Cleaning Up Your Magazine Manuscript

Posted on Oct 20, 2016 in Blog, Fundamentals
Cleaning Up Your Magazine Manuscript

We see dozens of school magazines riddled with inconsistencies and errors that you can eliminate by proper preparation of the text content before sending to your designer for typesetting. Cheney & Company production director Beth Lyons passes along these copyediting and proofreading tips to help you set the bar high.

  • Use the school’s editorial style guidelines for capitalization, abbreviation, etc.
  • Work in a new manuscript document, and keep the original pieces for reference to easily see heads, bold, italic, editorial notes, etc.
  • Copy and paste each section of text into the new manuscript document in the order of appearance in the layout, separating sections (articles) with page breaks.
  • Turn ON “invisibles” (Command-8 in Word/Mac) so you can see tabs, returns and spaces.
  • In sections where every line ends in a return—especially in text picked up from PDFs or emails—search for and replace unneeded returns with single spaces.
  • Find all double spaces; replace with single space; repeat to delete strings of extra spaces.
  • Delete any tabs that are just paragraph indents. For charts/tables, enter just one tab per column. Column alignment and paragraph spacing, tabs or indents will be determined during typesetting in the page layout program (such as InDesign).
  • Make trouble spots easy to find. Highlight headers and notes that are not part of the actual text in yellow; highlight places you question (grammar, spelling, confusions, etc.) and your suggestions or queries in magenta.
  • Place pertinent captions at the end of each section, with photo file names or whatever indications you have to connect them with photo files.
  • Run spell check and fix obvious errors; fact check as you go along. Are those book titles and dates really correct?
  • Read class notes for appropriateness and get your advancement team to check every name and class year once again.

Okay, now the content is ready to be typeset. If you do this work first, it will save you time and the embarrassment of errors slipping through into the printed piece.

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