The final copy edit (sometimes called ‘proof read’)

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, proof read,  and either e-published or printed and published.

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. Some people refer to this task as ‘proof reading’ but editors call it ‘copy editing’.

The ‘final copy edit’ of applications, newsletters, reports etc. that are not intended for formal publication

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, or a report or article published in Word format (that does not need to be 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 (or proofreading) resumes and reports.

Final copy edit of publications (fiction or non-fiction 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 being designed are: manuscripts – fiction or non-fiction – for an e-publication or printed book;  as well as annual reports or other reports intended for public distribution.

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

  • carries out any editing tasks that have been missed or not yet completed, referring to the style sheet in conjunction with the relevant manuals/guides
  • corrects the many minor mistakes that will not have been corrected during the previous editing passes (e.g. punctuation, spelling) and the occasional grammatical errors that may have been missed in the line editing passes
  • corrects text/information that may not have been comprehensively edited by the line editor (e.g. the last information to be included in the document such as the publications information, appendices, index, table of contents)
  • completes one copy editing pass if this is sufficient; or if necessary completes one more copy editing task to ensure the document is error-free
  • confirms the document is error free and ready for the next stages: graphic design, then proofreading, then printing/e-publishing
  • 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.


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