Document editing is an essential part of any job that involves paperwork or writing. Marketers have to proofread their sales copy, lawyers edit contracts, and data analysts write reports. Most industries, professions, and areas of life involve document editing.
The question is, how can you be most effective and efficient in document editing? There are different tips and tricks you can learn that will help you improve your document editing skills.
This goes without saying. Document review software can take a load of document editing off your shoulders almost completely. It’s the best service you can do to yourself. Regardless of your profession, you’ll find that document editing is much faster when you’re using helpful software.
Document editing software can highlight all the details in the text that you need to pay attention to. It can also point out any possible mistakes and discrepancies. You can fix them with just one click! Additionally, the software is not prone to human error like we are, so you will get the most accurate results.
Skim the text
Before you get down and dirty, you should skim through the text you’re editing. This will give you a good idea of its structure. Many people skip this step and end up having to come back to the beginning and make changes to parts they’ve already edited. You don’t have to get into the meaning of every word, but try to get a feel of the text as a whole.
You will be able to see which headings are wrong, which parts are missing bullet points, and which paragraphs need indents. This extra step may seem like a waste of time, but it will actually save you time.
Divide and conquer
If the text you’re working with has graphs, tables, and other unusual groups of text, tackle them all at once. This way you won’t have to burden your brain with switching between regular text and tables. Get them out of the way all at once.
You can start with tables, though it might be best to leave them for last. The text will usually give you a good idea of the terminology used in the graphs and tables.
Focus on key information
People often make mistakes in things like numbers, addresses, names, and so on. It just so happens that these are some of the most important details that can make or break the document. Always make sure to proofread these details and check to see that they are indeed correct. A mistake in the address might not be apparent right away, but it can render the document useless once it’s discovered.
Print a hard copy
As you continue to read the same things over and over again, your eyes will get tired and your mind will inevitably slip into autopilot. You will exit editing mode and enter reading mode, which doesn’t require as much brainpower. You can prevent that by working with a hard copy of the document.
Print a hard copy and go through the document on paper first. Highlight everything that needs to be changed or confirmed. Once you’ve transferred that information to the digital document, you can make additional changes that you’ve missed on paper. Making corrections on paper tricks your brain into focusing on the task at hand and keeps you off autopilot.
Read out loud
Unfortunately, this step is not always possible, especially if you work in a busy office and don’t want to disturb your colleagues. However, if you get the chance, you should read the document out loud. Reading out loud will help you spot any mistakes in the flow of the text.
Such errors occur when you have more than one person working on one document. If the people don’t work together and don’t bother reading the parts written by others, the document won’t sound the same throughout. You can easily spot these inconsistencies in tone when you’re reading out loud.
Read it again
When you’re done proofreading and editing, go over the whole text again. You’d be surprised just how many things you could miss! It’s not your fault! Humans are not robots; we make mistakes and things go unnoticed. Don’t let that happen and do your due diligence.
By now you should know that reading over a document once, correcting the mistakes in grammar, and calling it a day is not an option for correct document editing. If you want to do your job well, you need to buckle down and take this task seriously, even though it might seem boring and tedious. Document review software can help you get a head start on your editing. With the use of Top Document Management Systems, you can avoid human error and significantly increase your speed of work.