10 tips to improve your proofreading skills
Don't fall foul of predictive text! Proof your content.
The best way to ensure that you always publish quality content is by improving your proofreading skills. Here are 10 tips to do just that:
1. Do not rely on spelling and grammar checkers: Often we rely on software to catch our mistakes. These programs can be really helpful, but they still aren’t as advanced as a set of human eyes. Always proofread your document even if the spelling and grammar checks don’t highlight any errors.
2. Use formatting to your advantage: Proofreading is much easier when the formatting of a document is reader-friendly. Proofreading short paragraphs, numbered lists, and bullet points is far easier than reading a large block of text. When creating your document always consider readability.
3. Choose font wisely: Some fonts are simply easier to read than others. The same goes for font sizing. Make sure to use fonts like Verdana, Georgia, or Arial and font points of 12pt or higher.
4. Wait awhile before proofreading: If you just wrote your document, you will read your intention and not catch mistakes. The best thing to do after you complete a piece of content is to walk away for a couple of hours or days before proofreading it.
5. Print it out: Proofreading on paper is much easier than proofreading on a screen. Our eyes are much more likely to catch mistakes. Always print a copy before publishing.
6. Use a line guide: A line guide can be anything from a ruler to a spare piece of paper. You will slide it down the paper as you read line by line. Segmenting your document line by line with a line guide helps you focus on each sentence and not get distracted by the block of text.
7. Review content slowly: Many times we are up against deadlines, so we’ll just do a quick proof. However, rushing the proofreading process leaves you open for errors. Take a beat and read your document slowly.
8. Read the copy aloud: Reading copy aloud helps you hear how it flows. You can catch dropped words or awkward grammar much easier when you hear it. It may be a little awkward at the office, but you will catch more mistakes when you read aloud.
9. Recognize patterns in your mistakes: We all make mistakes and often times, we make the same mistakes. When proofreading, keep a running list of mistakes that you make often. Perhaps there’s a common word you always misspell or you use the possessive instead of the contraction. If you know what your common mistakes are, not only will you be able to catch them easier, you’ll be able to work on correcting them.
10. Utilise find and replace: Find and replace can be a great tool when proofreading a document (ACES Editors). You can use it to find common errors like double spaces, double periods, or simply search all apostrophes. This will help you clean up some of the small things your eyes may miss.
Another option is to hire a proofreader like ALHAUS. If you are under a crunch or have a large body of work to proof, we can help. Our content managers offer a variety of proofreading services to ensure you only publish high-quality content. Contact us today to learn more!