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Above the fold – Definition

July 19, 2012

Above the fold” is a graphic design concept that refers to the location of an important news story or a visually appealing photograph on the upper half of the front page of a newspaper, or in case of webpages, the part of a page that’s visible without scrolling. Most papers are delivered and displayed to customers folded up, meaning that only the top half of the front page is visible. Thus, an item that is “above the fold” may be one that the editors feel will entice people to buy the paper. Alternatively, it reflects a decision, on the part of the editors, that the article is one of the day’s most important. By extension, the space above the fold is also preferred by advertisers, since it is the most prominent and visible even when the newspaper is on stands.

The term can be used more generally to refer to anything that is prominently displayed or of highest priority.

This term has been extended and used in web development to refer the portions of a webpage that can be visible without scrolling. However, some have suggested that this term is vague as screen sizes vary greatly between users, especially in an era where websites are viewed with mobile devices as much as home computers.


Some Web marketers have called this above the scroll or “above the crease”, referring to the way in which newspapers are folded and creased.

Newspaper stories that appear below the fold are said to be located “under the fold.”[citation needed]

Internet search query results appear much in the same way. Many web site optimization efforts may be exerted in an attempt gain the highest “search indexing” or “ranking” placement (as close to first place as possible) for directed term(s) or phrase(s). Using natural or “organic” web site optimization practices has been the standard operating procedure for attaining higher indexing with the end result being the web site appearing in the view area or “above the fold” of the search results pages and especially the first page.

Infrequently used in reference to resume and CV (curriculum vitae) layout, where the most crucial and relevant (to the job sought) information must be in the top third, alternately called the “hot zone”, to catch the attention of the reader. Since most applicants file credentials electronically, and applications are no longer folded in thirds to fit in an envelope, the advice remains, even though the means of distribution has changed.

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