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Photographical analog method for text composition / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Phototypesetting is a method of setting type. It uses photography to make columns of type on a scroll of photographic paper.[1][2] It has been made obsolete by the popularity of the personal computer and desktop publishing (digital typesetting).

The first phototypesetters quickly project light through a film negative of an individual character in a font, then through a lens that magnifies or reduces the size of the character onto photographic paper or film, which is collected on a spool in a light-proof canister. The paper or film is then fed into a processor, a machine that pulls the paper or film strip through two or three baths of chemicals, from which it emerges ready for paste-up or film make-up. Later phototypesetting machines used other methods, such as displaying a digitised character on a CRT screen.

Phototypesetting offered numerous advantages over metal type, including the lack of need to keep heavy metal type and matrices in stock, the ability to use a much wider range of fonts and graphics and to print them at any desired size, and faster page layout setting.