Copy Editing: The Nitty, Gritty, Checklist.

25 11 2012

Copy editing is more than just commas and semicolons. If you want to copy edit like a professional, go through the list below. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart. πŸ™‚

Readability

  1. Sentences are clear, direct, and concise.
  2. Repetition is used effectively.
  3. Parallel structure is used effectively.

Style

  1. Heads, lists, and sentences have parallel construction.
  2. Headings follow hierarchy guidelines.
  3. Voice and tone are consistent.

Transitions

  • Text is easy to follow.
  • Information is complete and appropriately placed.
  • Transitions between parts, chapters, and sections are clear.
  • Transitions are effective on screen and on paper.
  • Cross-references are correct, worthwhile, and sufficient.

Grammar

  • Sentences are complete.
  • Subjects and verbs, and pronouns and antecedents agree.
  • Verb tense is consistent.
  • Modifiers are used appropriately.
  • Word choice and sentence structure follow guidelines for localization.
  • Long sentences are divided for readability and localization.

Punctuation, Capitalization, and Spelling

  • Punctuation follows editorial and documentation set guidelines.
  • Capitalization is consistent and follows editorial and documentation set guidelines.
  • Spelling is consistent and follows editorial and documentation set guidelines.

Mechanics

  • Typeface conventions are followed in all book elements.
  • Product names are used correctly and consistently.
  • Trademarks are used correctly.
  • New terms are defined and appear in a glossary, if there is one.
  • Abbreviations and acronyms follow editorial and localization guidelines.
  • Numbers and symbols follow editorial and localization guidelines.
  • Cross-references are punctuated correctly and refer to the intended target.
  • Numbered lists and steps are used appropriately and are numbered correctly.
  • Figures and tables are referred to in preceding text.
  • Table continuations are noted correctly.
  • Notes, Cautions, and Warnings are used correctly.
  • Jump tables are used correctly.
  • Footnotes are used correctly.
  • Running footers and page numbers are correct.

Formatting and Layout

  • Book conforms to company publications standards.
  • Standard templates and formats are used.
  • Page breaks and line breaks are effective.

Graphics

  • Graphics are consistent throughout the book.
  • Illustrations follow artwork and localization guidelines.
  • Figure callouts are capitalized correctly and are in the correct font.

Front Matter

  • Title page has correct title, part number, and revision number.
  • Credits page is current and trademarks (including third-party trademarks) are listed.
  • Table of contents includes correct heads and is formatted correctly.
  • Figures and tables are listed in the table of contents.
  • The preface uses the correct template and contains correct chapter numbers, titles, and descriptions.
  • The typographical conventions section within the preface is current.
  • Page numbers at the bottom of the pages are correct.

Back Matter

  • Appendixes are in the correct order.
  • Templates and formats are used correctly in appendixes and glossaries.
  • Bibliography is presented correctly.
  • Glossary terms are alphabetized, appropriate for audience, and defined clearly.
  • Index is complete, double-posted effectively, and formatted correctly.
  • Page numbers are correct.

Whew! If you want a professional copy editor to polish your book or article email Carolyn Elias at carolyn@charleshenryediting.com.

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2 responses

4 12 2012
Tom Slaiter

I really enjoyed this post, some great explanations which are clearly layed out. Good job πŸ™‚

4 12 2012
charleshenryediting

Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. πŸ™‚

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