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Active Member
Andrea P Member Since: Mar 8, 2019
1 of 5

Hey all--proofreading question!


When I receive a client's file to proofread, should I directly edit the document they send, and send it back with all the edits? Or create a copy and edit the copy?


Also, should I somehow make a note of all the edits I've made, either by highlighting or bolding them? Or just send it without any special attention drawn to my edits?


Thanks so much!



Active Member
Nicholas D Member Since: Mar 8, 2019
2 of 5

Hi Andrea - I would suggest making the edits in Microsoft Word and using the "Track Changes" tool in the Review tab. Then any change you make is highlighted as you change it. When done, PDF the file with the edits (or "redlines") and then accept all the changes, save in word. When you email back the client, include the PDF redline document and the clean word document. That's how the lawyers do it.

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
3 of 5

Yes, use Track Changes. You may need to discuss with your client what they mean by proofreading (many of them mean at least copy editing), and whether they want you to approve your own changes or submit them for approval.

Community Leader
Bettye U Member Since: Mar 6, 2016
4 of 5

Agreed about using track changes, but will add that you definitely want to make sure you are not performing editing for proofreading pay. Many clients think these mean the same thing...they're not. Proofreading is making corrections (to punctuation, fixing typos, word choices (formerly/formally), consistency of names, removing repetitions (the the), etc. Editing is a whole lot more involved and thus rates higher pay. The manuscript should already be edited by the time it gets proofread, which is the last step before publication. I already had it out with one client who got annoyed when I wouldn't perform edits on a manuscript she hired me to proofread, after I pointed out its issues...had to have her feedback removed. 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
5 of 5

For much of today's proofing and editing work, there is no actual "going to press," let alone typesetting, both of which long determined the course of production steps in publishing. It is not surprising that authors, and even online publishers, are misinformed or careless in their conflation of proofreading with copy editing. This is a compelling reason to insist on examining the text to be proofed/edited before accepting a job or a rate. One can then respond with something like: I know you were looking for a proofreader, but your manuscript requires, at a minimum, copy editing before meeting publication standards. That is a separate process and skill for which I charge...