There’s nothing more embarrassing than finding spelling and grammar mistakes in your yearbook spread after it’s in print. But I also know that spending all of your time proofing the content that ultimately ends up in your book just isn’t realistic, simply because you already have a lot on your plate. You might not know it, but there are some easy tricks you can use to make proofing your content less time-consuming and overwhelming. To help create a book that’s virtually error free, I’ve pulled together a quick tip sheet you can use to steer clear of the grammar police for an error-free final version of your yearbook.
Enlist a Secondary Proofer
The person writing the content should always give it a read through before they hand it off to the editorial team. Doing this ensures that the piece makes sense and helps to eliminate some of the glaringly obvious mistakes. But that piece of content should always go through a second proofer. A secondary person is less attached to the text, which makes it easier for them to catch (and fix) mistakes.
Check Your Facts
When it comes to dates, names and events, you want to make sure you have all the details right. And you’ve got a lot of those throughout your yearbook content. So make sure that every fact within the pages of your spread is double checked for accuracy.
Use Spell Check
Spell check is your friend. Before you hand off a piece, click that little button to check for spelling errors. It’s the best way to catch small mistakes before that content is sent off to be part of your final yearbook spread.
Print Out the Copy
When you’re reviewing a lot of copy, it can be easier on your eyes to print out the text when you’re ready to do a final proof. Using a hard copy forces you to take your time and read a little more slowly than you would by scanning through a document on a computer screen.
Use a Ruler
It might sound silly, but using a ruler to go line by line down a printed copy of your content can help you slow down and read every word on the page. A thorough reading can help you better find spelling and grammatical errors because it’s harder to rush through the process.
When you’re trying to catch spelling mistakes, reading backwards (right to left) can help. It makes you examine every word out of context, instead of reading through sentences as a whole.
Read Out Loud
Like playing music to different rhythms, reading text out loud can help ensure that it makes sense and is easy to understand. Listening to the words can also serve as an extra proofing component to your process that helps to weed out any unresolved issues.
Take a Break
You should always review the content in your yearbook spread a few times before giving it a thumbs up for publishing. But before you do that final proof, take a break from reading your content for a few days. This break will put some space between you and the copy you’re reviewing, which can help you notice errors you missed in a prior read-through before the book goes to print.
A Great Yearbook Spread
When you’re working hard to create an amazing yearbook spread, you don’t want to undermine all of your hard work with spelling and grammar mistakes that you can easily avoid. Taking these steps can help prevent errors from slipping through the cracks and reflecting poorly on your project as a whole. And as the person pouring their heart into creating a yearbook spread students will love, you should know that a little extra proofing can really help take your publication to new heights.