What is high folio vs. low folio?

What is high folio vs. low folio?


High folio and low folio is a bindery term. Essentially, the bindery operators need to have a lip (sometimes referred to as a “lap”) on many of the folded pieces they deal with so the machines can grab the paper properly. That means the paper is actually folded off-center so one side of the sheet is slightly wider than the other (the ”lip” sticks out a bit).

To keep everything consistent in the bindery, printers will ask that all of the sheets for a job be imposed so the pages fall in sequence with the same lip dimension is running in the same direction. The “high folio” is the highest page number on that form, and the “low folio” is the lowest. These will always fall opposite each other on the sheet, so the printer may ask for 3/8” margin on the high folio and 1/8” margin on the low folio. That will give the bindery operators the “lip” they need to handle the sheets properly.

The actual dimensions and orientation of the “lip” may vary.

Stephen Beals is a digital pre-press manager and has been writing for major print publications for many years. He is the author of A Practical Primer for Painless Print Production. He can be reached at stephenbeals@mac.com.
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