DTP Definitions

DTP Definitions


DTP Definitions





Text or graphics that extends all the way to the edge of the paper it is printed on. Bleeds are used in publishing for graphical effect and for printed tabs. Most printers cannot print all the way to the edge of the paper, so the only way to produce a bleed is to print on paper larger than the final page size and then trim the paper.






Short for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, and pronounced as separate letters. CMYK is a color model in which all colors are described as a mixture of these four process colors. CMYK is the standard color model used in offset printing for full-color documents. Because such printing uses inks of these four basic colors, it is often called four-color printing.

In contrast, display devices generally use a different color model called RGB, which stands for Red-Green-Blue. One of the most difficult aspects of desktop publishing in color is color matching — properly converting the RGB colors into CMYK colors so that what gets printed looks the same as what appears on the monitor.






Colour separated copy

The act of decomposing a color graphic or photo into single-color layers. For example, to print full-color photos with an offset printing press, one must first separate the photo into the four basic ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). Each single-color layer is then printed separately, one on top of the other, to give the impression of infinite colors.

This type of color separation, mixing three or four colors to produce an infinite variety of colors, is called process color separation. Another type of color separation, called spot color separation, is used to separate colors that are not to be mixed. In this case, each spot color is represented by its own ink, which is specially mixed. Spot colors are effective for highlighting text but they cannot be used to reproduce full-color images.

Traditionally, process color separation has been performed photographically with different colored filters. However, many modern desktop publishing systems are now capable of producing color separations for graphics stored electronically. This capability is essential if you want to create full-color documents on your computer and then print them using an offset printer. You don’t need to perform color separation if you are printing directly to a color printer because in this case the printer itself performs the color separation internally.





Drop Cap

In desktop publishing, the first letter of a paragraph that is enlarged to “drop” down two or more lines, as in the next paragraph. Drop caps are often seen at the beginning of novels, where the top of the first letter of the first word lines up with the top of the first sentence and drops down to the four or fifth sentence to the beginning of a section






(1) The approximation of text characters on a screen display. Greeking is often used by word processors that support a preview function. In preview mode, the word processor attempts to show what a document will look like when printed. Frequently, however, the graphics display capabilities of the monitor are not sufficient to show text at a small size. To give a general idea of what the text will look like and how page layout will appear, the word processor uses graphics symbols to approximate the text. These symbols suggest greek letters, hence the term greeking.

(2) The term greeking is also used to describe nonsense text inserted in a document to check a layout. This allows a layout artist to concentrate on the overall appearance of a page without worrying about the actual text that will be inserted later.





In desktop publishing, the space between columns in a multiple-column document.






Hanging Indent

In word processing, a paragraph that has all lines but the first indented. A hanging indent is also known as a hanging paragraph.

With many word processors, you can create hanging indents by specifying a negative indentation for the first line of each paragraph.





Hard copy

A printout of data stored in a computer. It is considered hard because it exists physically on paper, whereas a soft copy exists only electronically.







In word processing, hyphenation refers to splitting a word that would otherwise extend beyond the right margin. Not all word processors support hyphenation, and of those that do support it, not all perform it correctly.

Word processors use two basic techniques to perform hyphenation. The first employs an internal dictionary of words that indicates where hyphens may be inserted. The second uses a set of logical formulas to make hyphenation decisions. The dictionary method is more accurate but is usually slower. The most sophisticated programs use a combination of both methods.

Most word processors allow you to override their own hyphenation rules and define yourself where a word should be divided.

Hyphens inserted automatically by a hyphenation utility are called discretionary or soft hyphens. Hyphens that you add explicitly by entering the dash character are called hard hyphens.





Justified text

In word processing, to align text along the left and right margins.







In typography, kerning refers to adjusting the space between characters, especially by placing two characters closer together than normal. Kerning makes certain combinations of letters, such as WA, MW, TA, and VA, look better.

Only the most sophisticated word processors and desktop publishing systems perform kerning. Normally, you can activate or deactivate kerning for particular fonts.






Pronounced LED-ing. A typographical term that refers to the vertical space between lines of text. The word derives from the fact that typographers once used thin strips of lead to separate lines. Now, the leading value also includes the size of the font. For example, 10-point text with 2 points of spacing between lines would mean a leading of 12 points.

Many word processors and all desktop publishing systems allow you to specify the leading. In addition, some systems automatically adjust leading so that columns and pages have even bottom margins. This feature is called vertical justification.

Leading is also called line spacing.





Legibility of text

Legibility and readability are a function of the specific typeface, and how type is composed on the page. It is useful for anyone composing type to learn the generally accepted guidelines on point size, x-height, leading, character spacing, alignment, and typestyles that can affect legiblity and readability of type.

The designer must also consider the purpose of the work and the expectations of the audience when making legibility choices. The rules of type legibility are guidelines and starting points, not rules to be adhered to blindly.






In word processing, the strips of white space around the edge of the paper. Most word processors allow you to specify the widths of margins. The wider the left and right margins, the narrower the page. The wider the top and bottom margins, the shorter the page.

If your word processor performs word wrap, it will automatically adjust the length of the lines when you change the widths of the margins.





One colour. Monitors, for example, can be monochrome, grayscale or color. Monochrome monitors actually use two colors, one for the display image (the foreground) and one for the background. Graphic images can also be monochrome, grayscale, or color.





In word processing, an orphan is the first line of a paragraph that appears as the last line of a page, or the last line of a paragraph that appears as the first line of a page (this is sometimes called a widow). Orphans are considered bad form in page layout, so most word processors allow you to avoid them. Also see orphan file.




Point (Pt) (In terms of text size)

In typography, a point is about 1/72 of an inch and is used to measure the height of characters. (Historically, a point was.0138 inches, a little less than 1/72 of an inch, but this has changed.) The height of the characters is one characteristic of fonts. Some fonts are referred to as fixed-point fonts because their representation allows for only one size. In contrast, a scalable font is one that is represented in such a way that the size can easily be changed.





Readability of text

Legibility and readability are a function of the specific typeface, and how type is composed on the page. It is useful for anyone composing type to learn the generally accepted guidelines on point size, x-height, leading, character spacing, alignment, and typestyles that can affect legiblity and readability of type.

The designer must also consider the purpose of the work and the expectations of the audience when making legibility choices. The rules of type legibility are guidelines and starting points, not rules to be adhered to blindly.






Stands for “Red Green Blue.” It refers to the three hues of light (red, green, and blue, for those of you that are a little slow), that can mix together to form any color. When the highest intensity of each colour is mixed together, white light is created. When each hue is set to zero intensity, the result is black. TVs and computer monitors use RGB to create the colourful images you see on the screen. In print, however, the 4 colours — cyan, yellow, magenta, and black (CYMK) — are used to create color images.





A small decorative line added as embellishment to the basic form of a character. Typefaces are often described as being serif or sans serif (without serifs). The most common serif typeface is Times Roman. A common sans serif typeface is Helvetica.




Text Wrapping

Text wrap is a feature supported by many word processors that enables you to surround a picture or diagram with text. The text wraps around the graphic.

Text wrap in HTML is most frequently used to describe wrapping of text around an image in the HTML code. This is done by adding align=”left” or align=”right” to the <img> tag. Text wrap is also called text flow.





(1)  In word processing, the last line of a paragraph that appears as the first line of a page. Widows are considered bad form in page layout, so many word processors allow you to avoid them. When the word processor detects a widow, it can end the page one or more lines early so that at least the last two lines from the paragraph start the next page. Some word processors avoid widows by moving all the lines on the page closer together so that the last line can fit on the same page.

(2)  The converse of a widow is an orphan, the first line of a paragraph appearing as the last line of a page.




Pull Quote

Used to attract attention, especially in long articles, a pull-quote is a small selection of text pulled out and quoted in a larger typeface or using some other formatting distinct from the rest of the article. A pull-quote may be framed by rules, placed within the article, span multiple columns, or be placed in an empty column near the article.

A pull-quote is sometimes referred to as a call-out but not all call-outs are pull-quotes. A pull-quote is a teasers or visual signpost that draws readers into an article just like kickers or eyebrows, decks, and subheads.

A pull-quote may or may not use quotation marks, or the quotation marks and other punctuation may be used as decorative elements. From a design and layout standpoint, pull-quotes should not appear too close to the spot where the text appears in the article. If appearing too close together it can create the sometimes disorienting impression for the reader that they have lost their place and are re-reading the same passage.




Copy Fitting

In typography, the process of estimating the point size and leading in which a particular piece of copy will need to be set to fit in a (usually) predetermined area. Copy fitting is based on a calculation called characters per pica, which varies by typeface, and is also a function of that typeface’s alphabet length, or how many characters in a font will occupy one pica of linear distance.




Stand first

Journalism – an introductory paragraph in an article, printed in larger or bolder type or in capitals, which summarizes the article





There are various definitions for the word slug in graphic design, prepress and printing terminology. Including;

In traditional hot metal typesetting – such as Linotype – a slug is a line of text from a linecasting machine. Blank slugs were also used to apply leading between lines of type. This has now been superceded by electronic desktop publishing.

In magazine design, the term slug is used for a heading that stays in the same position in each issue of the publication.