P roofreading is a final check of the document before printing. Proofs may be supplied as either hard copy or on-screen documents and show how the document will appear when printed. The proofs are compared, letter by letter, against the final, approved, version of the document that was sent to the typesetter or printer. Proofreading may also be done ‘blind’, meaning the proofreader does not see the copy edited manuscript.

Making changes to the typeset document at this late stage can be expensive and cause delays, so the focus is on finding errors that may have been missed during copy editing or accidentally introduced during typesetting or digital file conversion. If errors are found and corrections made, a further round of proofs may be needed before the document is ready for publication. A final verification check ensures that all parts of the document are present and complete, and all previous changes have been taken in.

During proofreading, the document is checked for errors in:

    • Order of chapters and sections
    • Material accidentally omitted or repeated
    • Table of contents
    • Headers and footers
    • Type styles and sizes
    • Headings
    • Page numbers
    • Line, page and section breaks
    • Special symbols
    • Quotes
    • Lists
    • Forms
    • Illustrations
    • Captions
    • Labels
    • Footnotes
    • References
    • Acknowledgements
    • Jacket and spine copy
    • Index