Typography Terms

Type Terminology

This dictionary contains definitions of type-related terms that are commonly used in desktop publishing.



Stands for Authors Alteration; used in proofing as an in-dication that changes are requested and will he paid for by the client; changes are not due to printer's error.

Adobe Type Manager

A software that improved screen display in early versions of Windows by imaging fonts directly from their Type 1 PostScript language font files (PFM,PFB). ATM is not required in modern versions of Windows having built-in support to Type 1 fonts (since Windows 2000).


(Adobe Font Metrics) A specification for storing (in a text file) font metrics information such as character widths, kerning pairs, and character bounding boxes.


The space between two columns of set type; sometimes also called a column gutter or column margin.


The characters of a given language, arranged in a traditional order; 26 characters in English.

alternate character

A version of a letterform that is designed as a part of a font, but is not the standard letterform. It may incorporate a swash, or be a different structure of the letter.


The symbol for "and" (&) that is a monogrammatic.


Where strokes come together at the uppermost point of a character; examples of different types: rounded, pointed, hallow, flat, and extended.

Arabic number

A numeral from 0 through 9; can be set as Old Style or Lining Figures.

arc of the stem

A curved stroke that is continuous with a straight stem, not a bowl; examples: bottom of "j, t, f, a, and u." Also called a shoulder.


The short, upward sloping stroke or horizontal projection of characters like the 'X' and 'L'.


The part of a lowercase letter that rises above the main body of the letter (as in b, d, h). The part that extends above the x-height of a font.

ascender line

The imaginary horizontal line that represents the uppermost point of an ascender. A line marking the topmost point of the cap line.


A font's maximum distance above the baseline.


(American Standard Code for Information Interchange) A universal format for representing alphanumeric characters, allowing for the exchange of information between operating systems. Consists of the text itself, stripped of all special codes for formatting, such as centering, bold, underline, and indents.


See Adobe Type Manager


A method of placing text in a document in which text flows continuously into successive columns and pages. Additional pages will be created as needed.

back matter

The book information placed after the text copy; includes index, glossary, bibliography, and appendix.

bad break

Refers to widows or orphans in text copy, or a break that does not make sense of the phrasing of a line of copy, causing awkward reading.


The type design of the name of a repetitive publication, such as a newspaper, newsletter, or magazine.


The enclosed horizontal stroke in characters 'A', 'H', and 'e'.


The imaginary line upon which text rests. Descenders extend below the baseline. Also known as the "reading line." The line along which the bases of all capital letters (and most lowercase letters) are positioned.

Bezier curve

Mathematical equations commonly used to describe the shapes of characters in electronic typography. The Bezier curve was named for Pierre Bezier, a French computer scientist who developed the mathematical representation used to describe that curve.


A pattern used in forming paint-type graphic images or type characters with a series of dots, with a certain number of dots per inch.

bitmap font

A font which is made up of pixels (or square dots). Bitmap fonts typically work in tandem with outline fonts, with bitmap fonts being used on the screen, and connected outline fonts automatically used in the printer. Also known as a "screen font."


An area of text or graphics that extends beyond the edge of the page. Commercial printers usually trim the paper after printing to create bleeds.


These heavy, black typefaces (whose capital letters are often ornate) were the very first metal type known in Europe. The earliest of these in Europe were from the Gutenberg workshop and were copies of letters found in handwritten manuscripts. Also known as "Old English." The world’s first book printed in movable metal type is “Jikji Simche Yojeol” (“Jikji”) printed in 1377 at Heungdeoksa Temple in Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea. "Apostol", the first printed book in Cyrillic was printed in 1564 by Ivan Fedorov and Peter Mstislavets in Moscow, in Printing House established by tzar Ivan IV Vasilyevich.

body copy

The textual matter set in one face and point size, with a common leading and column width. (see text)

bold face

A heavy, stroked typeface, in which the negative space of counters is minimized; appears thick and massive; calls attention to itself in contrast to regular text for emphasis.

body size

The type's point size which is determined by measuring from the highest ascender to the lowest descender (plus any additional white space to the descender line).

body type

The specific typeface that is used in the main text


A dark typeface used for emphasis, usually heavier in weight.

bold italics

A typestyle in which the image face is both italicized (slanted from left to right) and bolded (darkened); used to create visual interest and emphasis.

bold type

A typestyle in which the image face is darkened; used to call attention to the text on which it is used.

book list

A list of the individual documents that are included in a complete publication.


Alternating characters in an up and down position.


Writing with alternating tines written in opposite directions; one line is written from left to right, then the next line's letters are reversed, written from right to left.


The enclosed oval or round curve of letters like 'D', 'g', b', and 'o'. In an open bowl, the stroke does not meet with the stem completely; a closed-bowl stroke meets the stem.

bracketed serif

A serif in which the transition from the stem stroke to the serif stroke is one continuous curve, Serifs may have differing degrees of bracketing.


The symbols used in algebraic formulas, (,).


The place where type is divided; may be the end of a line or paragraph, or as it reads best in display type.


A typeset character (a large dot or symbol) used to itemize lists or direct attention to the beginning of a line. (See dingbat.)


The process that saves bitmaps in memory or on the printer's hard disk in order to minimize the amount of time spent generating bitmaps. The first time a particular letter is imaged, its bitmap is generated and cached. Subsequent uses of that letter can use the cached version for huge performance gains.


Named for a stack of smooth calendar rollers made of metal that paper is run across to give a smooth fin-ish to the sheet. Often the paper is flooded with a liquid clay-like coating before it's run through the calendaring stacks, which gives a hard, shiny surface to the paper.

California job case

The large drawers of shallow height used to sort hand-set lead type into small compartments that were arranged based on the frequency of use of the char-acters.


In typography, this usually refers to Roman or Italic alphabets which appear to have been written with a pen or brush. Derived from the Greek word "kalligraphia," which means "beauMful writing.


A selection of type (word or phrase) that is set in larger or bolder type from the body-copy font for emphasis.

cap height

The height of the uppercase letters within a font. (See also cap line.)

cap line

The imaginary line which represents the uppermost part of capital letters and some character's ascenders. A line marking the height of uppercase letters within a font.


The large letters of the alphabet; the original form of ancient Roman characters. The letters are based on a de-sign within a square?no ascenders or descenders; also called uppercase, majuscule, and caps.

caps and small caps

The typesetting option in which the lowercase letters are set as small capital letters; usually 75% the height of the size of the innercase.


Text describing an illustration, photo, or other piece of artwork or graphic (see cutline).


A symbol in writing. A letter, punctuation mark or figure.

character count

An estimation of the number of characters in a selection of type.

character set

A single font's characters, symbols, and numbers.


a book of paper or parchment leaves bound with boards; distinct from the ancient volume in scroll form.

cold type

The general term for type which is created by photocomposition, in which no heat is required.


An inscription at the end of a manuscript or book that contains facts about its production; identifies artists, designers, or printers, and specifies the typefaces and pa-pers used.

column rule

A line used between two columns of type.


Short for comprehensive layout; used to show a client how the printed piece will look.


Characters which are narrower to fit into a compact space. A properly condensed character should fit into a smaller space without making it too thin or reducing the character's height.


the associations a particular font brings to the readers interaction with it; what it reminds the reader of, the feelings or thoughts that arise when looking at it.


An indication of the difference between the thicker and thinner parts of characters in a typeface. Bodoni with its thin serifs and horizontal strokes and thick verticals, is a high contrast face. Helvetica (and most Egyptians) is a low contrast face.


All typeset words and/or text incorporated into the publication (as in art and copy)


The enclosed (or partially enclosed) space within letters such as 'c,' 'e,' S,' 'H,' and 'g.' Often confused with "bowl."

cross bar

The horizontal bar connecting two strokes of a let-terform, as in "H" and "A", the ends are not free.

cross stroke

The part of the letter that cuts horizontally across the stem, like in the letters 't' and 'f.' Also known as the "cross bar."


The pointed space where an arm or arc meets a stem: an acute crotch less is than 90 degrees, and an obtuse crotch is more than 90 degrees.


The Sumerian writing style of wedge-shaped characters that are pressed into damp clay with a stylus.


First used in the 16th century, these typefaces imitate handwriting. Script letters and cursive typefaces appear to be drawn with pen and ink. Unlike script, however, cursive letters are not joined.


Term used predominantly by newspapers to describe a photo (see caption).


An analytical descripton of a specific font, its serifs, bracketing, terminals, weight of strokes, etc.


The lowest portion of letters such as 'g,' 'j,' 'p.' 'q,' and 'y' that extends below the baseline, or reading line of type. (See descender line.) The portion of a lowercase letter that extends below the base line of the letter.

descender line

The lowest line that a character's descender extends to, like the bottom stem of the lowercase 'j' and 'y.' A line marking the lowest point of the descenders within a font.


A font's maximum distance below the baseline.


A mark like a circumflex, accent mark, cedilla, or umlaut, which is added to a letter to give it a special phonetic value, or to distinguish words which are otherwise graphically identical. Also called "accent."


Once known as "printer's flowers," these are the small decorative marks, bullets, or symbols that usually make up a specialty face. Zapf Dingbats is one well-known example of a dingbat font.

discretionary hyphens

A hyphen inserted in a word indicating where PageMaker can divide the word, if necessary, to fit the text on the line.

display face

A larger and bolder version of a text face (14 points or more) which is used for headlines and sub-headlines.

downloadable font

A font file that contains character descriptions that are copied from the computer and temporarily stored in the printer s memory while a document is printing.


Transferring fonts from the computer to the printer's memory.


(Dots per inch) The measure of resolution for a video monitor or printer high-resolution printers are usually at least 1000 dpi. Laser printers typically have a resolution of 600 dpi; monitors are usually 72 dpi.

drop cap

An oversized capital letter used at the start of a paragraph. Drop caps occupy two or more lines of body copy, usually introduced for design emphasis.


The projection on letters like the lowercase 'g' and 'p.'


A typeface style with slab or square serifs, these lack contrast (i.e., in a serif face, thick serifs and stems that are normally thin are fat). Also known as "Western" faces since they are reminiscent of the old American West, these are sometimes made up of human forms and floral figures, and are one of the oldest reminders of the craftsmanship of the 19th century before modern journalism and printing techniques came into being. Still with us today, some of these faces are so bold and condensed that they hardly have any white space between the letters. See also: slab serif.


One of the distinguishable components of a layout: headline, subhead, body copy, illustration, logo, border, etc.


A unit of measure, which is the square of a face's point size. Traditionally, the width of a face's widest letter, the capital 'M.' For instance, if the 'M' is 10 points wide, an em is equal to 10 points. By Microsoft: A unit of measurement equal to the current type size. For example, an em in 12-point type is equal to 12 points.

em dash

One em wide, the em dash indicates missing material or a break in thought. Spaces may be added to both sides of the em dash.

em square

A square the size of a capital letter 'M,' which extends to the descender line. The em square received its name from the capital 'M' that filled the piece of metal used to form the type body in early printing days.

em space

A non-breaking space equal to the width of a typeface's point size. Often used for paragraph indentions. Traditionally, the em space was created by non-printing blocks of metal used to add space between words.

em unit

Dimensionless distance measuring units equal to the currently specified point size.


Process of importing into a file all of the data used to describe a graphic or font, as opposed to linking to the file or font.


A unit of measurement equal to half of one em.

en dash

One en wide, the en dash indicates duration, "to" or "through" such as, "refer to pages 4-9." It may also be used in compound adjectives (as in post-World War 1~). A space can be added to both sides of the en dash.

en space

A nonbreaking space equal to the width of the letter N in the font being used (one-half the width of a em space).

en square

A unit of measure which is equal to half of a typeface's point size. Traditionally, an en was half the width of an em.


(Encapsulated PostScript) A graphic file format jointly developed by Altsys, Aldus, Adobe, and Quark which expedites the exchange of PostScript graphics files between applications. Also known as "EPSF." Used for draw-type images, created with PostScript code.


A typeface whose letters have been made wider without visually adding weight.


A typeface whose letters are stretched (or expanded) horizontally while still retaining their original height.


All the type sizes and styles of one typeface. A complete character set of a font. The group shares a common design but can differ in attributes such as character width, weight and posture (i.e., Roman vs. Italic). A typical computer family unit frequently contains four fonts: Roman, Italic, Bold, and Boldltalic in all sizes.

fixed pitch

Any typestyle, such as Courier, that has the same amount of space allotted for each character (as opposed to proportional spacing).


A means of automatically suppressing small details such as cupped serifs that would print poorly at small sizes. At:large sizes or high resolutions, the details are automatically reinstated.


(FONt family Descriptor) FONDs define the relationship between a plain Macintosh font and its styles (such as Bold, Italic, and Boldltalic). The FOND groups a family of fonts and contains the family name, the style, and size. as well as metrics information like fractional width tables and kerning tables.


The complete set of characters for one typeface at one particular type size, excluding attributes such as bold or italic. In modern usage, the term "font" is often confused with "typeface" and "family." Traditionally, the term "font" represents a complete set of characters (including all the letters of the alphabet, punctuation, and symbols), which share the same typeface, style, and size. For example, 12 point Goudy Oldstyle Bold is a font. Fonts can be as small as the basic alphabet or up to hundreds of characters. Some languages, like Japanese, can exceed these numbers, which make them more difficult to access from the standard keyboard. Derived from the word "found" as in type foundry.

font family

Group of typefaces with similar characteristics. For example, the sans serif typefaces Arial, Arial Bold, Arial Bold Italic, Arial Italic, Small Fonts, and MS Sans Serif are all part of the Swiss font family.

font size

The size of type, measured in points between the bottom of the descender and the top of the ascender (the vertical point size of a font). Sometimes referred to as the Type or Point Size.

font style

Refers to the specific characteristics of the font. The four characteristics that can be defined for fonts are italic, bold, bold italic, and roman.


(see footer)


One or more lines of text appearing at the bottom of every page.


In modern usage, Gothic refers to sans serif monoweight letters (for example, Letter Gothic). These have little contrast of thick and thin lines, and no ornamentation, yet still retain the intensive boldness of the traditional Gothic. After the invention of typography in Europe by Gutenberg in AD 1450, the traditional Gothic style of lettering fell into the shadow of Venetian Old Style typography. The world’s first book printed in movable metal type is “Jikji Simche Yojeol” (“Jikji”) printed in 1377 at Heungdeoksa Temple in Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea. "Apostol", the first printed book in Cyrillic was printed in 1564 by Ivan Fedorov and Peter Mstislavets in Moscow, in Printing House established by tzar Ivan IV Vasilyevich.


Serif or sans serif designs composed of visually geometric character shapes. Some good examples are Lubalin Graph, Avant Garde, and Futura


A shape in a font that is used to represent a character code on screen or paper, e.g. the shapes of A, B, C characters in a Roman font. The symbols and shapes in a font like ITC Zapf Dingbats are also glyphs.

greeked text

Simulated text used to show the position of the actual text on the page. Text is greeked in order to speed the screen display.


The space between two facing pages (inside margins). The term is sometimes used to refer to the space between two columns (see alley).

hanging indent

A paragraph with the first line extending to the left of the other lines.


(see header)


One or more lines of text appearing at the top of every page.


The extra large opening statement used in a layout, used to grad the reader's attention and sometimes summarizes what the text is about.


Computer algorithms which enhance the appearance of characters printed or imaged a: low resolutions (72-600 dpi). ATM can take advantage of hints in Type I PostScript fonts to render more uniformly shaped screen fonts across the character set.

hyphenation zone

The area at the end of a text line where it is acceptable to hyphenate words.


The shape the pointer assumes when the text tool is selected.


(also ideogram) The combination of two or more pictographs to represent a concept


A temporary inward offset from the margin setting.

initial cap

Large, capital letters (often ornamental) which are found at the beginning of paragraphs or chapters. These date back to the early days of European manuscnpts where they were (and sb11 are) considered works of art Before printing presses replaced hand lettering, a few talented scribes drew the characters into spaces left in the manuscripts for that purpose

inline graphic

A graphic placed in text with the text tool. An inline graphic travels with the text block when moved.

insertion point

A vertical bar in the text that indicates the location that any newly typed text will appear, or any deletions will be made. Also called the text cursor.


A type style with slightly slanted characters, used for emphasis. Best used to set off quotes, special phrases, and foreign words, italic letters have a redesigned structure that allows them to slant to the right. The first italic type was designed by Aldus Manutius in AD 1501 and was based on the handwriting style of that time. Furthermore, lowercase letters were in italics while capital letters were Roman (or vertical stance).


Text at the end of an article indicating on what page the article is continued; also, the text at the top of a continued article indicating from where the article is continued.


Text that is aligned at both the left and right margins.


The adjustment of spacing between letters. The process of improving appearance and legibility by adjusting the white space between certain paired characters, such as 'Ty', 'To', or 'Ye', which are known as "kerning pairs." Manual kerning allows the desktop publisher to move letters either closer or farther apart ~o adjust and improve the space between them. Automatic kerning on the computer is done by using a kerning table (an AFM file) that contains pre defined font specific kerning pairs. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as "minus setting." See also letter spacing.

kerning pairs

Certain paired characters, such as 'Ty', 'To', or 'Ye', defined in a font and used for improving appearance and legibility. Kerning pairs are usually defined in well designed fonts. See also kerning.


Short, underlined phrase introducing a headline. Also called teaser.


(pronounced leeder) Rows of dots or dashes used to guide the eye to another area within the line.


(Pronounced 'ledding') The amount of vertical space between lines of type. The distance from the baseline of one line of type and the baseline of another line of type immediately above or below it; also known as line spacing and usually measured in points.


the ease with which the reader can discern the type on the page, based on the tone of the type in relation to the background and the letterforms' shape with respect to each other.

left justified

Type that is aligned with its left margin. Also called "flush left"

letter spacing

Extra space inserted between letters in a word. Also called Kerning. Separating all the letters in a word with spaces. Best used to modify headings, this should be applied with caution since too much letter spacing makes copy difficult to read. Some programs automatically add letter spacing when the text is justified. (See tracking)


A typeface that has connections between letters. Formal and informal scripts are the most common examples of ligated typefaces. Characters like 'fi,' 'fl,' or 'st' may be ligated in typefaces that are otherwise unconnected.


A special double character in a font representing two letters as one. For example, ae and oe. One character that is made up of two or more letters.

line spacing

The amount of vertical spacing, expressed in points, from the baseline of one line of text, to the baseline of the next line.


A combination of characters and/or graphics to create a single design that is used to identify a company or organization. it is often trademarked and is always included on all company printed materials and ads.


Usually refers to the type or font used in a logo (see logo).


These are the small letters of a typeface. Originally, small letters were stored in the lower section of the printer's typecase, hence the term "lowercase." Once known as "minuscules."


See uppercase

margin marker

A symbol on the ruler used to set the left and right margins for the text in word processing documents.


The area from the edge of the paper to the boundary of the layout area of the page.

mean line

The line on which the top parts of most of the lowercase letters set (not the ascenders). Also called x-height. The top (imaginary) point of all lowercase characters without ascenders.


Font information such as ascent, descent, leading, character widths, and kerning.


These are the small letters of a typeface. See lowercase


A modified version of Old Style. these high contrast letters have heavy, untapered stems and light serifs. Originally developed by Firmin Didot and Giambattista Bodoni during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

monospaced font

Like typewritten characters, these all have the same width and take up the same amount of space. Use of this type allows figures to be set in vertical rows without leaving a ragged appearance (as opposed to proportional type).

multiple master font

Type 1 font programs that include two or more "master" fonts within a single font file. It allows users to interpolate many intermediate "instances" of the typeface. The fonts have one or more "axes" which might typically represent the weight, width, or optical size of the font. Thus the user can generate a very large number of variations from a single font - thus providing unprecedented flexibility. Multiple Master fonts are completely explained at Adobe's site and in the Adobe Type Manager documentation.


(New FoNT) The Macintosh font resource which contains your bitmap screen font. NFNTs have a wider range of font identification numbers than the older FONTs. NFNTs opened up another 16,000 FOND ID numbers when they were introduced by Apple with the Macintosh Plus.


Most used version of Roman font, also called "Regular".


A right slanted version of a Roman typeface without changes to the letter's design. Often confused with italics.

Old Style

Characterized by variations in stroke width, bracketed serifs, high contrast, and a diagonal stroke. Some popular Old Styles include Bembo, Garamond, Janson, and Caslon. Originally developed during the Renaissance and adopted by Venetian printers in the 15th century, these were based on pen drawn forms.


New font format developed by Adobe and Microsoft. OpenType font can contain a set of glyphs defined as TrueType or Type 1 curves.

orphan line

A single line of a paragraph at the top of a page or column.

outline font

A font that is defined by drawing the black contour of the white space that makes up each character. It is made up typically of Bezier curves for PostScnpt fonts and quadratic splines for TrueType fonts. Both these fonts can be scaled to any size, therefore, one set of outlines can be used for any size in a typeface.


Printing one color over another, instead of knocking out the background color (see also knockout).

paragraph tags

Style names included in a word-processed document that can be retained when the file is placed into a PageMaker document.

permanent font

A font which is downloaded to the printer, onto a hard disk or in ROM, and resides there until the power is turned off.


An elemental sign or pictograph carved or drawn on a rock.


Printer Font Metrics (PFM) file contain information about a single Type 1 font. PFM files are required for installing Type 1 fonts in a Windows system. Although this file format was originally designed for single-byte fonts, PFM files provide Adobe Type Manager (ATM) and other software with key font-specific information that is necessary for installation and use in a Windows environment. PFM file doesn't contain a font itself.


A unit of measurement equal to one-sixth of an inch. There are 12 points to a pica. A typographic measurement that has survived the digital revolution. 12 points = 1 pica; 6 picas = 1 inch; 72 points = 1 inch.


An elementary picture symbol that represents an object (noun).


Refers to the amount of horizontal space used for each character of fixed-width fonts. This is often specified in characters-per-inch (CPI), typically where 10-pitch equals 12-point, 12-pitch equals 10-point, and 15-pitch equals 8-point.


(Stands for PICture ELement) Pixels are-square dots that represent the smallest units displayed on a computer screen. The standard Macintosh monitor displays about 72 pixels per inch. Characters or graphics are created by turning pixels on or off.


A unit of measurement, often used to measure type size, equal to 0.013837 inch (approximately equal to 1/72"). The traditional point measurement was slightly more or less than 72 points to the inch (depending on the typesetting measurement system).

point size

The height of the type body. A standard type measurement system was originally developed by the Parisian type founder Pierre Fournier le Jeune in 1737. In the days of metal type, the point size was the total number of points in the height of metal type, including the ascent and descent of the letters~ and the metal above and below the letters (ie., builtin leading).


Adobe System's page description language. Programs like Macromedia FreeHand and Adobe Illustrator use PostScript to create complex pages, text, and graphics onscreen. This language is then sent to the printer to produce high quality printed text and graphics.

printer font

A font (i.e., Helvetica or Times) that can be down loaded to the printer, onto a hard disk or in ROM, that then resides in the printer.

proportionally spaced type

Type whose character widths vary according to the features of the letters (as opposed to monospaced type).

proportional spacing

Spacing for type in which characters are not all the same width (i.e., an i would take less space than an m).

pull quotes

Short excerpts from text that are enlarged and set off from the page with boxes or lines. These are used for emphasis or to fit text copy into columns.


Well known desktop publishing application of Quark, Inc.


The uneven alignment of text lines. Ragged is the opposite of flush. A text block may be formatted to be evenly aligned (flush) on one side and unevenly aligned (ragged) on the other.


(Random Access Memory) The computer or printer s temporary place for storing data. When the computer or printer is turned off, the information in RAM is erased.


The process of converting Outlines into bitmaps. The outlines are scaled to the desired size and filled by turning on pixels inside the outline. (See pixel)


The overall appearance of how the type is spaced in the column.


The use of pictures and/or pictographs together to represent the syllables of a word.


The right page of a spread


The actual placement of rasterized pixels on the monitor's display. Refers both to graphic objects and type, particularly for fonts using hints. Also called "rasterization."

resident font

A font that resides permanently in the ROM of a printer.


The number of dots in an image's screen display or printed output. A monitor's resolution refers to the number of pixels per linear inch. Printed resolution refers to dots per linear inch. (See dpi.)


the overtone of a typeface design based on our connotative experience with it; historic, romantic, business-like, exotic, etc.

reverse type

White characters on a dark background. A good way to grab the reader's attention.

right justified

Type aligned with its right margin. Also known as "flush right."


(Raster Image Processor) Converts fonts and graphics into raster images, which are used by the printer to draw onto the page.


In Macintosh font menus, this is called Plain meaning text that has no style applied to it (i.e., Italic, Bold, Boldltalic). Roman fonts are upright thick-and-thin weighted, and usually serifed type. The classical Roman letter style began in A.D. 114 with letters chiseled in the stone of the Trajan Columns in Rome.

running footer

(see footer)

running header

(see header)

sans serif

A typeface without serifs. For example, Helvetica or Modern. Sans serif type is more legible in headings than in a long passage of text. Helvetica is an example of a sans serif typeface. First designed by William Caslon IV in 1816, it was originally referred to as "English Egyptian." Also known as "Gothic" in the United States and "Grotesque" in Europe.

scalable font

(see outline font)

screen font

A font used to display characters on the screen. Screen fonts are created as bitmaps in the same resolution as the monitor.


Script letters are joined and should not be confused with cursive, which are not connected. Since script is difficult to read, its use should be limited to a few lines at a time. Early script typefaces were developed in the sixteenth century, and were based upon formal cursive handwriting.


Small, finishing strokes on the arms, stems, and tails of characters. Serif typefaces are usually used for text since the serifs form a link between letters that leads the eye across a line of type.

serif type

A font that has accents at the end of character strokes. For example, Times or Roman.


The width of a letter and its surrounding space; the space, needed to set a line of text in a specific typeface. Some programs have tracking to adjust the typeface to make it set looser or tighter. Also known as "advance width."

semiautomatic flow text

Placement in which the text flows to the bottom of the column and stops with the text icon loaded with the rest of the text.


Boxes of text at the side of a document presenting material related to, but not necessarily a part of, the text.

side bearing

The space between the origin of a character and its leftmost point (left side bearing), or the space between the rightmost point and width line (right side bearing).

slab serif

A typeface with thick, block-like serifs. Also called square serif, or Egyptian. Historical examples of the slab serif typefaces: Clarendon, Rockwell, Egyptienne. See also: Egyptian


Refers to the angle of a font's characters, which can be italic or roman (no slant).


A line of type cast as a single piece of metal from a linotype machine; strips of metal (lead) sandwiched between lines of type used in letterpress printing which create the vertical spacing between lines knowing as leading.

soft font

A typeface file that is stored on the computer's hard drive and sent to the printer when needed. Also called a downloadable font.

small caps

Capital letters that are the same (or nearly the same) height as the tvpeface's x-height. Some software programs automatically create their own small caps, but true small caps (with correct proportions and weight) are usually only found in expert typefaces.


The amount of unused space that exists between words, letters, and lines in text. Spacing provides a means to avoid overlapping shapes and letters in order to improve readability. Can be either fixed or proportional. In a fixed font, such as Courier, every character occupies the same amount of space. In a proportional font, such as Arial or Times New Roman(R), character width varies.


Facing pages; made up of an even-numbered page on the left (verso) and an odd-numbered page on the right (recto).


A finishing stroke like the ones on certain uppercase 'G's.

square serif

Originally designed at the beginning of the 19th century, these typefaces have squared-off serifs on the characters' end strokes. Also called 'slab serif' or "Egyptian."


The distance between the edge of the graphic and the graphic boundary. Determine how close text will flow.


The upright element of a letter or character.


Proofreader mark that means "let it stand": used to direct retention of (a word or passage previously ordered to be deleted or omitted from a manuscript or printer's proof) by annotating usually with the word 'stet'


The vertical, horizontal, or diagonal emphasis on the stroke of a letter.

stretched text

Widening text characters, not the spacing between the characters.


A set of formatting information applied to a paragraph that causes text to reformat according to the specifications of that style. (Not to be confused with typestyle.)

style sheet

The collection of all the styles used for one publication.


May be either a display line enlarging on the main headline, usually in smaller size or a short heading inside the copy used to break up long patches of gray.


The base or material on which communication is written (e.g. rock, clay, bark, paper, parchment, etc.)

swash capitals

Uppercase letters that have flourishes added to them. Originally designed to go with Italic typefaces.


(see tab stop)

tab marker

Small symbols on the ruler in word processing applications that can be placed at intervals along the ruler for tab stops. Tab stops locate the positions where the insertion point moves when the Tab key is depressed.

tab stop

A location that you set along the horizontal ruler where you want text to align.


A character's downward projection such as on the letter 'Q'.


(see kicker)


Not serifs but ends of certain letter shapes such as the letters 'f', 'j', 'y', 'r', and 'a'.


The main body of words or copy in any type of documents (also called body, copy, body copy)

text block

The amount of text confined within windowshade handles when selected with the pointer tool.

text box

A rectangular area on a dialog box where text can be typed.

text cursor

(see insertion point)

text face

Usually serifed fonts set in sizes from 9 to 12 points, these typefaces are easier to read in large sections than display faces. Some examples include Times and Goudy Oldstyle. Also called "bookface."

text wrap

in keyboarding text: automatic placement of a word on the following line when the entire word will not fit on the current line. In graphics: the PageMaker command for flowing text around a graphic, jumping over it, flowing through it, or jumping to the next column.

thin space

A space equal to one-fifth of an en space.

threaded text blocks

of text that are connected across the columns of a page and across pages from the beginning to the end of a story. Allows insertions or deletions without losing information.

track kerning

Adjusting the letterspacing for a block of text.


The overall letterspacing in text. Tracking can also be used to tighten or loosen a block of type. Some programs have automatic tracking options which can add or remove small increments of space between the characters. (See letterspacing.)

transient font

A font which stays in the printer's memory until the current document is finished being printed.


A typestyle which is characterized by moderate variations in stroke weight, smoothly-joined serifs, high contrast, and an almost vertical stress. First introduced in the late 18th century by John Baskerville.


An outline font format developed by Apple Computer (for use with System 7) and adopted by Microsoft Corporation (for use with versions of the Windows graphical user interface). These fonts can be used for both the screen display and printing, thereby eliminating the need to have two font files for each typeface


Printed or typewritten letters or characters. As early as AD 400, the Chinese printed entire pages of characters through the use of wooden blocks. Johann Gutenberg cast his metal type in the 15th century. The world’s first book printed in movable metal type is “Jikji Simche Yojeol” (“Jikji”) printed in 1377 at Heungdeoksa Temple in Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea. “Jikji” is the world’s oldest existing book made through metal movable type (78 years earlier than the “42-line Bible” printed by Gutenberg and 145 years earlier than “Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals” of China). "Apostol", the first printed book in Cyrillic was printed in 1564 by Ivan Fedorov and Peter Mstislavets in Moscow, in Printing House established by tzar Ivan IV Vasilyevich.

Type 1 PostScript font

Adobe's encrypted font format which may or may not contain hints. Faster to render, more compact in file space. and better aesthetically than Type 3 fonts, these are compatible with ATM.

Type 3 PostScript font

Sometimes referred to as user-defined fonts, these are non-encrypted fonts. Type 3 PostScript fonts can contain grayscale fills, complex characters, and stroked characters. ATM does not render Type 3 fonts on screen.


A set of characters that share common characteristics such as stroke width and the presence or absence of serifs. Type of a uniform design, often named after a designer, a typeface or "face" (e.g., Goudy Oldstyle) is an interpretation of a character set that shares a similar appearance and design. The character set includes letters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols. On computers. "typeface" is used interchangeably with the term "font," though they are not synonymous


Typography is the study and process of typefaces; how to select, size, arrange, and use them in general. In modern terms. typography includes computer display and output. Traditionally, typography was the use of metal types with raised letterforms that were inked and then pressed onto paper.


Variations within a typeface. Plain, bold, italic, underline, outline, and shadow are styles found in the Style menu for almost all applications used for creating text or graphic documents.

type manager program

A utility program that creates screen fonts from outline fonts, smoothing the appearance of larger font sizes.

type size

The measure of a type's height in points.; usually measured in points.


The Unicode encoding maps font characters to integer numbers from 32 to 65536. For example, the capital letter "A" has numeric code 65. The English Pound currency symbol has numeric code 8356. In theory, a font can contain up to sixty five thousands of different characters. The whole Unicode range (from 32 to 65536) is logically divided into shorter ranges of character codes. For example, "Currency Symbols" have numeric codes from 8352 to 8399, "Greek and Coptic" symbols have codes from 880 to 1023, "Cyrillic" characters have codes from 1024 to 1279.


A calligraphic typestyle that combines attributes of upper and lowercase letters, using large, rounded letterforms. Derived from "uncus," which in Latin means crooked. The half-uncial is another related typestyle; used especially in Greek and Latin manuscripts of the 4th to 8th centuries A.D., made with somewhat rounded separated capitals, but having cursive forms for some letters


The large, capital letters of a typeface. Once called "majuscules," these letters were stored in the upper section of the printer's typecase, hence the term "uppercase."


The left hand page on a spread.


Where the stems join at the lowest joint of a character.


The measurement of a stroke's width. Common names for weights include demibold, light, and bold. Some typeface families have several weights, including ultra-bold and extra-light. Refers to the heaviness of the stroke for a specific font, such as Light, Regular, Book, Demi, Heavy, Black, and Extra Bold.

widow line

A single word on a line of a paragraph at the bottom of a page or column.


Refers to whether the standard typeface has been extended or compressed horizontally. The common variations are Condensed, Normal, or Extended.

word processing program

A software application package that aids in creating, editing, and printing documents such as letters, memos, and reports.

word spacing

In a line of text, this is the amount of space between each word. It can be varied to adjust line length without affecting readability, unlike letterspacing.

word wrap

When a word in a line of text automatically moves to the next line as it approaches the right-hand margin of the text block.


(What You See Is What You Get) Refers to a relatively accurate screen representahon of the final printer output.


The height of those lowercase letters such as "x", which do not have ascenders or descenders. The lowercase 'x' is used for measurement since it usually sits squarely on the baseline.

x line

A line marking the top of those lowercase letters, such as "x", having no ascenders. The upper boundary of x-height.