Checklist for a quick proofread
Many problems are fixed (or confirmed absent) by a quick proofread of a Word document.
- Save a copy of the file as received. Save another copy to edit.
- Turn off Tracked Changes.
- If preparing a final document, click Review > Accept▾ > Accept All Changes.
- Select all, click Review > Language > Set Proofing Language. Click to clear the
check box for “Do not check spelling and grammar” and click OK.
- Select all (Ctrl+A) and refresh (F9).
- Search for the word ‘error’ to find fields that failed to update.
- If preparing a draft, turn on Tracked Changes.
- If preparing a final document, click Review > Next to find comments to review and delete.
- Search for highlighting. Click Home > Find▾ > Advanced Find. Clear the Find What box.
Click More. Click Format > Highlight. Click Find Next.
- Confirm that the latest version of the data is in the document, such as
charts and tables copied from Excel. Confirm that any numbers in the
executive summary match the table or section being summarized.
- Immediately report a problem that might make the document undeliverable.
- Proofread the cover.
- Proofread the executive summary, even when there isn’t time to read the
entire document carefully.
- Proofread the headings. To find, click Home > Find▾ > Go To. Select Heading. Click Next.
Check the numbering, if numbered.
- Scroll through the document, looking at possible spelling and grammar mistakes marked by Word.
(Save your team’s common typos and add to Word’s exclusion dictionary, such as ‘exiting’ for ‘existing.’)
- Search for two spaces, which often finds places where text was pasted or
changed and needs to be proofread. Replace two spaces with one space.
If time, search for and correct hyphens, apostrophes, and quotation marks.
- Check cross-references and numbering. Search for words like table, figure,
chart, page, section, append, attach, and exhibit.
- Proofread the captions.
- Check the document properties, such as title, author, and company.
- Watch for long paragraphs. Read a long paragraph twice and split it, if an
acceptable break is obvious. Check how the change affects pagination.
- Zoom out and view multiple pages. Look for short pages, in case a hard
page break is out of place.
- Check images for placement, size, and distortion. Check for a figure caption.
To find images, click Home > Find▾ > Go To. Select Graphic and click Next.
Click Close. Use Ctrl+Page Up and Ctrl+Page Down to move to each image.
- Check the column width and alignment in tables. In general, text aligns left
and numbers align right. To find, click Home > Find▾ > Go To. Select Table.
- Double-click in the page header. Click Next and Previous to review every
section of the document. Review every footer. Check the page numbers.
- Open the Styles pane and look for unfamiliar styles, accidentally pasted in.
- Stop when time is up. Update the table of contents. Save the file. Move on
to the next step, such as sending a message about the file or making a PDF.
Copyright (C) 2020 Jay Martin.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
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