How Technology Has Changed Proofreading

by Davina on August 16, 2011

Are proofreaders’ marks old-fashioned?

You may have seen these symbols commonly used by editors or proofreaders. The following image was taken from The Chicago Manual of Style Online.

Editors and proofreaders have always used these symbols (or variations of them) while marking up proofs and manuscripts. With the explosion of online marketing and social media, self-published ebooks, blogs, websites and sales pages are prevalent. The nature of proofreading has evolved as a result of this new medium, thanks to the Internet and software such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat.

Online proofreading made easy

For my home-based editing business, 99% of markup is done on the computer. If a client sends a copy deck as a Microsoft Word file, the track changes feature allows me to make all the edits electronically. There is no need to use proofreading symbols as the revisions are inserted directly into the file.

Adobe Acrobat Pro is used to mark up documents that are already in layout. If you own Acrobat Pro you have the ability to mark up layouts right on your computer. These marked-up PDFs can be emailed to your client and shared with the appropriate team members. Again, the typical proofreaders’ marks are not used when marking up a PDF, such as in the example provided below. Click the image for a larger view.

As much as I appreciate the ease of electronic markup with Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, I miss using “old-fashioned” proofreaders’ marks. They’re a language all their own.

I guess proofreaders’ marks aren’t really that old-fashioned though. For the most part, they’re just not necessary these days. We’ve certainly come a long way from the days of typewriter correction tape and whiteout, haven’t we? I wonder what’s next…?

What software has made the most difference in your business?

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