Some people conflate proofreading and copyediting, but they are two different services. Proofreading is usually done as a last step before a document is distributed. The document should have been copyedited, and, ideally, it’s already been formatted and typeset.
While proofreading, I’ll look for typos, critical grammar issues, and misspellings. I won’t make major changes for clarity, conciseness, etc. like I would if I were copyediting the document.
If the document is print-ready, I’ll also check for formatting concerns, including
- alignment of text, tables, and graphics, including across pages and spreads
- consistency of margins, fonts, colors, and other visual elements
- text readability (for example, do the font colors contrast strongly enough with the background?)
- correct page numbering and section numbering
- correct list numbering
- consistent table of contents, list of figures, and list of tables
- do the heading, figure, and table titles match the titles in the body?
- do the page numbers match?
For PDF documents, I’ll annotate the needed changes using Adobe Acrobat Pro’s commenting and markup features. For other formats, I’ll use tracked changes1Some file formats, like PowerPoint and Google Slides, do not support change tracking. For those formats, I add comments noting the changes I made. and comments.
Ideally, the document will be in PDF, but I also offer this service for Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Overleaf (LaTeX), PowerPoint, and Google Sheets.
- 1Some file formats, like PowerPoint and Google Slides, do not support change tracking. For those formats, I add comments noting the changes I made.