Category Archive: proofreading

Jun 14

Transmittal Notes

When you submit an edited file, include a transmittal note. What to say in that note is the topic of my How To post today on the Copyediting blog.

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colourful paper clips

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Apr 28

Customize Page Numbers on a PDF using Acrobat DC

When 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. Such customization is particularly helpful for indexing and other page-number-sensitive markup that editors do. If the PDF is the final product (such as an ebook), renumbering is also a service to readers.

Here’s one way to do it (in pictures):

  1. Open the pages panel on the left side. Right click a page to open the menu shown, then click Page Labels.thumbnails menu, Acrobat DC
  2. Enter the page number you want it to start at in the last field (shown). Note that you can renumber all pages, from the start, or just a few pages. Pages can also be numbered in Roman or Arabic numerals, or labelled alphabetically. You can even add a chapter prefix.renumbering pages dialog, Acrobat DC
  3. See the renumbered pages in the bar across the top of the window, and in the numbering below the thumbnails.

renumbered PDF pages example, Acrobat DC


*You need the full Acrobat program to customize the page numbering on a PDF. The Reader version does not have this function.

See this earlier post for instructions on using Acrobat 9, X, or XI to customize PDF page numbers.

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Apr 18

Defending Your Edits

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Having to answer to an untrained critic is one of the most ire-inducing things an editor can be asked to do. Today, in my column at, I talk about how to not defend your edits.

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boxer with fighting face


Photo by Gabriel Delgado, used under CC BY-2.0 license.

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Jan 27

Open PDFs in Their Own Windows, Not Tabs in Acrobat DC

There are two ways to open PDFs in their own windows in Adobe Acrobat DC: the New Window option or setting the default in Preferences. This 1 minute demo video shows you how.
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This works in either the free Reader or Pro versions.

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Jan 25

What Is Proofreading?

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What proofreading is and isn’t, and when it happens to words within the production cycle — today, in my How To column at Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 01

What to Do with an Edited PDF

So you got the changes back from the author and editor, now what do you do with the marked-up PDF? In this lightning-speed tip session you’ll see how to use the built-in tools of Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader DC to find each and every change that was marked, and use a simple trick for quality assurance.

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The MagPi magazine used in this demo is used under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license. All markup is fictitious and does not constitute a comment on the content.

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Oct 19

How to Tell a Proofread from a Copyedit

Tweet this post.When your magic eight-ball isn’t handy, follow these steps to figure out what is wanted when you’re asked to “look this over”: proofread, copyedit, line edit, or something more substantive. Today, in my How To column at Read the rest of this entry »

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Apr 21

Editing Visual Components

Visuals aren’t just those pretty things that push the words aside. Graphs, charts, diagrams, photos, and other illustrations help readers make sense of complex ideas. They help the reader orient to the text, and address visual and spacial learners that might be left behind by words alone.

Editors at various stages of manuscript development and quality assurance must comment on the visual elements of the product. Below you will find checklists of things that should be checked and flagged at each stage, and resources for learning more about effective visual communication.

illustration of man laying water tiles over a desert

These resources are presented in answer to Professional Editorial Standards requirement C5: that editors “Recognize when graphic elements must be edited to clearly and effectively convey the intended meaning,” with recommendations made by my colleagues in both editorial and design. Specific hat tips appear at the bottom.


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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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