by C.K. MacLeod
Professional proofreaders use computer tools to check for proofreading errors. While proofreading, checking for inconsistencies is important because inconsistencies can distract readers.
Not sure what inconsistencies to check for? Don’t worry. PerfectIt Pro, a proofreading tool favoured by the pros, walks you through the process, and in some ways, acts like a proofreading checklist. It identifies inconsistencies in your writing so you can fix them. I’ve written about Consistency Checker, the lite version of PerfectIt Pro, so you can see what kinds of things these tools check for.
Note: PerfectIt Pro runs 27 tests on a document. Consistency Checker is a sample of what PerfectIt Pro can do.
The Fix Feature
Unlike Consistency checker, PerfectIt Pro will run as a plug-in in any PC version of Word (sorry, Mac users, PerfectIt isn't yet available for Macs). And, besides checking for inconsistencies, PerfectIt Pro will give you options for fixing them.
PerfectIt Pro also has a style sheet option, that can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to check that you’ve spelled words consistently. For example, if you’re a Canadian (like I am) and you want to be sure that you’ve spelled words as recommended by the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, you can add the Canadian Oxford style sheet to PerfectIt Pro and it will flag any words that need their spellings adjusted. There are style sheets for UK and US spellings, too.
Loading Style Sheets
Here’s how to load style sheets into PerfectIt Pro:
- Download a style sheet from the Intelligent Editing site.
- Open PerfectIt Pro in Word. You’ll find it in the Add-in Tab.
- Click on Customized, Advanced, Import.
- To run the style sheet, choose the style sheet you want to use in the Settings area.
Build Your Own Style Sheets
You can build your own style sheets, too. In PerfectIt Pro, click on Customized, Advanced, New and begin adding words to the style sheet template. Include in your style sheet the spellings you want to use, and PerfectIt Pro will comb through your book file and alert you to the ones that don’t match. This is particularly useful if you have a 300-page book filled with names and places with unusual or hard-to- remember spellings.
Many proofreaders will say that because of the time it saves, PerfectIt Pro often pays for itself the first time you use it. For writers, using PerfectIt can reduce the cost of professional proofreading, if you check your manuscript before sending it to a proofreader.
You can try PerfectIt Pro for 30 days and decide for yourself!
Image by Bruce Berrien