Category Archive: proofreading

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.

Get a printable Checklist for Editing Captions here.

Tweet about this printable checklist.


Link to my Canadian, Eh? column on

caption checklist


Spoiler: the fish are anchovies. Jenny, the photographer, was kind enough to point out that this is correctly described in her caption and that the photo title just reflects a saying familiar to her. I hope she forgives me for using a writer’s “device” that suggests she made an error. Her photos are stunning, and I want to stay on her good side.


Photo by Jenny Downing used under CC BY-2.0 license.


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Jun 17

Stamps: Acrobat Tips for Proofreader’s Markup of PDFs

In my first post of the “marking up PDFs” series, I showed the many uses of stamps in Acrobat.stamp icon Adobe Acrobat Reader XI

Setting favourite stamps makes them available in above the other categories when you click the stamp icon.

Watch this screencast to learn how to make a custom (proofreader’s) stamp and how to import stamps into the free Adobe (Acrobat) Reader XI. (Tweet this.)


PDF editing mark-up in Adobe Acrobat series:

Basic PDF Mark-up for Copy Editors and Proofreaders

Key Mark-up Techniques for Proofreading PDFs

Edit Tools for Marking up PDFs

Create a Checklist of Your PDF Mark-up in 2 Clicks


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Jun 12

Mark up Title Corrections for Video Using PDF

Anything you can take a screen shot of can be marked up as a PDF. Here is a quick demo showing how to mark up corrections to titles (or captions) in a video. It uses the free Adobe Reader XI software.

Steps are written out below.


Steps to create a PDF from a screen shot

  1. Launch the video / program or whatever.
  2. Pause the playback at the right moment.
  3. Take a screen shot (see tips below).
  4. Create PDF by opening the screen shot in your preferred viewer or pasting it into a Word document, then selecting “Save as PDF” or “print to PDF.”
  5. Open the PDF in Adobe Reader XI. (Make sure it opens in the program, and not within a web browser window.)


Ways to take a screen shot

  • [Mac] ⌘ + shift + 4 — drag crosshairs around selection to copy
  • [Mac] ⌘ + shift + 4, release, then spacebar — click on window to copy whole thing
  • [iPad, iPhone] home button + power button — saves screen image to photo album
  • [PC] No idea. Google it.



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Apr 10

5 tips for editing your own work

photo of magnified eyeFive brain hacks for tricking yourself into seeing text with fresh eyes are covered in this episode, an adaptation of Adrienne’s post on While originally written for editors, these tips can help writers editing their own writing too; they are ways to trick your eyes into seeing what is actually there rather than what your mind thinks should be there.

Press play below or subscribe to have this sent automatically to your podcatcher/ iTunes, or right-click to download the file. 6:35 min

Follow this link to instructions for subscribing to this podcast.


What do you do to see the words anew? Leave your comments below, or join the discussion over on the Dameditors Facebook page.


Mentioned in this episode:

Original post: 5 Ways to Refocus Your Editing Eye

First and second episodes: Error Rates in Editing: What’s Your Save Percentage? and How many errors trigger a book reprint? (Spoilers: data shows 95% is the best humanly possible and, secondly, precious few.)





Link to my Canadian, Eh? column on


The image for this episode is by chrisbb, used under CC BY 2.0 license.


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Mar 26

Simperial weights — converting units of measure in Canada

bathroom scale

62 kg or 62,369 g

Though I’d much rather announce “I weigh 70 kg,” metric hasn’t entirely stuck in Canada. We use a simperial system that I’ve been writing about lately. An editor adapting a text needs to know when pounds should be used instead of kilograms. Converting weights, today on the blog.

And yes, I do weigh more than the guy who took this photo, Daniel Oines, used under CC BY 2.0 license.

copyediting contributor badge


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Feb 18

Customize page numbers on a PDF using Adobe Acrobat 9, X, or XI

Acrobat page # customizationWhen your file doesn’t start on page 1, it is helpful to have the PDF show you the absolute page numbering, not the relative page number in that file. It’s particularly helpful for indexing and other page-number-sensitive markup that editors do.

Here’s one way to do it. (A video showing X and XI follows.)

You need the full Acrobat program to customize the page numbering on a PDF.

  • In Acrobat Pro 9, the setting is under Advanced > Document Processing > Number Pages.
  • In Acrobat Pro XI, open the Pages Thumbnails pane and right-click on one of the page thumbnails, or click the Options icon at the top of the pane (it looks like a bullet list). Select Number Pages… from the menu that pops up.

Acrobat Pro9 page # setting

Type the number of the first page in the “Start:” field.Acrobat Pro9 page # setting box


In the X and XI versions, it works as in this video tutorial.

In the Windows version of Acrobat, look under View > Page Navigation > Page menu item. On Windows, this shortcut is “Ctrl + Shift + N”; on Mac OS, it is “Cmd + Shift + N”. According to


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Jan 28

Checklists: saving your bacon and bringing it home too (podcast)

preflight Dave Wright reviews pre-flight checklist prior to take-off NASAChecklists are the focus of this episode, in which I expand on one of my posts from explaining how checklists save your life every day, and how they can make your editing more accurate, efficient, and profitable.

Plus, another small glimpse behind the editing curtain wherein I have edited a book that made me cry — in a good way.

Press play below or go to Soundcloud to listen or download. 9 min Read the rest of this entry »


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