PDF proofreading has become an increasingly popular service of ours over the years. Back in 2004 when I started Full Proof, it was mainly Word documents that customers emailed to me, but now it’s probably 40% Word docs and 40% PDFs (the remaining percentage being PowerPoint, Excel, Google Docs and other file types). The ratio change is probably mainly due to the way our business has evolved over the years – we now deal with lots of marketing, employer engagement, and learning and development companies who require their PDF proofs to be checked prior to publication. We also proofread many annual reports each year for companies large and small, and these are often sent as Word docs initially and then PDF later on.
Proofreading PDFs is slightly different to proofreading in Word as you can’t interact with the text in the document or track changes. Some PDF-editing programs such as Adobe Acrobat do allow you to make changes to certain text, as long as it isn’t ‘flattened’, but it doesn’t track them. Instead, you have to annotate the PDF using an array of tools such as highlight, strikethrough and comment.
At Full Proof we tend to use PDF-XChange Editor when proofreading PDFs, which is fully compatible with all Adobe PDF software. Our preferred approach is to just use the highlight and comment tools. It is far quicker to use the same tools throughout rather than switching via the toolbar constantly, and it keeps it simple for you, the customer, too when you review our comments. If a PDF requires lots of changes, which is often the case, the file can end up looking rather messy with comment bubbles all over the screen. To remedy this, we hide all pop-ups when we send the file back to you, leaving just the highlights on screen so that you can see where the text needs to be revised. When you hover over the highlighted word or words, the comment will appear in a pop-up, so you can see our instructions.
If you need your PDF edited or proofread, please get in touch with us today to discuss your project. With over 15 years’ experience, I can say with confidence that your PDF will be in safe hands!
Nick Jones is a proofreader, editor and award-winning author. He is the owner of Full Proof, a UK proofreading agency established in 2004. A devoted dad, music obsessive and Man Utd fan, he lives with his two kids in Cheshire.