Glossary - Some Common Terms Defined
If you are new to the "mysteries of printing", you may find some of these definitions helpful.
Acrobat- A program developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. for creating, editing, distributing, and viewing Portable Document Format files, also known as "PDF's".
Bitmap Image - A type of image file format that uses a grid of pixels to create shapes. Bitmap images, sometimes called raster images, consist of a fixed number of individually editable pixels. Photographs and screen captures are usually bitmap images. Popular bitmap file formats include GIF, JPEG, and TIFF.
Clipping Path - In computer graphics and imaging, a curve or polygon that defines the boundary of an image. Only the portion of the image that is enclosed within the clipping path will be visible when the item is printed or displayed. Clipping paths can be created in a program such as Photoshop; the Pen tool is used to draw the path around the object in questions, and the image must then be saved out as an EPS file.
Compression (scheme) - an algorithm that significantly reduces file sizes by removing redundant data. Common compression schemes include JPEG, LZW, and RLE.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) - a term to describe the disparate means of organizing and storing all the various elements (text, images, video, audio, etc.) one needs for a project.
Digital Proof - Refers to proofs made directly from digital data. NOT analog film.
DPI - an abbreviation for dots per inch. Refers to the resolution at which a device, such as a monitor or printer, can display text and graphics.
Electronic Publication - a document that is distributed by computer rather than on paper. Electronic publications can usually be printed as well, but they are primarily intended to be read on-screen, searched, and saved for future access.
Font - One style, weight, and width of a typeface. An example is Times Roman Bold Extended. Times is a typeface family; Roman is a style; Bold is a weight; Extended is a width. The terms font and typeface are to be used interchangeably.
FTP Site (File Transfer Protocol) - FTP is a communications protocol that lets people and companies make files available for transfer from their computer to your computer.
Imposition - The arrangement of pages for printing on a large sheet in such a way that they appear in order when the sheet is folded.
PDF (Portable Document Format) - A file format designed for cross-platform document creation and distribution. An electronic snapshot of a document, which may be printed or displayed on-screen, saved in a compressed PostScript format. PDF files can simply mimic print documents or provide interactivity through links and dynamic media.
PostScript - A page description language invented by Adobe Systems, Inc., that consists of software commands which, when translated through the raster image processor (RIP) forms the desired image on an output device, such as a laser printer or image setter.
Preflight- A check to a digital file before output that involves ensuring that images and other color usage are in the correct color space for the target output device, that all images are at a suitable resolution and image size, that all fonts are present and accounted for and any other problems that may prevent consistent or quality output are identified.
Resolution - The number of pixels per inch in an image. The more pixels, the finer the image and the more realistic it appears. When an image is scanned, a certain number of pixels per inch are captured. From this original capture, the image may be displayed at different resolutions according to how many pixels the monitor can display. When an image is printed, the resolution is controlled by how many dots per inch the printer is capable of printing.
Soft Proof (monitor proof) - The ability to generate a file from the customer's ripped page, that is viewable on a monitor. This allows operators to check the file against supplier laser proofs for content, type flow and correct trapping. It can also be a PDF file, generated from the ripped file and sent to the customer to view at their site before any materials are used.
Definitions obtained from The GATF Encyclopedia of Graphic Communications Yearbook, the Adobe Print Publishing Guide and The Adobe Electronic Publishing Guide.