Copyediting is a meticulous and detailed review of a whole document, whether it is the manuscript of a book or an advertising brochure. The aim is to increase its ‘readability’ and clarity, and to communicate its content effectively.

It is difficult to ‘see’ your own writing objectively, particularly if you have been working on it for a while. Quite obvious errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling, as well as discrepancies in the layout and typography, are easily overlooked. These small mistakes can appear unprofessional and detract from the credibility of any written document apart from annoying the reader.

A copyeditor also concentrates on the use of words and language. It is important that the chosen style—language, headings, layout, typography—is consistent throughout the document.

A copyeditor can check facts and ensure that the whole document is presented correctly in every detail, from referencing to online hyperlinks.

Proofreading is usually done at the final stages of preparing written material after it has been copyedited and before it goes to print. The document is checked for any mistakes or corrections that may have been missed previously or inadvertently introduced after it was copyedited.