Although formatting is not part of a traditional proofreading service, it is something that I offer. Formatting is to do with the appearance or display of your words on a page. It is also classed as the layout. The visual presentation of a text can have a big impact on the reader, so it is important for it to look professional.
What are some things that a proofreader can check with the layout?
For instance, the font type, size and colour should all be consistent. If a document has page numbers, these should be in the correct order. An important thing to check is spacing. It is so easy to introduce unnecessary spaces when typing, so a proofreader can go through the text and remove these. They can also make sure that the correct spacing between lines and paragraphs has been used. Have you used visual aids like images or charts? A proofreader can make sure these are presented consistently. They can also insert captions for them, creating a List of Figures if necessary.
How do you know what formatting to use?
Mostly, it is enough that documents are formatted consistently, with the same spacing and font throughout. However, if you are writing an academic piece or something you hope to be published, you may well have to adhere to a set style guide. This style guide will instruct you on what font and size to use, whether to align the text left, centre or right, what size margins to use and so on. This can be overwhelming, especially with a large document. Having a proofreader help you with this can be invaluable. A proofreader can go through the style guide requirements and make sure that your piece of writing adheres to it, making any necessary adjustments. It can be time-consuming, especially if you are unfamiliar with formatting. A trained proofreader can make the needed changes quickly and easily.
Formatting nowadays has been made all the easier by computer software. For instance, Microsoft Word has so many tools and shortcuts that are the proofreader’s best friend! At the click of a button, you can move text, apply headings, indent paragraphs and more. Even creating a Table of Contents, linking all the different sections, can be done in seconds. We are always looking for time-saving tricks. This is where computer programs are of immense help when it comes to writing, although nothing beats the good old-fashioned pen and paper for getting those creative juices flowing! If you need help improving the presentation of your document or sticking to a style guide, please contact me today. I would be happy to discuss what I can do for you and how to make your writing as professional as possible.