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Five tips for editing onscreen

Five tips for editing onscreen

By Josephine Salverda |

Whether you’re new to editing or have twenty years of experience, you’ll notice that more and more editorial jobs are done electronically instead of on hard copy. Here are five tips to help you jump those technical hurdles.

1. Shortcuts are your friend. Checking for curly quote marks in Word? Search for ^39 to locate those pesky straight ones. Need to replace line breaks with section break symbols? Find the blank lines using ^p^p. Making sure your spaced ellipses don’t break across the line? Replace all with non-breaking spaces using .^s.^s.

2. Edit silently when you can. Changing all quote marks from double to single? You probably don’t need a record of each case – find and replace all with Track Changes switched off. Document got cluttered by adding a new style template with Track Changes on? Unselect all options except ‘Formatting’ under ‘Markup Options’ and then accept all changes shown. Only the edits will remain.

3. Let Word do the work for you. Accidentally accepted all changes and saved the file? Or do you prefer editing your novel directly in the text? As long as you’ve saved a separate version of the original somewhere, make use of the handy ‘Compare documents’ option to create a new file with all of your changes marked up. Magic!

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4. Split your identity. If you’re proofreading a PDF in Adobe Acrobat, you can easily filter all comments by the name of the user. So if you want to separate out typesetting corrections from editorial ones, just change your username for specific comments or before you begin.

5. Keep an eye out for resources developed by other editors. If you’re wedded to traditional mark-up symbols, or your client uses them but you prefer to proofread onscreen, set yourself up with these brilliant electronic proofreading stamps. And don’t forget to share the tricks that work for you!

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