Corrections Format

Use the following method to provide corrections efficiently and accurately for projects typeset in the Well-Formed Document Workflow.


  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Word

Text Corrections

Indicate text changes in the following format:

page number
current text
replacement text
[optional additional comment, in brackets]

Indicate deletions of entire lines, typography corrections, or other instructions in the following format:

page number
current text (if applicable)
[written instruction in brackets]

These instructions refer specifically to corrections rounds during typesetting stages, but they can apply to feedback for other file types as well, such as e-books or HTML files. When providing feedback, indicate the file name or chapter number and use a unique string that can be found easily.


  • Open the PDF created by the typesetter. The text in the PDF should be text that can be selected, copied, and pasted.
  • Copy the text to be corrected from the PDF and paste it into a Word document. Select a block of text that is long enough to represent a unique string of text. Use a full line so that a search for this text will only find the intended instance.
  • For the replacement text, paste the current text again and then apply the changes.
  • If the correction involves deleting an entire line or a different instruction, indicate this [in brackets].

Note: If the correction involves character styles, the styles can be indicated in one of three ways: * Compose the replacement text with the necessary character style. * Place style tags around the replacement text (e.g., <i></i> tags around any italic words). * Indicate the character style change in the bracket comments.

Application and Verification

When applying corrections:

  • The typesetter will search for the text in InDesign and replace it as indicated.
  • The typesetter will maintain all of the requirements of a WFDW file without introducing new errors, such as reflow or bad breaks.

When verifying corrections:

  • Use the corrections list to find the changes.
  • Note any corrections that have been applied incorrectly.

Image or Layout Corrections

If the correction involves something that is difficult to indicate using written instructions, supply the correction as either a PDF or JPEG image.

Use Adobe Acrobat’s built-in comment tools to draw lines and arrows. Include the PDF with the corrections list.

If arrows have been drawn on a printout, for example, to indicate how to move elements on a page, scan that page to create a JPEG image. Include the JPEG with the corrections list.

The Benefits of This Method

  • Providing corrections in this way eliminates issues with bad handwriting and multiple ink colors, so that the person applying the corrections does not also have to interpret them.
  • When reviewing an author or proofreader’s notes, an editor does not have to indicate “stet” or cross out instructions, thus creating competing lines of thought on a written page. Instead, an editor compiling the corrections list can simply remove an unwanted instruction from the list. That way, the only thing the typesetter receives is a clear, approved list of changes to be applied.
  • Errors can be tracked over time. At each corrections round, a list of errors is generated. These lists can be compared to find trends and develop better processes and checklists, helping to reduce errors and establish best practices.
  • Corrections are easily verified. Lists of changes can be used to determine if a change was applied incorrectly or somehow missed.
  • Past corrections can be reviewed to confirm that changes from previous rounds are included in the current versions of files. These lists can also be used to check when changes were introduced.
  • Corrections lists enable all involved to easily find where corrections were made in the file by searching for unique strings of text. If text shifts due to the addition or deletion of content, other text corrections can still be found. If the corrections are on paper, a marked correction on one printed page might end up somewhere else in the new file, adding time and effort to both the application and verification steps.
  • There is no need to print and ship materials. Not only does this reduce printing and shipping costs, but corrections can be reviewed as soon as the new PDF is ready, without having to wait for a physical shipment to be received.