10 Power Tools For Proofreading & Editing

Editing & Proofreading Tools

 

Guest Post: Editing & Proofreading Tools by Leona Hinton.

Writing with style and substance is essential to becoming a successful author or blogger, but perfecting the ability to proofread and edit your own work will save you time and money down the line.

The best way to start the proofreading and editing process is to take notice of the words, phrases and sentences Microsoft Word has dutifully highlighted throughout your document.  Go to the grammar and spellcheck facility and look at the choices Microsoft Word offers as alternatives to the grammar and spelling mistakes you’ve made; it’s surprising how many writers ignore all the squiggly red lines and hit ‘publish’.

The program is not infallible and doesn’t always come up with the correct alternatives, but it’s a start. You don’t need an internet connection to use the proofreading and editing tool, and when you’re ready to move on to more sophisticated options I recommend you check out the following:

 

Proofreading & Editing Tool #10

Google Docs

The development of Google Docs has revolutionized the way writers work, allowing them to store active documents in the cloud and access them from any device in the world with an internet connection. Simultaneous people (e.g. the editor and writer) can work on the same document at the same time, ensuring changes aren’t lost in old, misplaced drafts. It also comes with a powerful proofreading tool which identifies spelling and grammar errors using dictionaries that are constantly updated.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #9

Proofreadbot

This free editing tool spits out a detailed report of your text including a similarity and originality percentage, list of sources, underlined character replacement and highlighted references and quotations. Its interface is simple, making it super easy to use and a good entry level tool for those just getting started.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #8

Unplag

Bloggers and writers often cut and paste ideas that inspire or challenge them, but it’s important to ensure you don’t accidentally steal another writer’s work. Powerful online plagiarism tools such as Unplag.com have recently hit the market and offer a cost-effective way to check your blog for accidental plagiarism. Simply upload files that you’d like checked and receive a report including detected similarities, an originality / similarity percentage rating, plus a list of original sources.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #7

PaperRater

This proofreading tool is designed for term papers. When the text is pasted onto the website, the results indicate spelling and grammar errors and suggest suitable alternatives related to the educational level of the writer. The software concentrates on specific text types too, such as lab reports, résumés, theses, speeches, short stories, personal diaries and business communications.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #6

Ginger

This proofreading tool can be installed as a plugin for MS-Office or as an extension in Google Chrome. It concentrates on grammar and spelling and boasts a re-phraser tool that offers suggestions on how to structure a sentence in different ways, overcoming issues like passive voice. Once the text has been corrected Ginger’s text-to-speech facility can read out the document, helping you hear clunky elements in the writing.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #5

Proofhq

This tool is great when more than one person has worked on a document (think group assignments, or co-authored novels), as it ensures the writing style and sentence length remains consistent. It also identifies any repetition in the text.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #4

After the Deadline

This modern proofreading and editing tool can be used as a WordPress plugin or as an extension to Windows Live Writer, Google Chrome and Firefox. Sophisticated features concentrate on advanced English, including spelling, grammar and style checks.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #3

Slick Write

Slick Write offers the usual spelling and grammar checking tools, but it also analyses sentence flow and length and offers suitable editing suggestions.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #2

WordPress Proofreading

A lot of writers use WordPress as their blogging platform. But even if you write your article in MS Word and cut and paste it into your post, it’s common to make changes to the work once you’ve seen a preview of it published. Unfortunately those changes can result in new typos, so it’s a good idea to install TinyMCE, which will proofread your posts in WordPress before they go live.

Proofreading & Editing Tool #1

ProWritingAid

This is a true advancement on the more basic proofreaders, as ProWritingAid also highlights words that have been overused, offers improvements in the structure of irregular paragraphs and refines your text’s readability. Redundant, or clunky words can be deleted, and better choices offered when words are either too abstract or complex for the style and context. Now that’s high tech!

It’s important to remember that for readers to take you seriously, you have to treat your writing with the respect and professionalism it deserves. Honor the reader by polishing your words to perfection (or close enough to it) and they might just come back to read some more.

Do you have an editing or proofreading tool you love? Please share it in the comments below!

 

Leona Hinton

10 editing & proofreading toolsLeona Hinton is a young blogger and educator from Chicago. Utterly in love with adventures, she also likes to express her feelings in writing. She loves rainy days, horseback riding, traveling and reading classic literature. Leona is glad to meet you on Facebook and Twitter!

18 Comments

  • Reply April 3, 2017

    Ed Gregory

    After the Deadline has not been updated in four years, according to WordPress.com, and may be incompatible with newere versions of WordPress.

    • Reply April 4, 2017

      Cate Hogan

      Thanks for the update Ed!

  • Reply December 20, 2016

    Stefania

    Great post, thanks. You might consider adding Ludwig to your list (www.ludwig.guru).
    Ludwig was recently featured on TechCrunch and is one of the most promising startups in the field of automatic translation and proofreading.
    https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/05/online-linguistic-search-engine-ludwig-helps-get-your-english-on/

    You can search on Ludwig to:

    – Get reliable English #translations, with contextualized #examples
    – Check your grammar by comparing your sentences side by side with reliable examples
    – Find the #inspiration to express your ideas with ease
    – Learn how to write more effectively

  • Reply September 12, 2016

    Ed Gregory

    Interesting collection. I was surprised that Grammarly is not mentioned here.

    Grammarly has more than 3 million page results in Google. Autocrit, for example, has just over 38,000.

    This seems a deliberate exclusion. If so, why?

  • Reply June 22, 2016

    Sangura James

    Such an informative post, thanks! When I started out, I was using ginger but then noticed that it had a lot of pop ups which could slow someone down. I wonder whether they solved the problem or not.

    • Reply June 24, 2016

      Cate Hogan

      Glad you enjoyed it James! You might want to try ProWritingAid or Autocrit. I’ve found both to be really helpful.

  • Reply April 8, 2016

    Mary Sojourner

    And then there is reading. Reading is the best training for any writer. When you read good writing, you take in the rules of clean prose/poetry without finding yourself back in school feeling bored. I agree with you, Cate, on finding a good editor. My website is also valuable: http://www.breakthroughwriting.net It’s free. And if a writer subscribes, they get free weekly tips.

    • Reply April 14, 2016

      Cate Hogan

      Great advice Mary. I’m often amazed by the writers I meet who profess their dislike of reading; akin to being a gardener who’s lived in a desert their whole life. And great website– thanks for sharing!

  • Reply March 24, 2016

    Guy Anthony De Marco

    I was surprised you skipped Autocrit. While it does have a lot in common with ProWritingAid, I liked the large amount of reports and analysis available with Autocrit, many of which are not available with PWA (which is why I chose Autocrit). I find the pro version to be an excellent system to process my manuscripts before sending them off to a human editor. Getting the common silly errors cleaned up allows the human editor to focus on story improvements versus spellchecking and word repetition. I ended up getting a lifetime subscription.

    Ginger also looked like an interesting in-line program for on the fly fixes, but I had a lot of problems with the free version. Maybe after it matures further it will be worth another look for me.

    Thank you for the informative post.

    • Reply March 24, 2016

      Cate Hogan

      Great advice Guy. I’m very tempted to give these tools a try – Autocrit seems to be coming up a lot in the conversation. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply March 20, 2016

    MARK SCHULTZ

    I think you missed another good one. Editor by serenity-software.com. It is quite powerful, without being overbearing. It leaves you in control. It was a little difficult the first time, but well worth the effort.
    Thanks for all the work you put into this post. I am saving it.

    • Reply March 20, 2016

      Cate Hogan

      Wonderful tip, thanks Mark!

    • Reply March 21, 2016

      Leona

      Great idea Mark, thank you for sharing it with us!
      L

  • Reply March 18, 2016

    Jason

    Not to polish the apple too much . . . while I use some of the above tools, all of them combined only get the MS ready for a human, and hopefully good, editor. That is when the real improvement begins.

    Do you have an opinion on Autocrit.com? How does it compare to ProWritingAid? Are they substantially unique enough to justify using both tools?

    • Reply March 20, 2016

      Cate Hogan

      Thanks Jason, I couldn’t agree more. I’ll leave it to Leona to comment on the value of Autocrit etc. At this point I must humbly admit that I don’t use any of these tools. But I know I should start, especially for the easily automated functions that MS Word does’t cover, like word repetition and restarts.

    • Reply March 21, 2016

      Leona

      Hi Jason,

      thanks for stopping by 🙂

      In all likelihood, ProWritigAid and Autocrit are pretty similar, but I personally use the former tool and can’t justify using both of them, at least for now.

  • Reply March 17, 2016

    Edward Cascone

    To Ms. Hogan,
    I have been writing poetry, essays and short stories for over 25 years, and when I went back to college in 2003 and obtained my BA in English Literature I began a rewrite of a memoir that evolved into a romantic novel. The subject of the book concerns a conscientious objector during the Viet Nam era, who flees to the west coast and eventually finds himself in Toronto, Canada. The sequence of events that lead up to his decision to run and the chain of events that bring him to Toronto have been described by my professors as rich; descriptions of landscapes, dialogue and emotion. I am in the midst of the 3rd rewrite and I need an editing tool that would assist me in my struggle to finish, but I have thought about a professional editor as well. Would you be kind enough to offer some insight.

    • Reply March 17, 2016

      Cate Hogan

      Hi Edward, thanks for your comment and congratulations on completing your BA, and manuscript. I think the editing software options above are great when applying the final polish to a draft; they highlight areas in the writing that might be repetitive, or grammatically incorrect. But there is only so much automated algorithms can achieve. At some point, you’ll need to work with an editor or beta reader who can assist with developing the creative elements: what makes a story engaging and full of intrigue? Do the characters attract our empathy? Does the ending give us a complete sense of resolution? And the structure, pace, style…all require development too. These are things a computer can’t tell us (yet) and in many ways they’re much more important to the reader than spelling and grammar. Finding a great editor is a key step in every writer’s journey. I wrote an article on the subject here. Keep up the great work, and feel free to drop me a line if you decide you’re in need of professional development. Happy to help.

Leave a Reply