Yearbook Proofing Tools

Yearbook adviser leadingb two students through the proofreading process using a rubric and electronic copy of the spread

Raise your hand if you do your best proofing after the yearbook goes to print. We’ve all had that cringe moment when you notice two baseball players’ names interchanged in the sports section or the student who joined the second semester flowed with the wrong class. We can all agree: proofing is critical for the yearbook creation process. Consistency and the proper tools will help you ensure no mistakes slip through the cracks.

One-Time: Printed Proof

Would you like a copy of your yearbook before distribution day to check your fonts, colors, layout, cover texture, and photo quality? We’ve got you.

WE JUST GOT A PRINTED PROOF OF OUR YEARBOOK AND AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! If you are a yearbook adviser and are not using TreeRing, I encourage you to reconsider your life choices. Last year was my first year as yearbook adviser, and it was a nightmare, between remote learning and a publisher/software that was *horrible* to work with. TreeRing has fabulous software, amazing customer service, is super affordable, and the printed proof of our book looks *so.* *good.*

Once your yearbook is approximately 70% complete, order a printed proof of your yearbook to review the following:

  • Cover alignment and bleed
  • Portraits (accuracy, name size, and font)
  • Gutter
  • Bleed and margins
  • Font choices, sizes, and colors
  • Background contrast
  • Spelling and attribution
  • Photo clarity and color

Monthly: Use PDF Proofs

Print out a hard copy. Errors that are missed on the screen often jump out on paper. Create PDF proofs of class, event, club, and athletic pages to provide to the appropriate stakeholders for their review. Ask them:

  • Is the content accurate? Is anything missing?
  • Are names spelled correctly and referencing the correct person?
  • Do these photos accurately represent the page’s content and our student body?

Remember they need some time to review it, and should it require changes, you will need time to incorporate them.

This proofing checklist is from our free curriculum.

Text Proofreading Tips

Read all captions, pull quotes, and headlines out loud. It may feel silly, and once you do it, you will see and hear the value:

  • Tone, word choice, and sentence structure pop when you read them out loud
  • If all your writing sounds the same, you may want to mix up sentence structure or type

Proofing Yearbook Quotes

Proofing is essential if your school uses expanded captions, pull quotes, or <gasp> senior quotes. A transcription tool for interviews, such as, which integrates with Google Docs, is handy for recording conversations.

Quotes must not be taken out of context. We do not alter quotations, even to correct grammatical errors or word usage. If a quotation is flawed because of grammar or lack of clarity, it may be paraphrased in a way that is completely true to the original quote. If a quote’s meaning is too murky to be paraphrased accurately, it should not be used. Ellipses should be used rarely and must not alter the speaker’s meaning.

AP Style Guide

(Here’s an article from CBS News and one from Slate that addresses language learners to review with your students.)

Sharing is Caring: Use Printed Proofs to Tease the Book

This isn’t the first time we’ll make this suggestion, and it won’t be the last..

Ongoing: Rubrics and Checklists

The best time to begin proofing yearbook spreads is after you’ve finished each page and well before you need to go to print. Informal editing can happen on screen with an editor or adviser. We also highly recommend peer editing on a projector with the whole team. Use a rubric to help guide the conversation.

Yearbook teachers helps a student make a yearbook online
By creating a routine for proofreading, there are no surprises before you go Print Ready.

Proofing and editing aren’t a one-and-done thing. (Sorry not sorry!) It takes time to craft the perfect story and to create a solid layout from scratch. And if DIY is not your thing, the thousands of layout templates in the Treering library are at your disposal.

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