Proofreading is one of, if not the most important step in the development of a written communication. A misuse of a word or an unfortunate typo can completely change a viewer’s takeaway of the message or the overall perception of the represented organization or program. As such, steps should be taken to ensure appropriate time and resources are applied to proofing any and all communication. In the Communications division, all materials are reviewed by three separate proofreaders, none of which are the original writer/designer.
The following is a checklist of areas to review when proofreading a document:
- Review sentences for consistent verb tense, subject-verb agreement, fragments and run-ons
- Review words for appropriate usage, spelling and capitalization
- Review punctuation including appropriate use of commas, apostrophes and quotation marks (ensure quotations have quotation marks at the start and end of the quoted section)
- Ensure use of citations and references as appropriate and within a consistent format
- Ensure correct logos are being utilized
- Ensure consistency in program names (spelling, capitalization) and associated acronyms (never introduce an acronym without its full name being noted first)
- Ensure all materials include the required equal opportunity statement
- Test all websites, emails, QR codes and phone numbers to ensure accuracy
- Review consistency in font size and color across all headlines, subheads and copy blocks
- Ensure all photos used have the appropriate releases/licensing rights available
- Double-check any dates and times listed to ensure accuracy
- Double-check that the calendar date and the day of the week associated with the calendar date are correct
- Double-check the spelling of people’s names and formal titles
Be sure to have proofreaders review the document as many times as needed to get to a clean document.