Adhesive Binding

Glue (hot melt or water based) is applied along the backbone or spine edges of assembled, printed sheets. The book or magazine cover is then applied directly over the still tacky adhesive. Alternative term is perfect binding.


Collating individual printed sheets or signatures in a complete set with the pages in proper sequence or alignment. Assembling takes place before binding. Alternative terms are collating, gathering and inserting.


Term for the exposed part of a bound volume when shelved. Also called spine and shelf back.

Back Edge

In bookbinding, this is a term to refer to the left-hand edge of a recto or the right hand edge of a verso. This is normally the binding edge.

Back Fold

The fold along the backs of sections through which they are sewn, stapled, glued, or otherwise fastened to each other is called a back fold.


Term meaning to fasten printed sheets or signatures with wire, thread, glue or other means.


The finishing department of a print shop or a separate company that specializes in finishing printed products such as collating, folding, trimming, and binding. Also term for all work with press sheets other than the actual printing including cutting, jogging (the process of handling press sheets to form a neater, more even stack of sheets), collating, folding, and stitching.


The process of fastening or binding the pages of a printed piece or publication in the proper order and usually with a protective cover. Many binding methods exist that can be chosen for the type of publication and/or the type of handling it will receive.

Binding Edge

Term indicating the edge of a group of sheets or pages where binding occurs.

Blind Folio

This is a blank page in a book that has no page number printed on it. Generally in book publishing, blank pages are not numbered.

Book Block

Term used for folded signatures that have been gathered, sewn and trimmed but not yet covered.

Book Paper

Paper that is suitable for books, catalogs, magazines, advertising and general printing needs. It is divided into uncoated paper (usually offset paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper, gloss paper, and slick paper), and text paper.


A pamphlet bound in booklet form.


In bookbinding, the case is the cover of a hard-bound book.

Case Bind

To bind by gluing signatures to a case made of binder’s board covered with fabric, plastic, or leather, yielding hard cover books. Also called Hard Bind and Edition Bind.

Center Spread

Reference term for the two center pages of a signature.

Cleat Bind

This is an alternate term for side stitch binding. This process of binding is done by stapling through sheets along one edge, as compared to saddle stitch.


A finishing term used for gathering or organizing printed sheets in a specified, precise order.

Collating Marks

In printing, these are a set of numbered symbols printed on the folded edge of press signatures to indicate the proper collating or gathering sequence.

Comb Binding

A type of mechanical binding in which a flexible plastic comb device holds the pages together. It is alternatively known as GBC® Bind (General Binding Corporation’s brand name) and plastic comb bind. The plastic combs are durable and available in a variety of colors. Each comb is a plastic strip that has a series of curved plastic teeth extending from it. The teeth are inserted into drilled or punched rectangular holes along the binding edge of the pages.

For example, a standard 11-inch sheet would have 19 rectangular holes punched along the 11-inch edge. This method allows the addition or removal of pages from the book and enables the book to lie flat when it is open; however it cannot be completely folded back over on itself as in spiral and double Wire-O®.

Books up to 1 ⅞ inches thick can be comb bound. Book titles or descriptions can be printed on the spine of the plastic comb, so the book can be identified when stored.

Corner Marks

These are the lines on a mechanical, negative, plate, or press sheet showing the corners of a page or finished piece.

Crop Marks

These are printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.


This is the process of printing across the gutter or from one page to the facing page of a publication.

Cut Flush

The cover is trimmed after binding so that its edges are even with the edges of the leaves.

Cover Paper

This is a heavy printing paper used to cover books, make presentation folders, etc.

Depth (of a book)

This is the measurement of the book at its thickest point, including the covers.


Term meaning to bore holes in paper to allow sheets to fit over posts of loose-leaf binders.

Edition Bind

This is an alternate term for case bind.


This is the edge of a bound publication opposite the spine, which is also known as foredge. It is also an abbreviation for typeface referring to a family of a general style.

Flush Cover

Term also known as cut flush. It refers to a book cover trimmed to the same size as inside text pages, as compared to overhang cover.


This is a bend in any flexible material, such as paper, that is made by turning a sheet over upon itself, such as to fold a sheet in half. The fold along the backs of sections through which they are sewn, stapled, glued, or otherwise fastened to each other is called a back fold.

Fold Dummy

This is a sample mock-up that shows page sequence, signature arrangement, orientation, binding edge and side edges.

Fold Marks

Indication of printed markings showing where folds are to be placed, usually located at the top edges.


A piece of bindery equipment used to fold printed flat sheets into folded products. It is also a device at the end of the press or collator that is used to fanfold continuous forms.


The operation of bending a printed sheet in a specific area, so the sheet can be formed into a signature, pamphlet, brochure, booklet, map, or any other type of product requiring this process.


This is a page larger than trim size that is folded one or more times to fit into a book or magazine. Examples are maps and charts. A common folding format for this is gatefold and another term is pullout.

Fold Resistance

The ability of paper to withstand multiple folds before breaking.


A sheet folded once to make two leaves or four pages. It is also the printing term for pagination, which is the system of numbering pages. Folio can also refer to the actual page number in a publication.


Term is also spelled as forme, which means each side of a signature. It is additionally known as the assembly of pages and other images for a single plate on a press. When printed and folded, the form is called a signature.


Term referring to details of a printed piece, including the size, style, shape, type, page, margins, layout, printing requirements, and organization of the finished project.

Gatefold or Gate Fold

Both edges of an oversize page are folded in parallel toward the gutter in overlapping layers to produce a center spread.


Term meaning to assemble signatures, next to each other, in the proper sequence for binding.


These are signatures of a book that have been assembled next to each other in the proper sequence for binding. This is different from nested in which signatures are assembled inside one another. Another term for gathered is “stacked.”

GBC® Binding

General Binding Corporation’s trade name for plastic comb binding, a type of mechanical binding in which the teeth of a flexible plastic comb material are inserted through rectangular holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. See comb binding and plastic comb binding.

Grind Edge

This is an alternate term for the binding edge of perfect bound books. Its name comes from the portion of the spine of the gathered signatures or sheets that is abraded or “ground off” to facilitate and optimize adhesion between the binding adhesive and paper.


In perfect binding, this is a term for the approximately ⅛-inch (3mm) along the spine that is abraded or “ground off” the gathered signatures or sheets before applying the binding adhesive.


In books, this is the channel and combined marginal (blank) space formed from the two inner or back margins of facing pages.

Gutter Margin

Term referring to the margin space available along the binding edge.

Hard Bind

This is an alternate term for case bind.


This is the top of a page or book, film, photo, etc.

Head Margin

This is the white space above the first line of a page.

Height (of a book)

This is the vertical dimension of a book as it sits upright on its tail.

High Folio

Term referring to all pages falling behind the centerspread of a form.


Term referring to the arrangement of pages on mechanicals or press sheets, which when sheets are printed on both sides, folded, trimmed, and bound, will put the pages in the correct sequence.


Excess paper located on the high or low folio (folded sheet) used for binding and saddle stitching. Laps usually carries signature identification (ID) markings.

Lap Glue

Lap glue is a generic term to describe hot melt adhesive or cold glue which is applied in the perfect binding process inside the front and back cover, near the spine, to produce a hinge effect on the covers.

Loop Stitch

Term meaning to saddle stitch with staples that also have loops to slip over rings of binders. This allows a booklet to be saddle stitched and inserted into a loose-leaf binder without drilling or punching holes in the paper.

Low Folio

Term referring to all pages falling in front of the center spread of a form.


This is a single sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page. When folding, a leaf refers to each flap or section of a folded sheet of paper (for example a sheet folded once has two leaves).

Leaf Attachment

This is the means by which leaves of a text block are attached one to another along the binding edge.


These are the pages of a book.

Loose Leaf Book Binding

This is a mechanical binding method allowing insertion and removal of pages in a binder. The book’s loose leaf pages are fastened together by means of inserting the binder’s metal rings or poles into drilled or punched holes along the binding edge of the pages.


These are the blank spaces around the edges of a page outside the printed or written matter. The four margins on a typical book page are commonly called: 1) top or head margin; 2) bottom, tail, or lower margin; 3) fore edge, outer or outside margin; and 4) back, inner, inside, or gutter margin. Margins (unprinted areas) also occur between columns of print like those found in a newspaper or magazine.

Mechanical Bind

Term meaning to fasten pre-trimmed sheets using metal or plastic attachments inserted through punched or drilled holes in paper or any other technique not requiring gluing, sewing or stitching. Common metal/plastic fasteners include combs, spiral coils, ring binders and posts. Examples using the mechanical book binding process include GBC®, spiral wire, double Wire-O®/twin loop and plasticoil.


This is a term for signatures assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding. It differs from gathered signatures in which signatures are stacked next to each other in the proper sequence for binding. It is also called inset.

Notch Binding

The gouging of grooves (commonly ¼ -inch wide) in the spine of a book block in preparation for adhesive during the perfect binding process. These notches help improve durability and binding of the innermost pages.


This is a term for a book, booklet or catalog in which the bound spine is on the shorter dimension.

Overhang Cover

This is when a book cover that is larger than the pages it encloses.

Page Count

This is the total number of pages, including blanks and printed pages without numbers, which a publication contains. Also called extent.

Pages per inch (PPI)

This is the measurement of number of pages per inch of thickness of a bound publication. Each leaf or sheet of paper has two pages because they are printed on front and back.


This is an abbreviation for pages per inch.


This is the term for one side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Proof

A proof of type and graphics as they will appear on the finished page complete with elements such as headings, rules and folios.


The process of assembling type with other line copy and dividing text blocks and other page elements to create pages. If done by hand, it is called makeup or paste-up. If done electronically, it is called computer aided pagination (CAP). In the book arena, it also refers to the numbering of pages.

Paper Dummy

This is an unprinted sample of a proposed printed piece that uses the specified paper for the job and has been trimmed, folded and, if required, bound.


A book with a flexible paper cover that is typically adhesive bound.

Perfect Binding

A type of binding where after the printed signatures or individual sheets have been collated, the back of the binding edge or spine is ground down or roughed up, coated with a fast-drying glue to hold the pages together and then affixed to a flexible cover and trimmed to size.

Velo Binding

A type of tamper-proof binding that uses a rigid plastic spine with durable plastic tines that are fed through small punched holes on the page edge and melted to the back spine. It is also known as strip binding. This binding method is popular for government documents, legal briefs, business proposals, financial reports, and other sensitive documents.