Can you help me get a better understanding of what "halftone value" means, please?

I tried looking up idioms, looked at the dictionary, and a lot of other tools. I am not a native English speaker.

The context is: 'Background printing or colour washing should have a maximum halftone value of 15%. Full ink coverage on the reverse can also cause bad toner adhesion.'

The last part with coverage on the reverse I understand.

Thank you!

  • Hello super, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! Apr 15, 2015 at 15:07
  • 1
    It sounds like this is a request from a printer? If so, you need to ask the printer.
    – DA01
    Apr 15, 2015 at 15:10
  • My interpretation is no ink should be above 15% for the background. But as DA01 points out.. ask the printer.
    – Scott
    Apr 15, 2015 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


Halftone value images "simulate" a full-area coloring with the help of tiny dots of variable size which the observer's eye cannot discriminate anymore from a certain distance. This is the way newspapers, magazines and posters etc. are usually printed. Just take a close-up look at one of those, maybe even with magnifying glasses, and you'll see the dots.

Now, if the instructions are: "Maximum halftone value of 15%", then to me, that would mean that in any area of the image you want to print, no more than 15% of the paper should be covered by toner. That means that e.g. in an area of 10 x 10 millimeters, the dots' covered area cannot exceed 15 mm^2, that's approximately 15 dots with radius 0.3 mm, or approx. 5 dots of 1 mm radius. How this can be achieved, depends on the technology you're using. It will depend on how large the interval between dots will be (= the number of dots per inch, DPI) and what minimum and maximum size they can have with that printer. What "blackness" or color coverage you can achieve with this limitation, also depends on from how far you are going to look at the image.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.