A document arrives on your desk for copyediting. The document may be a single page of typescript, a computer disk, a full novel, half a book accompanied by a disk and the information that the rest is on its way; in short many different types of material may arrive in many different forms. For convenience let’s call all the different types and forms of material, documents.

If you are editing hard copy, you should have:

  • a pencil
  • pens of different colours
  • a notepad
  • Liquid Paper or white-out
  • a ruler
  • post-it notes
  • a copy of the house style if it is to be applied
  • a style sheet if necessary
  • the AGPS Style Manual
  • a good dictionary.

 The advent of the new technology has changed the traditional methods of copyediting considerably. The same sorts of errors will be looked for, but the copyeditor may have no hard copy, working on a disk entirely and making the changes on screen. There are risks in this procedure discussed later, and a more common approach is to work with both hard copy and disk.

This can be done in a number of way:

  • edit the hard copy, and then make the alterations on disk
  • edit on screen and use the printout as the new hard copy
  • leave the copyediting until the document has been fully laid out and desktopped.

The method employed will depend greatly on the technology being used, the degree to which the author must be informed of changes, the arrangements with the designer, and the printer and, always, considerations of cost and time.