What are the different types of editing?

Not sure what you need from an editor? We can help.

Not sure what you need from an editor? We can help.

Susie Stevens, professional freelance editor based in Sydney Australia explains the three different types of editing.

Structural or substantive editing

This is the first step after the writer has said: ‘That’s it – time to put the baby on the mountain’.

During the structural edit, the editor will look at the main purpose of the document, the presentation of information, check that there is a logical flow of the narrative and check for consistency of language and style.

The structural editor may recommend that the writer:

  • reorganise some of the sections of the document
  • make changes to suit the target audience
  • establish a consistent style
  • use the right tone and voice.

Copy editing

On-screen editing is an alternative to hard copy mark-up

On-screen editing is an alternative to hard copy mark-up

During the copy edit, the aim is to check issues such as sentence structure, consistency of grammar, punctuation and spelling and to make sure the entire text is consistent with Australian publishing standards as documented in the Australian Style Manual.

The copy editor checks the relationship between headings and text and looks at the relationship between graphics and text to ensure a continuity between elements of the document. The editor may recommend modifying the text or graphics, changinging prose to bullet points, add break-out boxes for the main concept on a page and generally, making the message more accessible to readers.



During the process of editing and rewriting, errors can be created or overlooked. The proofread is the final opportunity to edit errors that may have been created during the previous editing process.

It is usually done after the work is typeset (or draft ready for Internet publication) so that the proofreader can check the page layout.

The proofreader will also check that the contents page numbers and any cross referencing are correct. Sometimes due to typesetting, page references can be incorrect and need to be adjusted.

What type of editing do I need?

Some clients are happy with the structure of the document and will go straight to copy editing then proofreading. Others have in-house editing and just want a proofread. Susie Stevens can make an assessment of the work when quoting.

With Susie Stevens editing your work, what you want to say will be presented in a way that will engage your audience.

Why Susie Stevens to edit your masterpiece?

Susie is a professional editor and publisher with over 25 years experience across a wide range of genres – education, corporate, non-fiction trade books, academic papers and self-published manuscripts. Read more about Susie’s experience. View Susie’s listing on the NSW Society of Editors website.

Tip from a publishing professional

Don’t get it right, get it written … then get a professional editor to make it right.

Request an obligation free quote

Susie Stevens can quote on the type of editing required to make sure your masterpiece is ready to publish. Call Susie on 0410 037 635 or email Susie with your details.