The die spotting process is closely related to pressing. This is particularly notable during the mezzotint process, where a blank copperplate is roughened with a toothed scraper to form a grid of recesses that absorb the colour. Parts of the workpiece that should be brighter or stay white are accentuated by scraping and polishing.
Testing the evenness of a planed surface (e.g. a marking plate) is possible by applying ink with a spotting press and then taking it off with a straightedge. After doing so, the raised areas will be blank, while the recesses will be darker than their surroundings. This method is particularly suitable for testing and optimising tools that are made out of two or more matching components. These are, for example, tools used for deep drawing, injection moulding and spark eroding.
The die spotting press was developed so that the processing techniques undertaken by these tools do not have to be done on the specific machine tool required for production. Over time, the die spotting process has become a manufacturing process, as machines have evolved to fit more specific requirements. One such development has made it possible for a die spotting machine to turn the upper part of the tool by 90 or 180 degrees after the pressing process so that the coloured surface can be better accessed.