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When reproducing the darkest areas of an image, an upper limit is placed on the possible sum of tint values of all device colorants. Total ink limit is also referred to as TAC or "total area coverage". The purpose of the total ink limit is to prevent excessive ink buildup in dark areas that do not trap (stick) or dry properly and cause smearing or other artifacts. Typical values range from 260 percent for coldset web printing on newsprint, to 400 percent for ink jet printing devices on high-quality substrates.

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