The final copy edit

The final copy edit of a report or manuscript intended for publication is the final stage of correcting the document prior to it being designed.

The ‘final copy edit’ of a document that is not intended for publication – for example, a report, policy, resume, article or minutes of a meeting – is the final stage of correcting the document prior to it being used or distributed.

Note: some people refer to the ‘final copy edit’ as ‘proof reading’.

The ‘final copy edit’ of applications, newsletters, reports etc. that are not intended to be professionally designed

This is the last stage of correcting the document prior to it being used or distributed; for example, a policy to be used in-house, a resume to be sent to a potential employer, or a report or article intended to be published in Word format (that is, it is not intended to be professionally designed).

Assuming the document has already been self-edited and is ready for the final copy edit, the editor corrects any grammatical, spelling or punctuation mistakes that have been missed during the self-editing stage. For more information, go to: Copy editing resumes and reports.

Final copy edit of publications (books, reports)

A document that is going to be designed and published needs a ‘final copy edit’ before being designed, proof read and published.

Examples of documents that need a final copy edit prior to graphic design are: manuscripts intended to be published as an e-publication or printed book;  annual reports; or other reports intended for publication.

Assuming the document/manuscript has already been through one or more editing passes (see rough copy editing) and brought to the level where it is ready for the final copy edit (or the final editing pass), the copy editor:

  • carries out any editing tasks that have not yet been completed, referring to the style sheet in conjunction with the relevant manual/guide,
  • corrects the minor mistakes that will not have been corrected during the previous editing passes (e.g. errors in punctuation, spelling) and the occasional grammatical errors that may have been missed in the previous editing pass/es,
  • corrects errors that may have been missed during the previous editing pass/es; for example, sometimes the front and end matter have not been edited to the level of the rest of the content; noting that, all editors being human, there will be errors here and there in the text that have been missed,
  • if the previous editing stages have not been carried out correctly, that is, if there are many errors to be corrected or if major errors need to be corrected during the final copy edit, the editor may need to complete not the usual one final copy editing pass, but two final copy editing passes,
  • after completing the final copy edit, confirms the document is error-free and ready for the next stage of graphic design.
  • For more information about editing and proofreading publications, go to: Self-editing your manuscript;  The different stages of editing;  Proofreading publications;   Proofreading the final proof.

Image: Pixabay – Creative Commons licence (no attribution required)

Proofread by Dee Sansom, On Time Typing, Editing and Proofreading.


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