Category Archive: proofreading

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.


Get practice giving the kinds of editorial feedback required for visuals at each stage of the manuscript/ product development. Come hear Cheryl and Adrienne in person:

June 12 at the Editing Goes Global conference in Toronto



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

*For Windows users, use the ctrl key where you see cmd above.

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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