Glossary of Printing Terms:
Variable Data

Dynamic data that is captured on a computer which changes and is specific for each person or situation.

When used in publishing, variable data is most often placed in designated cells to be combined with a pre-designed or static digital format.

It is then output as a digital or paper document which is personalized with information specific to the individual but surrounded by content that remains the same on all documents.

As an example, variable data is used to populate insurance policies and 401K accounts for employees.

The documents contain a base format of content about the organization or provider of the program and dynamic content or data pertaining to employee’’s benefits and program selections.

Digital presses linked to computer systems can receive variable data specific to each person.

The variable data is combined with the static data or base format of the document.

The format remains the same for each document while the variable data changes as it is delivered from the computer and sent into the press print engines where it is output to print with the base format of the doucment.

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