Proofread or copy-edit?

Proofread or Copy-edit?


Proofreading is usually suited to documents which have already been edited to some degree and only need a final check through for any errors or inconsistencies. It does not involve any major editing or making significant changes to the text.

A proofread may involve some or all of the following:

  • Checking spelling, punctuation and grammar, and correcting typos
  • Checking page numbers, table of contents, headings, footnotes, etc
  • Checking captions, figures and tables
  • Checking formatting and layout
  • Ensuring consistency in spellings and style


Copy-editing involves more than just checking for errors; a copy-edit will also address the style, content and overall structure of the text, and may involve making changes to improve the clarity of the writing.

A copy-edit may involve some or all of the following:

  • Correcting errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Ensuring text is suitable for the intended audience
  • Ensuring consistency in spellings, style and formatting
  • Implementing house style, if required
  • Improving the clarity of the text (e.g., by rephrasing, rearranging words and sentences, suggesting alternative words, or removing extraneous words or phrases)
  • Ensuring the structure of the work is logical and complete
  • Organising and checking figures, tables and captions, as well as page numbers, table of contents, headings, references, cross-references and footnotes, etc

I offer various levels of editing, from a light edit to more substantial rewriting, depending on your requirements.


For websites, I also ensure that content is optimised for SEO and is web-friendly, and that all links work and direct to the correct pages.

Find out more

If you are not sure whether you need your work proofread or copy-edited, or what level of editing you would like, please feel free to get in touch to discuss your project and requirements, or see my services page for more information.

You can also find out more about proofreading and copy-editing at the CIEP’s proofreading and copy-editing FAQs.