a company to reduce the environmental impacts associated with printing activities.
Finishing method which mark the paper where it is going to be folded afterwards, in order to avoid cracks and cracking ink during folding afterwards. It is mainly used for heavy papers.
Paper cuting tool.


Special color system containing 120 spot colors and 3250 color tones for coated and uncoated paper.
HKS is an acronym of three German color manufacturers: Duckfarben Hostmann-Steinberg, Kast + Ehinger Druckfarben, and H. Schmincke & Co.


ICC profile
Type of color profile which enables print professionals to control the colors throughout the graphic chain. In the United States the SWOP profile is applied. Some other color profiles are famous such as Euroscale profile in Europe or TOYO in Japan.
Professional software developed by Adobe to create vector graphics.
Professional software developed by Adobe used to create complex and creative layouts.
Ink application
Rate which ensures a correct color printing. The offset printing technique uses four layers of inks Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). Each layer contains information about color zones and the amount of ink to be reproduced in value ranging from 0% to 100%. For example, for a deep black the following settings are required: 40% Cyan, 0% Magenta, 0% Yellow and 100% Black (40/0/0/100) or alternatively (30/30/30 / 100). The application rate of the ink is calculated with the sum of the percentages of each of the colors. Each printer sets a maximum ink rate that must not be exceeded.
Additional element of a booklet disposed in a specific location or simply slipped inside.


JBIG compression
Standard for lossless compression for images with only two shades of color.
Joint Photographic Experts Group. File format used to compress images.


Kaolin (China Clay)
Chemical substance used in the paper industry, particularly for the treatment of the paper.
Kraft (paper)
Very strong paper made ​​from chemical pulp sulphate or soda. Word of German origin meaning "strength."


Color representation model developed by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE).
Is a color-opponent space with dimension L for lightness, A and B for the color-opponent dimensions, based on coordinates.
Orientation of a document where the longest side is the width. (vs. Portrait).
Overall of independant elements (image or text) used to create a complete file.
Letter fold
Also called Tri-fold or roll fold. Type of fold where the flaps are always parrallel to each other and folder in the same orientation.
Litho printing is the ancestor of offset printing. This printing process was based on the reproduction of a path made with ink or limestone.


Shade of purplish red color, primary color.
Master page
Model used to draw, manage or control the profile or dimensions of given documents.
Unit of measurement to count the number of pixels on a camera sensor.
Prototype trying to give the final appearance of a document.


Printing method based on the repulsion of the ink by water and its attraction to the fat. A metal plate in aluminium, with "printable" and "non-printable" areas, is used as a substrate. Printable areas are fat-friendly whereas unprintable areas are water-friendly. Each primary printing color (CMYK) has its own printing plate which also corresponds to a block in the offset press.
Printing is performed by a machine with three cylinders and used for high volumes.
Open Type
Group of different fonts. OpenType fonts are now the new standard when it comes to create new fonts. They are mostly independent from operating systems, which means that they work with Mac, Windows or Linux.
Technical setting available in professionnal softwares which refers to the process of printing one color on top of another


International reference system for spot colors. Contrary to colors reproduced with the standard CMYK color mode, Pantone colors are ruled by international standards and are identical all over the world (as for example the Nivea blue or the Milka purple). Such colors allow an identical reproduction and are reliable, constant colors.
Portable Document Format. Computer file format created by Adobe Systems. It has the advantage of preserving fonts, images, graphics, and layout of any source of document. There are different PDF formats: PDF/X-1, PDF/X-2, PDF/X-3, PDF/X-4.
PDF format which ensures that your files are saved with CMYK and spot color settings.
PDF version which does not require embedded fonts or high resolution pictures. It allows the exchange of documents with partial elements. Therefore this version can not be used for professional printing.
PDF format which extends the known-settings from PDF/x1a to additional RGB colors and offer the possibility to apply a color profile and leave the images in RGB colors. This type of files can be used for cross-media applications.
PDF format which offers on top the possibility to embed transparencies in the PDF, for example a drop shadow. It is the most complex format and therefore not compatible with every printers.
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. Label certification of forest management to contribute to the sustainable development of forests.
Perfect bound
Sheets of paper glued one to another on the side (really often on the left side).
Perfect bound with sewing
Pages of a document sewn together on the side (often on the left side).
Photo engraving
Last step before printing. To flash is to create plates separated by color that will be delivered to the printer. Synonymous with film imaging, corresponding to the same method, except that this method uses films and not plates.
Image editing / processing software provided by Adobe.
Picture Section
Area which shows the limits of an original document and specifies the desired size or scale for enlargement / reduction.
The pixel or dot, is the basic unit of measurement of quality of a digital image.
(See also resolution).
Method which converts a vector or text into a bitmap image.
A unit of measurement of paper thickness, a point is 1/1000 inch. This measurement is generally abbreviated as pt.
Paper thickness can vary from one provider to another. The denomination can sometimes be confusing, for example 80lb card stock is thicker than 80lb text stock.
Orientation of a document where the longest side is the height. (vs. Landscape).
Programming language used for page description, developed by Adobe. It is based on vector formulations. This language provides a single file with all elements describing the page (text, images, fonts, colors, etc..) and ensures the connection between computers and output devices such as printers.
All the necessary graphic or technical operations that has to be done before printing.
Print cylinder
Cylinder used for offset printing. It is one of three cylinders of an offset press (alongside with the blanket cylinder and the metallic cylinder).
Printing block
Flexible metal plate, embossed, used for offset printing. (vs. printing plate)
Printing plate
Material used in the printing process to transfer the image on the paper.(vs. printing block)
Printout of a document for verification.
Photoshop file format which saves links, layers, overprint settings, ...
Cutting technique which allows you to create various shapes on demand thanks to the use of special tools.


Method which converts a vector or text into a bitmap image.
(See also pixelization)
Quantitive units measurement for paper. A ream consists of 500 sheets.
Recycled (paper)
Refers to a paper made from recycled materials (fibers) which also respects the environment.
Superposition of several images on each other to ensure the color alignment and guide the printer at the moment of printing.
Register cross
Printed cross mark in the margin of a document to identify the different films.
Measurement of the amount of details reproduced from an original document. The resolution is measured in dots per inch.
Each image is made of pixels / color dots juxtaposed one after another and eventually form a line of dots. The closer the points are in a given distance, the better the quality / resolution of the picture.
For images designed for printing purposes a minimum resolution of 300dpi is requested.
Red, Green, Blue. Color mode based on additive system, often used for video display / screen.
Raster Image Processor. IT tool which screens data and make them printable by making the link between digital data and suitable data for printing.
Rotary press
Printing machine working throught a rotation system.


Dot mesh which reproduces halftones. It is measured in dots per inch.
Screen angle
Angle (in degrees) applied to each of the inks used for printing. This technique help to avoid watering, printing defects or color changes.
Screen dot
Small colored dots which put all together form a picture. Basic element of modern printing technologies.
Screen magnifier
Also called a linen tester or magnifier
Strong magnifying glass to examine the detail of a picture or a print.
Screen printing
Printing technique in which ink is transfered through a screen. The ink is thus transfered on the support and reproduces the open shapes from the screen.
Semi matte
Term used to qualify a paper which is not completely matte.
Serial numbering
Action of adding text onto documents that are already printed.
Misprint happening when the ink does not dry properly creating a kind of muck on the document. This phenomenon maybe due to the quality of the support (paper too dick which does not absorbe the ink), to the quality of the ink,or to a too high inking rate (more than 300 %).
Soft binding
Finishing part of a document, action of binding the pages together with staples.
Solid tone
Surface of uniform color also called solid color (which, however, can also illustrate color shades). The solid tint defines the true value of a color and therefore the maximum ink amount to be used by the printer.
Essential component of the ink.
Spot colors
Color not derived from a mixture of primary colors. This term refers to colors like HKS or Pantone.
Standard format for digital cameras. Adobe RGB is often applied for SLR or professional cameras.
Binding operation to stick the pages of a document together with staples.
SWOP: Specifications for Web Offset Publications
Color profile from United States.


Thermographic printing
Letterpress printing process that can give relief (matt or gloss) to a document. This relief is achieved by applying a resin to the ink areas. This resin will then swell under the effect of heat.
Three-color-printing / Try-color
Result / printing method obtained with the three basic colors, usually without the dark. ie RGB.
TIF (.tif or .tiff)
Tagged image file format. Very flexible file format for digital images. The unziped TIFF is a common format, read by all processing image softwares.
Color profile from Japan.
Transparency flattening
If transparencies are applied to a layout, the flattening allows you to create for your printer a final template containing vector data and bitmap objects. Transparency flattening is compulsory when you need to save your files in a format which doesn’t support transparencies.
Extended area of the image / design outside the final printing format. The size of this area varies from one printer to another (usually 0.1" or 1/8"). This margin then will be trimmed during finishing. Therefore, it is also called lost edges, lost funds.
Paper cutting machine, cutting blade capable of cutting stacks of documents at once.
True Type
Group of different fonts in the same way as Open Type or Postcript.
Typeface / Typestyle
Group of characters included in a font and corresponding to the same characteristics, ie. bold, italic, condensed...


Uncoated (paper)
Adjective which refers to a paper that has no surface treatment. (Vs. coated paper).
UV varnish
Protection layer applied on providing a high-gloss shiny finish.


Added protection on the printed sheet to protect it. It can be matt, gloss or satin. There are offset machine, acrylic, UV and / or screen varnishes.
Varnish coating
Action of applying a varnish onto a paper.
Line or curve based on mathematical coordinates linked and from which it is possible to define a line thickness and therefore to make logos, images. A vector can be rescaled without a loss of quality.
Vector graph / vector chart
Representation composed of geometric shapes (lines, points, polygons, curves, ...) defined with attributes of shape, position, color, etc., which then form an image. These images are often used to create logos. It has the advantage of not having a resolution, and is therefore always sharp. These images are different from raster images (or "bitmap"), which we are defined with pixels. A vector can be rescaled without a loss of quality.
Vectorisation (text)
Action of turning a text into vectors.
See also (vector).


Misprint due to a wrong screen orientation.


Dry printing process based on the principle that certain bodies full with electricity become photosensitive.
Xylography - Woodcut
Relief printing method in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed.
This term was used to qualify engravings produced before the modern printing was invented.


Type of fold in which a sheet of paper has two or more parallel folds that open in the manner of an accordion. Also called fold in "M" or in accordion.