Closed Now

M-Th: 8:00 - 5:00

F: 8:00 - 3:00

Sat - Sun: Closed

Printing Terms M - P


All of the operations necessary to get the press ready to print a job.


Converting encoded data from one format to another, particularly in database management.

Megabit (Mb)

Means one million bits.


Means one million bytes or characters.


The area in an electronic device where binary-coded information is stored.

Midtone Dot

A point in a middle-gray area of a halftone. Its area equals or approaches the average of the nearby background.


The range of tonal values between halftone highlight and shadow areas.


Printed images that are incorrectly positioned, either in reference to each other or to the sheet's edges.


this is a pattern that can occur in four-color printing when one or more of the colors (in the film) is created during the separation process at the wrong angle. this creates a visually objectionable pattern of dots which are called moiré pattern.

Monitor Screen

A cathode-ray tube or liquid crystal display device on which image information is displayed in conjunction with a workstation.


A pointing mechanism for a computer. It allows the user, by depressing the buttons, to choose commands or items on-screen. It is also used to control where data is entered.


The operating system for IBM-PC computers and their clones.


An operating system that allows more than one task to be executing simultaneously.


A photographic film or plate that is exposed and processed to provide a reversed image of the tones found on the original–highlights and shadows or color values.

Negative-working Plate

A printing plate that is exposed through a film negative. The plate areas exposed to light become image areas.


A communication link that connects a series of computers together. This allows them to share files and send files to other computers and to peripherals, i.e., printers.

Non-image Area

The portion of a lithographic printing plate that is treated to accept water and repel ink when the plate is on press.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

An electronic scanner that can read and identify typed or typeset characters and convert these characters onto electronic data files on magnetic disks or other types of media. The data can be used at a later date.


The state of a computer being connected to and communicating with another electronic device for the purpose of distributing or retrieving information.

Operating System

A software program that controls the operations of the computer. This allows the computer to recognize user and software commands, complete input and output functions, and recognize any necessary built-in operations.

OPI (Open Prepress Interface)

A set of standardized protocols that allows desktop equipment to be linked with color electronic prepress systems (CEPS).

Optical Disk

A high-capacity magnetic computer storage medium.


Information that is produced by computer application programs on printers, monitors, or stored external storage devices.

Output Device

The machine that translates the electrical impulses representing data as processed by a computer into permanent results. A laser printer, imagesetter, or phototypesetter are some examples.


A condition in which too much actinic light reaches the film, producing a dense negative or a washed-out print or slide.


(1) A color made by printing any two of the process inks on top of one another to form red, green, and blue secondary colors. (2) In lithographic plate-making, exposing a second negative onto an area of the plate previously exposed to a different negative. This is a method of combining line and half-tone images on the plate. (3) Solid or tint-quality control image elements that are printed over or on top of previously printed colors. Used to measure trapping, saturation, and overprint color densities.

Page Layout

A dummy indicating page size; trimmed job size; top, outside, and foot trims; untrimmed page size; and head, foot, outside, and bind margins.


A full-featured page program that enables users to combine text and graphics to produce professional-level publications. It's made for Mac,Windows, and Power Mac by Adobe Systems.


A computer technique that automatically breaks all of the pages in a document into their correct page sequence.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

A computer file format that preserves a printed or electronic document's original layout, type fonts, and graphics as one unit for electronic transfer and viewing.

PDL (Page Description Language)

A computer language that controls page layout. It commands the output device to print in a precise manner. PostScript is the most popular PDL.

Photo CD

A file format (which includes color standards) that holds images on a compact Disc that are scanned from 35 mm negatives or slides.


All processes in which printing surfaces are produced with the aid of photography.

Photopolymer Plate

A relief printing plate made of light-sensitive flexible plastic and most often used in flexography.


A photo design and production tool for creating original artwork, retouching photographic images, and producing high-quality color separations and output. It's made for Mac and Windows by Adobe Systems. The graphic on page one of this document was cropped in Photoshop. The transparent box, and shadowed type were added to the photograph also in Photoshop.


A standardized format that is used to store and manipulate graphic images.


A picture element. The smallest element in a digital imaging or display system.


A thin metal, plastic, or paper sheet that serves as the image carrier in many printing processes.

Plate Cylinder

The cylinder that holds the printing plate tightly and in register on press. It places the plate in contact with the dampening rollers that wet the non-image area and the inking rollers that ink the image area, then transfers the inked image to the blanket, which is held on its own cylinder.


Preparing a printing plate or other image carrier from a film or flat, including sensitizing the surface if the plate was not presensitized by the manufacturer, exposing it through the flat, and developing or processing and finishing it so that it is ready for the press.

PMS (Pantone Matching System)

The most commonly used ink-mixing and color-reference formula.

Positive-working Plate

An image carrier that is exposed through a film positive. Plate areas exposed to light become the non-image areas because they are soluble in the presence of developing agents.


A page description language that was developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. It allows fully scalable text (fonts) to be combined on a single page with high-level graphics and output on a wide range of printers and imagesetters.

Power PC

A family of computer processors built on reduced instruction-set computing (RISC) technology and developed as part of an alliance between Apple Computer, IBM, and Motorola. In addition to its greater processing speed, this system allows cross-platforming, thus permitting different computer systems to work together.


A structured series of tests performed on a page layout file before sending it to an imagesetter.


All printing operations prior to presswork, including page design and layout, typesetting, graphic arts photography, image assembly and platemaking.


The publisher's or print buyer's involvement in electronic graphic arts production and multimedia, and all those operations required before publishing. This includes art and copy preparation, typesetting, scanning, imagesetting, image assembly, audio, animations, and video preparation.


(1) The total of acceptable copies from a single printing. (2) Operating the press during an actual job.

Print Spooler

Software running on a computer or file server that holds documents in memory until the printer can accept and process the files.

Printer Font

The part of the font software that allows that typeface to be output on a laser printer or an imagesetter.

Printer Server

A computer device (or work station), having a primary function of management of all the printers on a network.

Process Colors

The three subtractive primary colors used in photomechanical printing (cyan, magenta, and yellow, plus black).


An automatic device that feeds exposed photosensitive paper or film over rollers through baths to develop and dry them before they reach the delivery area.


A prototype of the printed job made photomechanically from a plate (a press proof), photomechanically from film and dyes, or digitally from electronic data (prepress proofs).

Proof Soft

An intangible, unstable image, such as that on a video screen.


Producing simulated versions of the final reproduction from films and dyes or digitized data or producing trial images directly from the plate.


A die used in finishing operations to perforate holes or slots in paper or board for looseleaf or mechanical binding or other applications, such as mounting.