What is proofreading?

Proofreading is important.  In both the world of the written word, coherent and grammatically accurate work is essential.  Your work should be free from typing errors, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors because your clients might be put off by a document with errors.  It makes you look unprofessional; like you can't be bothered to check your own work and that makes your clients wonder about the rest of your business.  You may think that the occasional error is fine but what about the five errors on the next page and the ones in the page after that?

After material has been copy-edited, the publisher sends it to a designer or typesetter. Their work is then displayed or printed, and that is the proof that it is ready for publication. Proofreading is the final quality check and tidy-up.


A proofreader looks for consistency in usage and presentation, and accuracy in text, images and layout.

What does a proofreader do then?

A professional proofreader will:

  • Compare the proofs to the edited copy line by line or read 'blind'.

  • Check page numbers and page headings.

  • Check the table of contents against chapter titles, page numbers and end matter – appendices, index, etc.

  • Ensure consistent styles – of spellings and hyphenation particularly – by following a style guide, if supplied, or compiling their own.

  • Watch out for omissions and inconsistencies in typography, layout and content.

  • Identify necessary changes and mark the proof (on paper or screen) using or another agreed method.

  • Eliminate inelegant or confusing word, column and page breaks, including 'widows' and 'orphans' – short last or first lines of a paragraph at the top or the bottom of a page, respectively.

  • Ensure that illustrations, captions and labels correspond with each other and with the text.

  • Check that content looks right and is logically arranged.

  • Liaise with the author(s) to resolve queries or advise the client.

mistakes-1756958_1920 (1).jpg