Proofreading Procedure

Use the Proofreading procedure to review content 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

Check vet notes, project specifications, transmittal instructions, style sheet, and publisher guidelines.

Verify that all queries have been resolved and instructions have been followed.

Content Presence and Order

Check that all content is present in the PDF.

Ensure content is in the proper order.

Verify that page numbers listed in table of contents (TOC) are correct.

Front Matter / Heads

Check that elements such as the book title, author name, and publisher match between the half-title, title, and copyright pages.

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

Verify that the TOC includes all required sections, including TK materials.

Ensure TOC listings match the corresponding text in the body for wording, character styles, 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.)

Check that all head capitalization is correct.


Check pages for proper order.

Check that pages use the proper numeral format (arabic or roman) according to the book’s criteria.

Running Heads

Check that all running heads meet the criteria for the book.

Ensure that italics or other character styles appear correctly.

PDF Rendering

Scan the pages for any errors or inconsistencies in the PDF’s rendering.

Check that the general appearance of the PDF meets the book’s criteria:

  • color vs. grayscale
  • PDF size
  • gutter width

Typography Checks

For a complete list of possible typography checks, see the Typeset QC Checklist.

Scan for general typographical issues:

  • stacks, widows, and orphans
  • bad line breaks
  • uneven white space

Check that elements of the same structure are rendered consistently.

Graphic Elements

Check the numbering or labeling of graphic elements to ensure they are sequential and consistent.

Verify that all graphic elements are present, complete, and placed near the appropriate reference point.


Check figure heads or captions against the figure list (if present in TOC).

Check that the appropriate figure was used when compared to the caption.

Check that the image quality of photos is acceptable.

Check the capitalization of figure captions for adherence to the style sheet.


Check table heads against table list (if present in TOC).

Ensure columns are equally spaced.

Check for sense and consistency.

Check capitalization of table titles, heads, and cells for adherence to the style sheet.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Check the use of abbreviations or acronyms throughout (and against the list[s] of abbreviations, if present).


Verify list numbering is correct.

Check lists for consistency and adherence to the style sheet.


Check the handling of epigraphs for consistency.


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


Verify that citations are present, if needed.

Verify the proper use of quotation marks.

Check quotations within quotations.

Ensure block quotations have been properly indented.

Bibliography/References, Notes, and Glossaries

Check that references are consistent and complete.

Check that footnotes and endnotes are consistent, sequential, and complete.

Ensure that footnote/endnote references in the body text correspond with the footnote/endnote numbers and paragraphs.

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

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

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


Note: A proofread is not a re-edit of the manuscript; rather, it is meant to verify that problems have been resolved, ensure that edits were entered correctly, and correct any remaining grammatical errors.

Read for sense, logic, and consistency.

Query cases of unresolved confusion or inconsistency.

Identify illogical, nonsensical, repeated, or missing text.

Point out any egregious grammatical or syntactical errors.

Point out obvious inconsistencies between heads and the content of the material that follows.

Style Sheet

Check the style sheet against the book for completeness and accuracy.

Ensure elements that appear in multiple places are consistent.


Extract the .sam from the InDesign typeset and run through the searches in the Regular Expressions Resource.

  • In Sublime, use Scribe Inc. > Check > Regular Expression Result Counts to see the regexes that have results in the .sam file.

Process the .sam to Word to run relevant searches from the SAI Cleanup’s “Mark for Editing.”

Perform spelling and grammar checks.

Run macros or searches based on issues identified.

Review against the Proofread QC checklist.