When we’re editing long documents, such as manuals and research reports, we can easily get so focused on the main content that we forget to check ancillary items. Here is a basic list of things to review after you edit the main content:
Cover or Title Page—Are the title, subtitle, and author’s name spelled correctly?
Front Matter—Have the preface, acknowledgment, and summary been included in the editing process? (They’re often added as an afterthought, so they’re easy to overlook.)
Back Matter—Have appendices, glossaries, bibliographies, and indexes been included in the editing process? (Just like front matter, back matter can fall through the cracks of the editing process.)
Chapter or Section Titles—Do they represent the correct chapter or section? Are they numbered correctly?
Table of Contents—Do the chapter or section titles listed match the titles in the main content? Are the page numbers correct?
Running Heads and Running Feet (headings at the top and bottom of pages)—Do they match the main title or the title of the section they represent?
Figures, Tables, and Illustrations—Do they each have an in-text reference? Are they correctly numbered and titled? Do they appear in the right order? Have their titles, captions, and callouts been edited?
Footnotes and Endnotes—Do they each have an in-text reference? Are they numbered and formatted correctly? Do they appear on the right page? Have they been included in the editing process?
If you’re more concerned with shorter content, such as emails and letters, check out my previous length-based editing post, “Editing Tips for Very Short Documents.”