M – ‘Mac’ to ‘M weight’

This dictionary covers graphic design, prepress and print terminology
Click a letter to see more layout, printing and binding terms of this glossary



Abbreviation for Magenta, one of the colors used in full-color printing.

MAC address

Abbreviation for Media Access Control: unique address (number) build into each network interface card. It is sometimes referred to as the hardware or physical address. It can be found in either the properties of the network card or by typing ‘ipconfig /all’ in the command window of Windows. The Ethernet connection in my system has MAC address 00-20-18-2B-BA-43.

machine coated

Paper that has had a coating applied to either one or two of its sides during the papermaking process.

machine direction

An alternate term for grain direction.

machine finish

A paper finish that results from the interaction of the paper with the Fourdrinier process as opposed to post machine embossing.


Any number of keyboard characters that have been programmed and assigned to a single key. When the programmed key is pressed, all of the characters that were programmed and stored in the macro are played back, or executed exactly as if each character key in the macro were entered again.


The reddish color that is part of the CMYK colors that are used in 4-color printing. The color is named after a small Italian town, west of Milan, in which Napoleon III won a battle over the Austrians in 1859. To celebrate this victory, the French named the color that had been invented that same year after the city.

magnetic black

Black pigments containing black iron oxides, used for magnetic ink character recognition.


Synonym for uppercase or for a capital letter.


– All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup.
– Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.


Abbreviation for Metropolitan Area Network – a network that stretches across an entire city.

Manutius, Aldus

Late 15th-century scholar and printed who designed the Bembo and Cloister Italic typefaces. His portrait appeared on many boxes of Aldus software.


The blank space bordering the printed area on a page.


The marking of typesetting specifications or instructions on layout and copy for the typesetter to follow, including point size, typeface, style, alignment, leading, line length, etc. Also spelled as mark-up or mark up.


– The credit box in a newspaper or periodical that lists the publication name,  editors, writers, designers, illustrators, photographers, and others, as well as the publication office address, subscription, and advertising information, etc.
– The title of a newspaper or periodical as it appears on the front cover, or title page of each issue. It is also called the nameplate.


A photographic proof made from all color flats and form composite proof showing color quality as well as accuracy, layout, and imposition before plates are made.

matte finish

A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring.


abbreviation for MegaByte or MegaBit – a lowercase b should indicate megabit, but not everybody sticks to this convention. A megabyte equals 1048576 bytes.


The width of type as measured in picas.


A term used to describe finished artwork that is camera ready for reproduction, including all type, photos, illustrations, etc


Heidelberg’s version of a chain screen


A list of program demands and functions displayed on a computer’s monitor screen.

menu styling

In most layout programs, there are two ways to access the font ‘Times Italic.’ The first way is to select a block of text, and assign it to the font ‘Times Italic.’ The second way, known as ‘menu styling,’ is to assign the block of text to the font ‘Times’ and then assign it the characteristic ‘Italic.’ In general, using menu styling is considered bad practice.


Data about data: metadata provides additional data about electronic files. These can include how the file was created (e.g. the type of digital camera or layout application), the creation date, the name of the author, copyright restrictions, the intended use,…


The way in which two color samples can look the same in one lighting condition but different in another lighting condition. It can also refer to a single color sample that changes color under different lighting conditions.


– A fine art etching process that produces a ‘burred’ surface
– A line conversion of a photo that imitates a mezzotint effect.
– A special halftone screen with a grainy look.


The appearance of density variation between adjacent scan lines in an otherwise uniform pattern.


Microprinting is an anti-counterfeiting technique in which very small text is added to the artwork.

Microsoft Tag

A 2D barcode that is used for adding web links or other types of information to a printed page or a web page. The technology is somewhat similar to QR codes.

midtone dot

The area between highlight and shadow area of a subject’s face in halftone image.


colors or gray levels of intermediate value (the range from 25% to 75% value).

MIRC ink

‘Magnetic’ ink, ink with iron particles that can be magnetized, used for check printing.


– Abbreviation for Management of Information Services – the designation for the field of computer solutions internal to an organization.
– Abbreviation for Management Information System -a computer application or set of applications used for managing processing processes, such as costing, stock control or production control.


Abbreviation for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions – MIME is a standard that allows the embedding of arbitrary documents and other binary data of known types (images, sound, video, and so on) into e-mail handled by ordinary Internet electronic mail interchange protocols.

mini web

Type of web press that is used to print brochures, newsletters, and other products whose flat trim size is typically 11 by 17 inch. Mini Webs use rolls that are 11 to 14 inches wide.


Synonym for lowercase or for a lowercase letter.


Symbolic names or letter combinations that permit that one set of codes to represent a more complex, longer set or string of codes.


A repetitive interference pattern. In printing, it can be caused by interference between the dot patterns of the different colors or by interference between a pattern in the data being printed and the screened dots. In scanning, moiré can be caused by interference between the grid of the scanner CCDs and patterns in the original that is being scanned.


A cotton fabric used on the dampening rollers of a printing press.

molybdate orange

An ink pigment made from precipitating lead molybdate, lead sulfate and lead chromate.


Having or being of one color. Having a single wavelength. Laser beams have a narrow frequency range that is very nearly monochromatic.


Letterspacing that is the same for all characters regardless of their shape or width. Courier is an example of a monospaced font.


A single image made up of photographs or drawings.


Sound that the dogcow makes


Spotty or uneven ink absorption.


Abbreviation for Motion Pictures Experts Group: data compression standard for motion video and audio


Coarse muslin glue placed on the back of book or pads for strengthening.

mullen testing

A specific test of tensile paper strength; an important factor if web presses are used for printing.

Multiple Master typefaces

Multiple Master fonts are a special kind of Type 1 fonts capable of producing a continuous range of type designs. In effect, a multiple master font is a whole family of type – where all the “in-between” typefaces are available to the font user. MM fonts have from 1 to 4 design axes, most often weight (from light to bold), width (from condensed to expanded) and optical size (from 6 pt to display). This site has a page dedicated to the Multiple Master font format.


A device capable of taking a single communication channel and dividing it among several different signals.


The execution of more than one program at a time on a computer system.

M weight

The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

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