Category Archive: proofreading

Feb 18

Even the Lorem Ipsum Needs Proofreading

Tweet this post.Today, in my How To column at, Greeked text so garbled that even Cicero would roll in his grave:

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Feb 04

It’s about More Than –our, Eh? Canadian Spelling Update

Tweet this post.Author of the latest guide to Canadian spelling, Elizabeth d’Anjou, talks to me today about what she found out when researching the related chapter for the about-to-be-released (online only) Editing Canadian English. We talked about a lot more spelling issues that I could cover in a single post, so watch for more in future Canadian, Eh? columns at

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Dec 03

8 Ways a Ruler Rocks Editing

Tweet this quote.close up on numbers 789 on a clear rulerHow do you use a ruler when editing? I list 8 uses for rulers at (not of) the editing desk, today in my Canadian, Eh? column at

Link to my Canadian, Eh? column on


Photo by Theilr, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license. 

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Nov 20

QA Trick for File Names

I just discovered something so simple and effective that my jaw literally dropped. To proof file names (or create a list for transmittal):Tweet this post.


  1. Open your file browser (Finder or My Documents)
  2. Select all files (? + a)
  3. Copy using ? + c (ctrl + c for Windows users)
  4. Open a blank text file. Word will do.
  5. Paste using ? + v

screen capture of files selected in finder and pasted in Word

Presto. Now you have access to all of your usual copy editing tools. Run your macros, your spellcheck, your consistency checker. Just remember to turn on Track Changes so you can transcribe those fixes to the file names themselves.

Make the spellchecker work on the final word by ditching all the file extensions (.jpg, .doc, etc.). Just search for the file extension (with preceding period) and replace with nothing.


Why this Helps

Some products I edit are electronic. The files I transmit are the final ones that will be burned to a disk (old-school) or uploaded to a content management system (CMS). File names are as important as chapter titles. My check caught some transposed letters (typos). Win!


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Nov 13

A Colour Hack to Sharpen Your Editing Eyes

photo of printed text viewed through a blue ruler and a yellow rulerChanging the background colour of your document can trick your brain into seeing the words in a whole new way. People with reading disabilities (such as dyslexia) have had great success with this hack. To change the colour, you can use

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  • a sheet of coloured acetate
  • coloured glasses
  • background colour of the onscreen doc
  • a coloured ruler

How a Ruler Can Trick Your Brain

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Nov 06

Shortcut to Rotate Pages in a PDF

Those sideways PDF pages? Rotate in a click. Note that this rotates all pages in the PDF, and only temporarily. Just rotate them back when you’re done marking up the page.
graphic of keyboard shortcut to rotate a PDF page: command shift plus for clockwise and command shift minus for counterclockwise


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Oct 15

Proofreader’s Marks

headline marked up with some proofreaders' symbols

Tweet this quote.Proofreaders mark up printers’ proofs with symbols to indicate corrections that need to be made. The are by no means standard. A look at what Canadians use, today, in my Canadian, Eh? column at

Link to my Canadian, Eh? column on


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Jul 28

How to Edit the VIP and Keep Your Job

funny close-up photo of a girl pouting, by Dan Foy used under CC BY-2.0 license

How to edit the VIP and keep your job. (Tweet this) Tips for treading lightly, today in my How To column at to my columns on


Photo by Dan Foy used under CC BY-2.0 license.

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Jul 21

How to Find Out What a Character Is in Word

Screen Shot of Word 11's reveal character formatting Mac


Need to get more than this from Word? Wondering what character that really is in your Word document? Has the writer used the proper degree symbol (°) or some hack like superscripting a lowercase o (o)? Today I present two macros to help you in my How To column at


Links from the post:


Link to my columns on (Tweet this post by @scieditor)


Check these recent related posts:


Thanks to the anonymous commenter who asked this question on last week’s post about finding non-printing characters. It was an excellent prompt regarding a very useful thing for us technical editors to know.

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Jun 25

Checklist for Editing Captions

closeup photo of 3 mackerel fish


Captions are a weak link in the quality assurance chain, being something most people skim or skip while reviewing a document. This makes checking captions an easy way to earn your keep as a copy editor or proofreader. Today, in my Canadian, Eh? column at, get a QA checklist for editing captions.Tweet about this printable checklist.

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