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Setting of type for use in any of various printing processes. Type for printing, using woodblocks, was invented in China in the 11th century, and movable type using metal molds had appeared in Korea by the 13th century. It was reinvented in Europe in the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg. For much of its history, typesetting and printing were often performed by the same person, who arranged movable type, one character at a time, in rows corresponding to the individual lines in the publication and operated the hand press to imprint the image on paper. Typesetting was revolutionized in the 1880s with the invention of the hot-metal processes: Linotype (1884), in which the lines of type were assembled by use of a typewriter-like keyboard and each line was cast as a single slug of molten metal, and Monotype (1887), which also used a keyboard but cast each character separately. Photocompositionthe composition of text directly on film or photosensitive paper using a rotating drum or disk with cutout type characters through which light could be directed onto the receiving surfaceappeared in the early 20th century. By the late 20th century, computers and publishing software generated characters and handled most hyphenation, layout, and other page-makeup decisions, with the resulting electronic file, including any graphics, passed to a laser printer for paper or film reproduction.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on typesetting, visit Britannica.com.