Tips for Editing and Proofreading Documents Faster
Editing and proofreading is often a long and tedious task. Many writers find it difficult to focus on this non-creative part of the writing process. Learning ways to proofread documents faster and more effectively can help get this chore out of the way, while ensuring that your documents are free of embarrassing errors.
Read out loud
Reading your work out loud is one of the easiest ways to find errors without needing to make multiple editing passes. Reading out loud forces your brain to catch spelling errors it might otherwise miss, catch errors in punctuation and flag ungainly sentences. If a phrase or sentence sounds strange when read, it is a good indicator that you should rewrite it.
Focus on language or content, not both
Try not to proofread for content and for writing style at the same time. If you are busy thinking about what is getting said, you are unlikely to catch basic writing errors, and vice versa. In addition, trying to multitask this way is sure to slow down your editing. Instead, edit your content first, and then proofread for spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Consider using printed copies
The word-processing environment offers a huge number of distractions to grab your attention and slow down the proofreading process, from fonts and styles to where a page break falls. To speed up proofreading, print out your document, and work on it with red ink to take those distractions out of the picture. Make yourself go through the entire document before you make corrections on-screen.
Editing and proofreading are a necessity for personal writing, business documents and web content. Use these techniques to keep your focus and get through the process with a minimum of stress — and reap the rewards of well-written, professional content at the end.