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16.07 Proofreader’s marks

If you are not responsible for producing final copy and have to indicate your revisions on the draft, you must use proofreader’s marks to help the typesetter or other specialist understand and make the changes required.

If you are proofreading typeset material, you must distinguish between typesetting errors and changes you or the author have decided to make. The mark "AA" (author’s/editor’s alterations) indicates such alterations.

Copy should be at least double-spaced within a 4-cm margin around the text. Proofreader’s marks can be made in red ink in the right-hand space; editing notes can be made in another colour in the left-hand space.

(a) Common proofreader’s marks and their use

Marginal marks are on the left; where required, in-line marks are on the right within the explanatory text.

Style of type

common proofreade’s marks - style of type

common proofreade’s marks - style of type (positioning)

common proofreade’s marks - style of type (spacing)

(b) Example of proofread page

common proofreade’s marks - example

(c) Glossary of terms

Changes made in the copy after it has been set in type.

Large dots indicating items in a series.

General term for typesetting material.

The page number.

A complete set of type of one size and face.

The style of letters that slope forward, in contrast to upright or roman letters.

To adjust spacing in a line so that all lines are of equal length, start at the same point on the left-hand side of the page, or end at the same point on the right-hand side.

Dots or dashes.

The space between letters—usually in display type, headlines, etc.

Width of line of type, always indicated in picas.

A word or short line standing alone at the bottom of a page.

Unit of measure with 72.27 points to the inch.1

There are 12 points to a pica.

A standard or upright typeface.

A typeface without serifs.

The short cross-lines at the ends of the main strokes of many letters in some typefaces.

Small caps
An alphabet of small capital letters.

A proofreader’s mark signifying that copy marked should remain as it was.

A word or short line standing alone at the top of a page.

Wrong font
The mark "WF" indicates a letter or numeral of the wrong size or face.


  • Back to the note1 Errors in pica measurement are made when computer manufacturers round off the pica points to 72 or 6 picas to the inch. Clarification of measurements for team members and production staff will minimize errors.