Why proofread? To make sure your work is error-free. This is different to editing. Edit then proofread, never the other way around. The proofread is the final check before you publish something. Some of the advice remains the same for proofing as for editing.
Things to remember when proofreading:
- leave a night between writing and proofing – never proofread in the afternoon
- read it through first without trying to pick anything up – give yourself a break
- comb through for spelling and grammar
- the more you look through, the more you find
- get someone else to look through it, not the person who wrote it
- read it out loud
- read it slowly so you see what is there – not what you expect to see
- split any data and charts – check one, then the other, then any references in the text to the data
- check the format – extra line spaces, check how images sit in text, how the paragraphs sit
- do it somewhere you can concentrate – quiet rooms are ideal for this work
- ask your in-house editorial team to have a look through it
- use a print version if it is easier – you blink less when reading on screen so your eyes dry out
We are constantly improving based on research and best practice. Any significant changes to our guidance are available on the Updates page.