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Desktop Publishing Terminology

Alignment     The consistent positioning of text, graphics, and other objects along invisible lines.

Baseline       The invisible line on which a line of type rests.

Body text     The text that forms the main body of a publication.

Clip art         A diverse range of pictures available is most word processing/ desktop publishing software that cover many styles, subjects, and themes that can be used in a publication.

Compactness          The density of text based on the number of characters in a given space.

Dingbat        A small graphic belonging to a picture font such as Wingdings.  Dingbats can be made bold, italicized, underlined, colored or resized just like text.  Also a printer’s typographical ornament.

Drop cap      An enlarged decorative capital letter at the beginning of a paragraph, chapter or publication.

Electronic form      An interactive form in a Web site filled out by readers and sent back to the Web site owner or stored on the Web server.

Font (type or typeface)    All the alphabet letters, numerals, punctuation marks, and symbols of one design. 

GIF    Graphic Interface Format.  A popular graphics format for online clip are and drawn graphics.

GIF, Animated        A series of GIF graphics that functions like a film loop, giving the appearance of movement (animation).

Greeking      Placeholder text made up of words such as lorem ipsum dolor sit and so forth (usually Latin).  In software, can be patterned lines that appear automatically when the characters are too small to read on the screen.

Home page   The first page readers encounter when opening a Web site.

JPEG  Joint Photographic Experts Group.  A graphics format suited for photographs with a continuous range of colors. 

Kerning        Adjustment of the spacing between two characters to make text fit a given space.

Logo   A distinctive symbol that identifies you, your business, or your organization.  It can combine a name, motto, and graphic.

Orphan         A single or partial word or a partial line of a paragraph appearing at the bottom of a page.

Point   A base unit of type measurement.  There are 72 points in an inch.

Pull quote      An excerpt from the body of a story used to emphasize an idea, draw readers’ attention, or generate interest.

Ragged         Uneven text alignment (the body text is not fully justified).

Resolution    The degree of clarity of graphics or text in print or on the screen.

Sans serif    A font without serifs (small finishing strokes).  T ( sans serif) versus T (serif).

Serif  A small finishing stroke on a letter T (serif) versus T ( sans serif).

Sidebar        A note alongside the main text that contains interesting or useful information.  A sidebar relates to but is not essential for understanding of the main text.

Tracking      Adjustment of the spacing between all characters in a  block of text to make the text fit a given space or to eliminate “rivers” of white space.

White space The areas of blank space on a page that can be used in a design for balance, contrast, and visual appeal.

Widow          A short line ending a paragraph, which appears at the top of a page.


Microsoft Publisher 98 Companion.  Microsoft Corporation.  1998.

This page was updated on:  04/10/02