by Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp — all-in-one help authoring tool
Proofreading is an essential part of document creation. It is as important as writing itself. Sometimes, proofreading is even more time consuming than writing =) Let’s see how to make this process easier and more effective.
Have a Rest
It is a bad idea to proofread your text immediately after writing and editing. Of course, if you have deadlines, you have no way out. But if you have enough time, go back to the text tomorrow or in a couple of days. Our brain is very tricky. When working on the same text for quite a long time, we start overlooking the things that are right here. As our brain already knows every sentence, we are not attentive enough. That may become a big problem.
Ask Another Person
As a rule, if a person is unfamiliar with the text, they find mistakes and typos very quickly. That is the funniest thing about proofreading. When you do not trust yourself, ask someone else to do it for you. At the same time, that is a great opportunity to check if your text is clear. It is not always obvious that something might be vague in your text.
Yes, use spellcheckers. Some of the services not only check spelling and grammar but also give comments on the style and word choice. I do not recommend to fully trust spellcheckers and rely on them only, but they can help you correct minor things. Why not =)
Change the Text
For better concentration, change something in your text: typeface, size, spacing, break it into smaller parts. You can even print your text to be able to use a pencil to leave comments. These changes are small, but they may be quite effective. That is a trick to make our brain perceive the familiar text as a new one. Dealing with a new text, our brain is much more attentive =)
Use Steps to Proofread
Sometimes we are not able to check everything at a time: spelling, grammar, style, punctuation, etc. When you are searching for several things, the chances are high that you will overlook something. You can divide the proofreading process into smaller steps: first, check spelling, then grammar, etc. You can use another model: first articles, then prepositions, after that verbs, etc. Or a model like that: capitalization, spacing, subject-verb agreement, quotes, etc. It is up to you what steps to use. In some cases, this division is the most effective.
Headings Require Special Attention
We often skip them thinking that they are perfectly correct. Make sure that capitalization, spelling, and grammar are ok=) Moreover, make sure your headings are suitable for the text — they should be informative and clear.
Conclusion: Proofreading is important, but do not try to correct everything. That is impossible. No one is perfect, even the most skillful writers make mistakes. Enjoy writing =)
Have a nice day!
Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors