by C.K. MacLeod
PerfectIt Pro, a popular copyediting and proofreading tool, has been updated to include new and improved features. Many excellent features—such as the style sheet builder—remain, but new features add even more value to this proofreading favourite.
In this post, I describe a few features that I think will be helpful for editors and proofreaders — and authors interested in learning how to at least partially automate some editing tasks.
A New Look
PerfectIt Pro 3 (P3) is designed to work with Microsoft Word — the tool of choice for professional editors and proofreaders. When you install P3, you’ll notice it has its own tab in Microsoft Word:
That’s nice because many of P3’s features are no longer buried — they’re laid out in Word’s ribbon for the user to see. P3 is wide and deep, and the new tab goes a long way toward encouraging the exploration of features you might otherwise not notice.
P3 has added new “tests” that you can run on a document in order to check for inconsistencies. Below is a screen capture of P3’s tests. The new tests are circled in pink.
Of the new tests available in P3, the following tests can be especially useful to writers, editors, and proofreaders who want to take some of the grunt work out of self-editing and proofreading:
Brackets and Quotations Left Open Test
It’s not uncommon for writers to forget to close quotations or brackets. P3 will find open quotes and brackets and create a list of them so you can systematically close them up. I don’t really need to say how much time that can save, do I?
There are rules about how italics are used. For example, some style guides state that you italicize less common foreign words and phrases. In the Italics test, P3 will identify certain foreign words and phrases and allow you to decide how and when a word will be italicized:
Serial Comma Test
Do you use the serial comma, or Oxford comma? If you do, an editor will check that you’re using it consistently throughout your book. Tedious? Unbelievably. Time consuming? You bet. Nearly impossible to catch them all manually? I think so. P3 will systematically identify places in your writing where you may need to insert the serial comma.
Note: The serial comma feature in P3 is not activated out of the box. You need to turn it on. Here’s how:
- In the PerfectIt 3 tab on the ribbon, click on the Manage Styles icon.
- Click on the Edit Style Sheet button to bring up the Style Sheet Editor.
- Click on the Settings tab.
- In the pull-down menu, select Serial (Oxford Comma). In the PerfectIt should check field, select Serial (Oxford) Comma. Then, in the It should make sure documents use field, select the Use Oxford comma option and click Apply. You can now check your document for missing serial commas.
P3 has a new feature that allows users to decide what combination of tests they want to run on a document. You may not always want to run all the tests available in P3, so you now have the option of unchecking the boxes next to the tests you don’t want to run.
There’s much more to say about P3’s newest features, and I hope to be writing about them as I continue to investigate this tool. For now, exploring the features described in this post is a great way to acquaint yourself with the newest version of PerfectIt.
For more information about the latest version of PerfectIt, visit Intelligent Editing.
Are you a PerfectIt 3 user? What are your favourite features?
Disclaimer: I have been a paid user of PerfectIt since version 1. Intelligent Editing has kindly supplied me with a review copy of PerfectIt 3. I continue to be a fan.
Image by Teddy Kwok