Checklist for Self-Editors: Beyond the Basics


There are countless articles and checklists on the internet about the basics of editing and proofreading. However, there are many other parts of a document that can be easily overlooked but are equally important. If you do not know how to move beyond the basics, continue reading  for some suggestions on what to look for while editing.

Read Out Loud

Reading out loud is the most efficient way to catch your mistakes. It is easy to silently read what you think you wrote, instead of what you actually wrote. Reading out loud ensures that you are reading what is truly written on the page. Also, feel free to print out your work. Like reading out loud, printing your work prevents your eyes from skimming mindlessly over the page. Since you most likely are used to reading on your computer, reading out loud or reading a printed document will disrupt your old habits and help your brain pay more attention to the task at hand.

Tiny Details

As important as it is to thoroughly edit the main text of your document, small text like captions or notes can go unnoticed. Make sure that the font style and size are consistent, as well as the formatting (for example, line up all your notes the same way).

Some Tips for Editing Presentations

For work that will be presented on PowerPoint or similar mediums, select “presenter mode.” This mode shows you how your work will look when you are presenting it. You may notice small formatting or grammatical errors that didn’t stand out when you were editing before.

Last Steps That Make Your Hard Work Count

Make sure your file is uploaded on One Drive before you meet with your team members or before you send your work to the intended recipient. You want your changes to be saved in case you need to revisit the document or send it to several people. If you really want to make sure that your document is correctly saved, send a copy to your email or download a copy on your browser.


All of these tips cover elements of a document that are often disregarded but make a big difference. Editing is more than correcting simple grammar – it encapsulates all parts of the writing process, from initial readthroughs to last steps. Following these guidelines will ensure that your editing is thorough and goes beyond the basics.