Copy Editing vs Proofreading – What’s The Difference?

When you’re creating a document such as an article, dissertation, book, or presentation, it is important to recognize the type of editing it requires before being ready to show to the world.

There are two main types of editing available through EditorNinja, and thus it’s important for you to know the difference so you receive the results you expect.

The two most common types of editing are:

  1. Copy Editing
  2. Proofreading

Here are the differences.

Copy Editing vs Proofreading

Copy editing occurs during the creation process. Before your document is ready for final proofreading review, you should have it read for correctness and clarity of argument. This is copy editing in a nutshell.

Most copy editing happens in draft form, such as in a Word or Google Doc (or similar depending on type of document, such as PPTX for a presentation). In-depth edits can be made and comments left for the author to return and make the edits to their own manuscript.

Proofreading occurs right at the end of the creation process. While copyediting is used during the creation process for correctness and clarity in a rough draft, proofreading happens when the document is in final form (such as a PDF) and primarily looks for errors like:

  • Formatting errors
  • End-of-line breaks
  • Widows and hanging words hyphenated at the end of lines

What do both copy editing and proofreading contain?

While copy editing and proofreading do differ, they also have similarities. The main differences are when it occurs in the creation process and the depth at which it looks at the subject and content.

Both copyediting and proofreading contain these as well:

  1. Consistency
  2. Cross-references
  3. Spelling
  4. Punctuation
  5. Capitalization
  6. Typos

Every document returned to you through EditorNinja will have been scanned for each of these.

Is a copy editor a proofreader?

Copy editors can be proofreaders, and often are when they are editing content. Copy editing looks at the more technical aspects of grammar, writing, and style while proofreading is more concerned with typos and correctness of spellings. Copy editors will usually proofread a document after all copy edits have been made and accepted.