Editing business documents
As a business, you want to successfully get your message across to your target audiences – especially to customers and potential customers – in print and online.
Getting the content right in a business document takes time and effort. Having a professional editor review the written document can take your well-written text to the next level.
A professional editor corrects spelling, grammar and punctuation and can advise on the structure of the document. A document which has a coherent structure and accurately presented content conveys your message clearly and effectively to your different audiences. And it reflects well on your business!
Six steps for successful business document editing
1. Check for consistency in the structure, flow and language when editing a business document. Often many people in your business will have contributed to the document. A professional editor can make sure the document holds together as one cohesive text.
2. Make sure text within the business document is consistently used. For example, choosing one spelling for a word or phrase throughout the document is important.
Which spelling do you use?
- organisation or organization
- well-being or wellbeing
- counseling or counselling
Are dates spelt in the same way? Choosing one way to write dates throughout the text is best practice.
- 16 August 2013 or 16 August, 2013
- 16th August 2013 or August 16 2013
- August 16th, 2013 or 16 08 2013 or 16/08/2013.
Do you want to use:
- e.g. or for example?
- i.e. or that is?
A professional editor will ensure consistent use of words and phrases throughout the text.
3. Check the heading hierarchy of the business document. Headings are signposts for readers. A professional editor will ensure the signposts are leading the reader in the right direction and that the headings help the reader to navigate through the text.
4. Rearrange any text that is out of sequence. This ‘structural edit’ will be discussed with the client. The suggestions may include:
- rearranging sentences, paragraphs or other content
- deleting text that is repetitive
- ensuring the main message flows through the text logically.
5. Simplify complicated sentences and paragraphs. The editor may recommend:
- cutting superfluous words and phrases
- using bullet points for lists in paragraphs for easier reading
- making sure the text is written in plain English.
6. Check the spelling, grammar and punctuation is consistent throughout the document.
The editor checks these basic elements of the business document before the document is typeset or prepared for posting on the Internet. As the last step of the editing process – the proofread – spelling, grammar and punctuation are checked again. The proofreader will also check the page layout, table of contents and other details. This final step makes sure no errors have occurred during the editing/rewriting process before publishing.
Get a professional editor to edit your business documents
You’ve spent valuable time and effort writing your business document – it is now time to have it edited by a professional, experienced editor.
Hiring a professional editor may cost more (than a novice) but you will get value for money with a polished, professional result.
At Bold Type, we can edit and proofread all your business documents including your website content, annual reports and marketing material such as catalogues and brochures. Using Bold Type will make sure that your message is clear and easy to read. Your documents will look professional and set you above your competitors.
Read more publishing tips from Susie Stevens, Sydney-based freelance editor who works for clients around the world.
Read more about Susie Stevens, professional editor, Sydney Australia.