What is copy editing?

Copy editing involves examining the document for accuracy, consistency, conformity and completeness. It is important that your document clearly communicates your message to your target readership. It should also be clear, succinct and logically structured.

A copy edit includes:

Consistency editing

  • Ensure the document is consistent in terms of spelling and grammar; capitalisation, abbreviations, hyphenation and other punctuation; and specialist terms
  • Check references are consistent in layout
  • Ensure language and structural parallelism are consistent
  • Check the consistency of numbers and quantitative data; tables and figures; and captions
  • Check consistency of visual elements such as typography, page layout and heading hierarchy

Accuracy checking

  • Ensure the document is accurate in terms of dates, number form, quotations, concepts and hypertext links
  • Check accuracy of cross-references within text; between text and figures or tables; and between table of contents and headings

Conformity and completeness checking

  • Ensure in-text and bibliography references and quotations conform to the chosen style and are complete
  • Determine if a house style will be used and ensure all features conform to this style


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