Glossary of Printing & Digital Media Terms

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Term Definition
P/U (Pick Up):

To repeat film from a previous job. (a.k.a. repeat)


A bunch of data. Packet switching is a system that breaks data into small packets and transmits each independently. The receiving computer has to combine all the packets.


Paper used to underlay the image or impression cylinder in letterpress or the plate or blanket in lithography to get the proper squeeze and pressure for printing.


To bind by applying glue along one edge of a stack of sheets.

Page Buffering:

The ability to spool an entire image to disk and print in a continuous motion.

Page Description Language:

(PDL) In digital prepress, a computer language designed for describing how type and graphic elements should be produced by output devices.

Page Descriptor:

Page Description Language, which is the actual programming language (such as PostScript) that tells a printer how each page should look in print.

Page Layout Program:

Software designed to combine text and graphics on a virtual page, giving you extensive control over the design and typography. The cornerstone of desktop publishing.

Page Makeup:

In stripping, assembly of all elements to make up a page. In computerized typesetting, 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 Proof:

Proof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings and rules.

Page Proofs:

The stage following galley proofs, in which pages are made up and paginated.

Page-Description Language:

Software that resides within a printer and defines how elements such as text and graphics appear on the printed page. PostScript is the industry-standard page-description language.


One side of a leaf in a printed piece. One sheet folded in half yields four pages. An eight-page signature has four pages printed on each side of the sheet.

Pages Per Inch:

Number of pages per inch of thickness of a bound publication. Each sheet has two pages (front and back).

Pages Per Minute (PPM):

The maximum speed of the printer's marking engine as rated by the manufacturer.

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