PROOFREADING: How to mark up PDF page proofs

A useful adjunct to core proofreading skills.

  • understand the scope of proofreading in the publishing process
  • learn how to navigate the Adobe Reader DC interface
  • make the most of the free Adobe Reader DC tools
  • develop efficient and effective practices for marking up PDFs.


This course will not teach you how to proofread – please see my Introduction to Proofreading and Further Proofreading courses.

introduction to proofreading: FOUNDATIONS OF A STRUCTURED APPROACH

Learn the foundations of a structured approach to proofreading.
  • develop a basic understanding of the principles and practice of proofreading
  • use BSI symbols for mark-up
  • use on-screen commenting tools in Adobe Reader
  • learn to approach text in a methodical way
  • includes four exercises to put theory into practice
  • get feedback and model answers
  • additional resources and guidance


Delivered in conjunction with Publishing Scotland.

NEXT COURSE 16–26 MAY 2022


THe Editing Toolkit for Business

This toolkit is packed full of guidance for writing clear, correct content. It includes:

  • Proofreading Checklist
  • SPaG Master ebook
  • Jargon Buster
  • Confused and Misused ebook
  • Style Guide Template
  • Scope and Sequence Template
  • Keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet


Sign up to be notified when the Toolkit goes live.

Further Proofreading

This course picks up where Introduction to Proofreading left off.
It assumes that delegates have attended this course or are familiar with the methods and techniques it contains.
Topics include:
  • checking a page proof for structure and layout
  • dealing with widows, and with changes that could affect pagination
  • collating the proof corrections of three other people and resolving their disagreements
  • checking a revised proof to see that all the corrections have been made properly – and no new errors introduced!


Delivered in conjunction with Publishing Scotland.

NEXT COURSE 20 & 23 JUNE 2022


Marketing Your Freelance Editorial Business

This course is for freelance editors and proofreaders who want to develop their marketing skills to promote their business but aren’t sure how to get started.

Delivered via Zoom, the workshop allows for plenty of discussion with delegates, including:

  • defining your services and your target market
  • building a brand
  • developing your website and blogging
  • using social media, directory listings and networking
  • marketing yourself to publishers and packagers.
  • marketing to non-publishers


Delivered in conjunction with Publishing Scotland.

NEXT COURSE 14 & 17 MARCH 2022




This webinar introduces you to the most commonly used proofreading symbols and how to use them.

The three modules cover how to select and use symbols to mark up:

  • amends to the text
  • changes to the appearance and position of text
  • adjustments to the structure and layout of text on the page

Please note: the symbols covered are the standard British proofreading symbols – British Standard BS 5261-2 (2005) – and so may differ from those used in other parts of the world.

quote mark (1)

The course is super value for money and a perfect complement to more general proofreading courses as it really brings to life the theory about where a proofreader is in the publishing process, giving you practical ways to work efficiently and usefully with typesetters and managing editors.<br>

The quizzes after each module are excellent in consolidating your learning, and the resources, including a keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet and a proofreading checklist and glossary, are so helpful. The whole course is full of great tips and covered everything I could imagine I’d need as a proofreader marking up PDFs. The screencast format is a perfect match for the content and I appreciated the ability to take things at my own pace.

Cathy Tingle, DocEditor
How to Mark Up PDF Page Proofs
quote mark (1)

Denise’s marketing course came along just when I needed it. As a new editor establishing my freelance business, I gained loads of valuable information which will help me shape my personal brand and marketing plan going forward. Key takeaways included how to manage social media, increase visibility, and find my ideal clients.

I feel much more confident now about what I need to do to not just ‘sell’ my services, but to put clients first and show that I can use my skills to solve their problems (exactly what Denise did for me!).



Sheila Korol
Marketing Your Freelance Editorial Business
quote mark (1)

Denise was AMAZING. Her energy was infectious and she really knows her stuff, I really felt she was an expert in her field and she was a very open and engaging tutor.


I really enjoyed it. I was very impressed with Denise’s delivery and her enthusiasm for the course content made it inspiring and engaging. I came away feeling very positive about the publishing industry and excited about where I could go after this course which has been really nice with everything going on during COVID.


Delegates, Introduction to Proofreading
September 2020
quote mark (1)

I thought Denise was great – friendly, knowledgeable and approachable – and very generous with her time and advice. Brilliant to have access to an expert like Denise in this format.


Denise was very proficient and capable with the technology and hugely knowledgeable about the subject. She maintained a firm grasp on the structure and trajectory of the sessions, even over three hours! She worked hard to encourage a sense that we were a class ‘together’ even though we were zooming.

Delegates, Introduction to Proofreading
May 2020


The essential tools for editing your writing

  • Video instruction: how to use Word styles and style sheets 
  • Style sheet template
  • Worry-free Writing guide 
  • Punctuation guide
  • Zombie rules guide (the rules it’s OK to break!)
  • Proofreading checklist
  • Essential keyboard shortcuts you can’t be without
  • Publishing workflow infographic

the audible editor

This course – brought to you by Louise Harnby and Denise Cowle, hosts of The Editing Podcast – will teach editors and proofreaders how to create, broadcast and distribute audio content that solves clients’ problems, enhances editorial brand, and increases visibility. No experience or expensive kit required. Your voice and enthusiasm will suffice!


  • video-based course
  • develop a clear plan for your book before you begin
  • clarify the breadth and depth of your topic
  • guidelines for creating a logical structure
  • identifying objectives and learning outcomes
  • Scope and sequence template
  • Scope and sequence Trello board
  • ebooklet transcript of the videos

improving your
writing and editing

I believe that everyone who wants to write or edit well deserves to have access to quality training at affordable prices.

My aim as a tutor is to give you a solid foundation in certain aspects of editorial practice that will help you to move forward with confidence, whether to pursue a career in editing or to impove how you write and edit your own work.

I hope that you find what you need here. If there are other topics you’d like me to cover, I’m always open to hearing about them!


The Editor's Note​

Monthly updates from my desk to yours. Exclusive, actionable advice on writing and editing non-fiction.​

DOWNLOAD my free guide on preparing your book for editing

Tempting as it is to immediately send your book off to your editor, there are a few things to take care of that will make your editor’s job easier – and save you money.