The Streamlined Approach to Personalized Communications

Glossary of Terms

MCR Terminology


1st number is number of colors on the front side of a document; second number is number of colors on the back of the document. For example 3/0 means 3 colors are used on the front of the document, 0 colors are used on the back.


Written communication between the client and MCR client stating that a particular piece in a mailing (envelope, pre-print, etc.) is correct and can be printed with no further changes.

Photos, graphics, colors (either Pantone or CMYK), logos, layout formats, or any other files or pieces that are part of the basic design of the mailing. These are best received in native or packaged InDesign file formats so that our design team can add crops, bleeds, adjust colors, or make edits to the original artwork.

Art Proof
After artwork is uploaded to the site by the client, the PM will have PDF artwork proofs generated by our design team. These proofs are then posted for the client’s review. We must receive clear approval (see “APPROVAL”) on each art proof posted to the site. These art proofs will list the size and colors in each piece. This step is to ensure all artwork matches the quote and that the artwork is print-ready.


“Business reply envelope”. A type of reply envelope. This version of the reply envelope has postage printed on it so the recipient does not need to affix a stamp. Use of a BRE requires a permit which can be applied for through the United States Postal Service.


Making customer data mail “friendly”; all data gets run through postal software that puts all addresses into the correct format, corrects spelling in addresses, adds 4 digit suffix to zip codes, and presorts the data by location to get the best possible postage rate. 

Cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow, black; makes up most colors on jobs either singularly or combinations thereof. This is typically used with full color digital printing in which the ink is layered on top of the paper to create the color.

“Courtesy reply envelope”. A type of reply envelope. This version of the reply envelope requires the recipient to affix a stamp before mailing back.


Any personalized information including names, addresses, IDs, solicitation codes, ask amounts, designation, etc. that is specific to an individual record. This information will be laser printed onto the pieces after the pre-print is complete in the final stage of production once the job is entirely approved. This data is to be sent to MCR in the form of a spreadsheet file with clearly labeled column headers.

Data Run
Jobs that are run quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily will have different ‘data runs’ for each mailing. Something that is Data Run 32 has been the same job in all aspects except for the data sent by the client which dictates who gets the mailing.

Refers to art versions. Sometimes called “mail streams.”

2 sided document, we’re printing front and back.


How our clients and partners feel when working with MCR to connect with their constituents. The feeling is mutual.

The files that are created once the data for your project is processed. Files can be found in "Reports" once you have logged in and accessed your project. Typical files include an NCOA report, addresses that have changed, undeliverable addresses, blank addresses, suppression files, and the Final Extract which is the final file used when sending the project.


Full color digital (aka digital laser print).

Final Extract
Excel file that shows exactly what’s getting mailed out (number of pieces, names, etc). Note: MCR provides this via secure web portal that must be accessed with a login.


John Q.
Non-specific/generic proofs using made-up recipient name/address; usually you will see “John Q. Sample”.


Laser Printing
Usually black getting printed on a pre-print document. This will include ALL variable information and, in some cases, static information. All content that is being laser printed can change as needed up until the point of approval/production.

Letter Text
This is usually the body of a letter or letter/reply form and comes to MCR in a Word document. There can be one or many different text versions depending on the segmentation provided by the client. When sending letter text, the client should send each version in a separate Word document and should provide signatures embedded in the text or as separate images for use by our programming team.

Live Data Proofs
Electronic versions of the final pieces that are going to production. These are the combination of any preprint, artwork, data and letter text that are part of the mailing. At this stage, edits may be made to data and letter text as needed. A suppression file may also be applied to the mailing before final approval for production.

The logo is the brand identifying for your organization. When submitting your logo or artwork containing a logo, please send it as a vector .eps file for the best results.


Mail Streams
Aka “drops”; when different documents have different art versions. Example: you have 1 main letter (can have different variables within), but 4 different letterheads depending on what is in each letter. These will get separated out on your working quote by names you create.


National Change of Address. This is a service typically provided for most projects. Addresses are reviewed for correct format and for new addresses of people who have registered new addresses with the post office. If the person has not updated their address with the post office, no new address will pull into the NCOA report and the sender will more than likely get a returned piece of mail. This information can be downloaded in Reports after your project data has been processed.


A number of “separate” jobs based on the pieces being inserted into the project.

Pantone / PMS
Highly specific color that is created using spot colors in offset printing. The ink is absorbed into the paper which creates a purer color.


Usually a letterhead with multiple colors, envelopes (inner and outer), or some insert pieces. After approval, this artwork cannot be moved, shifted, rearranged, or altered in any way. We do not include any letter text or variable data during this step.

Presort First Class
(Minimum 500 pieces) Mail is postal code sorted which allows for postal discounts. Delivery of mail is typically within one to five days and varies due to post office volumes.

Presort Non-Profit/Presort Standard
(Minimum 200 pieces) Mail is postal code sorted which allows for postal discounts and utilizes non-profit rates which reduces costs for approved charitable organizations. Delivery of mail is typically within one to fourteen days and varies due to post office volumes.

​​​​​​​When any piece of the mailing, after being approved by both the client and the MCR project manager, is printed, cut, folded, inserted, stamped, sealed, and trayed for the post office.

​​​​​​​PDFs generated by coding that pulls a selection of the longest/shortest names in the data file to show the client what final product will look like. The client can choose to make changes to the documents based on what they see on these proofs.

​​​​​​​Going through proofs to make sure names, addresses, appeal codes, etc (all variable data) are pulling into the finished documents correctly; making sure document format looks correct and nothing out of order.


Real Pen
Machines that use actual pens to add signatures, address blocks, or lines to pieces.


1 sided document, we’re only printing on one side of the piece.

Straight First Class
Postage that can be used on any project and is the full-price of postage. No discount is offered because mail is not presorted.

Suppression / Exclusion File
A list of names/addresses a customer wants removed from the final list of documents sent (usually an excel file). This may be due to a recent gift (since the original data file was compiled), removing a whole group of people, etc.


Upper / Lower
A service MCR offers in which we can turn data that’s in all caps to upper/lowercase letters.


White wove. Most popular paper type for envelopes. Ex: 24# WW (24 pound white wove envelope - most commonly used).