As either an individual or an organization, nothing is more embarrassing than creating a document, be it a pamphlet, brochure, newsletter or notice, and sending it out only to then notice mistakes and errors. The key to preventing this from happening is through the proofreading process. Following the 5 proofreading tips listed in this article will help to ensure that your document is error free.
Review a hard copy. When preparing to proofread a document it is always best to utilize a printed version of the document rather than simply using the computer screen. When you print out the document you are able to see what the finished product will look like and are able to catch errors in formatting that may otherwise have been missed on the computer screen. In addition to this, the change in medium will cause you to focus in on the actual text since it is new to you in that format.
Read text aloud. When reviewing and reading the text silently, individuals tend to read quicker and will skim through sentences instead of reading individual words. However, when forced to read a document out loud most people slow down and read the content word for word. By doing this it will allow you to catch any mistakes that you may have passed over while reading silently.
Focus on one type of correction at a time. Looking for all types of mistakes as you go through may seem like it will save time, however, it also increases the likelihood that you will miss mistakes. By looking for one type of error or correction at a time, such as grammar, then punctuation, then spelling, it will allow you to focus on the task at hand and increases the chance of the mistake being caught.
Review it later. When preparing to proofread make sure that you have taken a break, at least a couple of hours, from the time the document was created to the time you review it. By doing this you will read what is actually on the page rather than what you intended to write down during the writing process.
Utilize another set of eyes. After you have taken the time to completely review the document you have created and cannot find any additional errors in your content, hand it off to someone else for them to review. Even though you may have followed the previous four steps you are more likely to miss instances where you have omitted a word or phrase because your mind tends to automatically read the text as you intended it to be written rather than how the content is actually written. Another individual will only be able to see exactly what is on the page and this allows for an objective review of the material. This objective view will provide feedback that the author would have otherwise missed.
Ultimately, proofreading documents is critical to ensure that a quality product is produced. In utilizing the five tips listed above the proofreading process for your document will be improved and will allow you to catch the mistakes prior to publication rather than after the fact, saving you time, money and embarrassment.