Five quick tips for better proofreading

Proofreading needn’t be a bother – my tips below will help you to spot the mistakes in your content

Proofreading is one of those skills that can take time to develop and improve. You can be the most talented, creative writer but still struggle to pick up those pesky typos. There will be times where you read a document again and again, and you still find typos that you missed on your first go.  Below are a few tips that I’ve picked up during my time as a writer.

  1. Proofread on paper. I always find so many more grammar and spelling mistakes when I print out the document I’m working on and proofread it on paper. I mark them up with my teacher’s red pen, return to my Word file and correct those suckers.
  2. If you must proofread on screen, proof big. My subbing teacher taught me this when I was studying to be a journalist. By zooming into the document you’re working on – and this is especially true for InDesign files – you are more likely to spot typos and other mistakes.
  3. Read your document aloud to yourself, slowly. You might feel silly doing this, but it’s another useful way of getting your brain to spot the mistakes that your eyes might otherwise miss if you were skim reading to yourself.  
  4. Don’t proofread when you’re tired. Life is busy and we all go to work tired sometimes, but your proofreading will be much more accurate if you start reading with a fresh pair of eyes.
  5. Proofread more than once. If time permits, try to proofread your document more than once. Even if you’re confident that you’ve done a really great job, a second look can’t hurt. And if you do find some mistakes you missed the first time don’t beat yourself up about it – you’re only human. Practice makes perfect. 

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