2 Preparing copy

2.2 Making changes to copy

Most copy is amended on-screen (sometimes called online editing) in word-processing software or in a content management system. If changes need to be approved by, for example, the author or a production editor, revision tracking is used; queries can be inserted as comments or presented in a separate document or email. It is essential that all comments and revision histories are removed before the next stage of production.

When material must be edited on paper, a form of markup adapted from the proof-correction symbols (see 2.4) is used. Codes identifying the different elements are written in the left-hand margin. Cues locating the position of non-text items, such as illustrations and figures, are best placed in the right-hand margin. Instructions for the typesetter may be written in any convenient position where they will be seen before amending or keying the matter to which they relate. Codes, cues, and instructions should all be circled: by convention, circled material is observed by the typesetter but is not itself set in type. The typesetter is sent the electronic files and a printout marked with the copy-editor’s changes: the setter does not rekey the material but needs only to intervene where a change is wanted.The copy-editor should mark amendments very clearly in the body of the text, as the typesetter will only be glancing down the page looking for changes, not reading line by line. Red pen is favoured as it is obvious and scannable; however, some publishers prefer blue for text changes and red for codes, cues, and instructions. Ambiguous characters, especially if handwritten, should be clarified with a circled comment.

Similarly, if the script is to be entirely rekeyed, all corrections to the text itself are best positioned in the body of the material, above or (if there is space) on the line of type, so that the setter can readily see how they are to be integrated.

An example of marked-up typescript is shown in Figure 2.1.

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New Hart's Rules


Preface Editorial team Proofreading marks Glossary of printing and publishing terms