Off Press Proofing System Certification
In 1999, SWOP introduced a certification procedure and accompanying
Certification Mark for off-press proofing systems.
Systems certified under that program are listed on this
website as legacy and current SWOP Certified
In 2005, SWOP celebrated its 30 year anniversary.
Over the years, SWOP has been a major
factor in the success of the Publication Printing
Industry in the United States . This has been a result of a combination of attainable
goals, dedicated people driving the process and an
industry that is willing to improve itself. The SWOP
Specifications are for the use of all those involved in
the production of publications - including the
advertiser, publisher, printer, advertising agency and
prepress service supplier.
While SWOP proofing remains a gold standard in our
industry, new digital workflows and recent advances in
printing and proofing technologies require a radical
update in the SWOP Specifications.
The vast majority of those producing proofs today
do so using brighter, non-SWOP paper stocks.
And the industry now demands tighter tolerances
and greater assurance of a close visual match from proof
to printed publication.
working within the technical infrastructure of its
parent, IDEAlliance, has responded to this
When SWOP merged with IDEAlliance in 2005, plans were set to
aggressively modernize the SWOP specifications to meet
new demands of the industry for improving proofing
quality and the proof to press match.
By 2006, SWOP approved a second proofing stock,
the #3 stock typified by Fortune Gloss.
In addition the committee ratified the use of the
IDEAlliance G7™ Proof-to-Press Process for calibrating
both proofing systems and presses to facilitate a close
visual match between the two. In the summer of 2006, the
IDEAlliance Print Properties Working Group conducted a
series of web press runs, on behalf of SWOP, using G7
techniques to develop a realistic characterization of
The new characterization datasets that were
developed as a result of these web press runs were
recently balloted as ANSI/CGATS TR003 and TR005.
These datasets, along with a new dataset for the
GRACoL #1 sheet for commercial publishing now known as
TR006, were used as the basis for launching a new “to
the numbers” proofing systems certification program.
Prior to this, the SWOP Certification program combined a
numeric evaluation of proofs produced on a sheetfed
offset press based on target TVI values along with a
human evaluation of visual similarity of candidate
proofs to the reference offset proof.
The new hard copy proofing certification program
no longer relied on visual evaluation.
Instead proofs are now measured and judged “to
the numbers” of the characterization datasets developed
from press runs.
The new program was launched in the fall of 2006 and
today over 60 hard copy systems have been certified to
the tight tolerance of an average 1.5 dE.
These systems, along with their Application Data
Sheets (ADS) can be located in an online database found
The next challenge for SWOP was to address the
industry shift to virtual proofing workflows. In
April 2008, SWOP announced the first monitor proofing
systems to be certified under their new "to the Numbers"
program. The challenges of developing a “to the
numbers” program for monitor proofing systems were huge.
The ISO 12646 Specification for monitor
evaluation was used as a basis for the program.
Procedures were intentionally designed to be
close to the procedures for hard copy proofing system
certification where ever technically possible.
Between December 2007 and March 2008, 30 monitor
proofing systems underwent the new certification
systems, along with their Application Data Sheets (ADS)
can be located in an online database found at