Build your experience with this straightforward proofreading process


With so much demand for quality content, proofreading and editing courses are becoming increasingly popular.

Accredited online courses can support you in joining professional bodies in this area. These societies can help people to find work, especially for someone who is just starting out.

Success in proofreading, in particular, requires a careful, methodical approach. Importantly, proof readers should take their time; they shouldn’t rush and they must concentrate.

There are, however, pressures on proof readers, and it is important that a volume of work is completed with precision and accuracy within defined timescales. Hence, a proof reader must build up their speed, it can be likened to playing the piano.

A pianist will practice a piece of music and slowly build up to the required tempo. It is the same for a proof reader: they must build up their proofreading to eventually achieve the required rate of checking.

A good way to do this is to follow a repeatable process for any proofreading task.Accredited online courses can show you techniques for approaching proofreading tasks.

The first step, however, in our process is to understand the requirements of your client. Proof readers work to a style guide while backing this up with rules of grammar and punctuation.

A first question of a client would be if they have a preferred style guide and use of grammar.

Their instructions should then be followed. The Guardian Style guide is well recognised, and could be used if the client has no particular request or demand. For grammar and punctuation The Blue Book is a good source of rules that can be followed productively.

With your client’s brief you will likely be asked what sort of review they want on their documents. This could include a request for a copy edit as well as proofreading.

The proofreading specification may include details of font sizes, typeface and formatting requests. All these parameters for the document(s) will need to be checked as part of the proofreading.

Online proofreading courses can lead you through the requirements you must consider for a thorough proof read. Having got to this stage, you will then need to start an orderly proofreading and editing process.

A great distance learning courses could help you here. These courses will help you to follow a robust approach to reviewing documents.

The first step in proofreading is to have a look at the whole document to get a feel for its scope. During this review you should look for errors in formatting, font size and typefaces.

Headings should be consistent throughout. Changes in font size between paragraphs are easily missed. An overview of the document will encourage you to spot these errors.

The next step is to read one word at a time while checking it against the style guide. Any errors found should be marked up by correction symbols. You should accommodate a writer’s style.

See our proofreading courses