Copyediting Procedure

Use the Copyediting procedure to edit a manuscript within the Well-Formed Document Workflow.

This procedure is designed for projects created using ScML styles and the Well-Formed Document Workflow. Resolving potential issues as early as possible is recommended, as the consequences of having errors go to print or reach the e-book stage can be significant. At best, it means doing extra work to resolve the issue. At worst, it can mean that errors go to print or that an e-book is suppressed by a distributor.

Editorial Requirements

Review author’s voice, author’s purpose, and the intended audience. (Additionally, determine the audience’s prerequisite knowledge, defining or not defining terms as needed.)

Check vet notes, project specifications, transmittal instructions, the required style guide, and/or publisher guidelines.

Check time requirements; verify you will be able to meet them.

Check and apply any copyedit sample feedback.

File Type and File Naming

Save files as .docx.

For multiple files, name to sort in order (e.g., append “-00fm” to file name for front matter material, “-01” for the first chapter).

Content Presence and Order

Check that all content is present in the file.

Use the SAI’s Cleanup tool “Mark for Editing” to reveal any errors for potentially hidden text.

Add queries / query marks / placeholders for missing content.

Ensure all content is in the proper order.

Front Matter / Titles and Heads

Ensure Library of Congress Catalog-in-Publication Data is present or marked as TK (“to come”).

Ensure table of contents (TOC) includes all required sections, including TK materials.

Ensure TOC listings match the corresponding text (chapter titles, heads) in the body for wording, italics, and capitalization. (Note: Publishing conventions can result in some valid mismatches, such as “List of Figures” in a TOC pairing with “Figures” as the chapter title in the book.)

Ensure TOC levels correspond with the head levels in the book; ensure levels are logical.

Check head capitalization, sense, and parallelism.

Ensure formatting conforms to an existing design.

  • Is the word Chapter used with chapter numbers?
  • Are chapter and part numbers spelled out, or do they use numerals?
  • Does the wording of note heads match the design?

Edit any lists of running heads.

Edit alt text.

Compare front matter against cover/jacket images.

Edit CIP data and compare the title and author name(s) to interior text.

Macros, Wildcards, Regular Expressions, and Searches

Run any relevant macros and perform wildcard checks.

  • Use SAI’s Find and Replace to build and manage search routines.

Make a copy of the file, accept all changes, and convert the .docx to .sam in the Digital Hub.

  • Do the file stats for .docx and .sam reveal any errors?

  • Do the searches from the Regular Expressions Resource (or the Sublime Text Package Regular Expression Result Counts) reveal any errors (punctuation of quotations within quotations, direction of quotation marks and apostrophes, use of prime and double prime characters rather than single and double quotation marks)?

Perform any other consistency checks.


Use the SAI’s Cleanup tool “Mark for Editing” to reveal any errors.

  • Check for unmatched paired punctuation.
  • Check for missing paragraph-ending punctuation.

Check that punctuation following italic, bold, and bold-italic is consistently rendered and in line with preferences.

Check for correct/consistent use of hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes.

Check colons and confirm they are preceded by a complete sentence.

Check for s’; treat singular and plural possessives per the style guide.

Bibliography/References, Notes, and Glossaries

Edit parenthetical citations to adhere to the style guide.

Edit footnotes/endnotes to adhere to the style guide.

  • If there are blind endnotes, ensure key terms or phrases have been identified and match between the body and the note paragraphs.

Edit bibliography/references to adhere to the style guide.

Compare parenthetical citations and/or endnotes/footnotes against the reference list or bibliography.

  • Use the SAI’s Auto-Edit “Bibliography Tools” to perform checks.
  • Change “Bibliography” to “Selected Bibliography” if not all works cited are in the bibliography (or “Recommended Reading” if very short).

Ensure that glossary paragraphs are formatted consistently and that glossary terms in the body match the terms in the glossary paragraphs.

Check alphabetical order of bibliography/references, glossary, and similar items.


Apply url style to any new URL inserted during copyediting.

  • Use SAI’s Auto-Edit tool “Check URL Link Quality” to perform checks.
  • Also, the Digital Hub can be used to convert the file to an ePub. Then in Kindle Previewer, use “Run Quality Checks” in the File menu to check the ePub file for linking errors.

Check that URLs link to the intended locations.

Correct any spaces or prohibited characters (such as em dashes, spaces, or ellipses) in URLs.

  • Use SAI’s Cleanup under the “Mark for Editing” tab. Under “Mark for Composition Review,” select “Prohibited characters in url styles” and others as needed.

Figures and Illustrations

Edit all figure heads and captions according to the style guide.

Edit any figure text according to the style guide.

Check mentions of figures in running text.

Check figure callouts for format and proper location.

Check consistency of figure heads, attributes, and captions.

Check against list of illustrations if present.

Tables and Tabs

Edit all table heads according to the style guide.

Edit all table cells according to the style guide.

Check for mentions of tables in running text.

Check table callouts for format and proper location.

Check consistency of table heads, notes, and so on.

Ensure tables are built as Word tables.

Ensure consistent use of tabs. (Multiple tabs should not be used to force alignment within Word.)

Block Quotations and Run-In Quotations

Check length of all run-in vs. block quotations using the SAI’s Cleanup tool “Mark for Editing.”

Check that text and punctuation introducing block and run-in quotations are consistent and follow the rules of the style guide.

Verify that there is a citation.

Ensure that quotations’ wording has not been changed.

Numbers and Dates

Ensure numerals are used or spelled out consistently and follow the style guide.


Check introductory sentence or phrase.

Check punctuation.

Check consistency of handling of list items.

Edit for grammar, sense, and parallelism.

Recurring Elements

Edit any other recurring elements (e.g., sidebars, pull quotes, boxes) for consistency.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Check use of abbreviations and acronyms for consistency.

Check that first instances of abbreviations or acronyms are spelled out (as needed, per chapter, or at first mention in book).


Check handling of epigraphs for consistency.

Remove quotation marks around epigraph text.

Use em dashes in front of epigraph tails.


Check cross-references (e.g., page, chapter, section, figure, table, part).

Body Text

Begin reading body text.

Create style sheet (or open existing style sheet) using Editorial Style Sheet in the SAI. Keep style sheet open and enter any decisions you make using SAI shortcuts.

Write down a list of searches and changes to make as you edit.

Edit capitalization to meet the requirements of the style guide.

Depending on project needs, check for directional language that should be rephrased (as the pagination will shift during typesetting)—for example, above (previously, earlier) or below (later on, next).

Use the SAI’s Cleanup tool to remove extra spaces (double spaces, spaces before punctuation, etc.).

Spelling and Grammar Check

Make a copy of the file, accept all changes, and run Word’s “Spelling & Grammar” check.

  • You may opt to do this earlier in the process, but always check again after editing the files to ensure that no errors were introduced.


Check comments for clarity (including any query marks in notes).

Rendering (General)

Remove any unintentional highlighting. (Turn off track changes for this.)

Change colors used for rendering to black as needed by using the SAI’s View Text in Black. (Turn off track changes for this.)

Ensure foreign terms are formatted correctly.

Style Sheet

Check style sheet against book for completeness and accuracy.


If composition has changed, check that document still meets the requirements of a WFDW composition, including proper style usage and presence of structure tags as needed.

Special Characters and Digital Hub Conversion Alerts

Make a copy of the file, accept all changes, and upload the .docx file to the Digital Hub to view a list of all special characters in the document.

Are all characters Unicode?

Does processing the file to .sam or ScML in the Digital Hub reveal any errors?

  • Check .sam stats in the Digital Hub.
  • Example: Processing to another file format may reveal mismatches in footnotes or endnotes.

Do the counts of note styles match?

  • If footnotes are used, the counts of fn, fnnum, and fnref should match.
  • If endnotes are used, the counts of en, ennum, and enref should match.


Double-check any crucial items listed in vetting notes and/or publisher guidelines.

Check items under Macros, Wildcards, Regular Expressions, and Searches as needed.

Check for any known issues.

Add other items to the style sheet as needed.

Review against the Copyedit QC checklist.