I have edited a few pages during my time as an editor for a gaming magazine in New Zealand. I didn’t rely on online tools to make editing adjustments and corrections. A soft and hard copy may be different content, but they still need editing and proofreading. I did things the old fashioned way and edited hard copy documents with a red ballpoint pen. Does that mean that online tools aren’t good for editing? Not at all! The best way to edit anything is to use a combination of both.
Every editor will have a method that works best for them. It is also dependent on what you are editing and where you are in the editing process. Previously, I wrote about the differences between line editing and copyediting. This can apply to anything that you do. What is important is the process, the steps in that process, and the desired outcome. Are you editing a manuscript, soft copy for an online website, articles for a journal, pages for a magazine? You can’t paint each project or job you do with the same brush, but some techniques and tools overlap. One editor might say they never use online tools; another might say that they do as part of their process. Neither of these methods is incorrect. You need to find what’s right for you and develop your process.
If you like to work with the hard copy, that’s great! Some swear by this method. Some editors will say that you cannot substitute using hard copy during the process. You should consider this as a step for sure, but you should not rely on one thing to complete the editing process. I try to use a combination of hard copy, soft copy, and different tools to achieve this.
Part of my process involves some of these tools and methods:
You can use style manuals depending on your content. If you have an inhouse style manual, you should always refer to that first
Reading your content aloud is an excellent way to find errors, particularly grammatical. It is also an excellent method of finding the tone in your writing.
Get someone else to proofread your work. An excellent step before you publish anything
You should always expect to make mistakes. We are only human, after all, and you will miss something at some point. If you are okay with knowing this, you can begin the editing process with confidence.
*** Please note that the above steps are by no means an exhaustive list and there are many editing processes and steps used by editors worldwide that were omitted for the purpose of brevity***