Causes of Proofreading Errors 14 – Relying on electronic proofreading tools to do everything

Causes of Proofreading Errors 14 – Relying on electronic proofreading tools to do everything

Modern electronic proofreading tools provide an excellent way of minimising the risk of artwork errors going undetected. Table 14.1 lists the typical types of tools used during proofreading activity.

Table 14.1 Typical Proofreading Tools

Tool Type Typical Uses in Proofreading
Text Comparison Comparing source documents, such as regulatory source text documents, with finished artwork.
 Graphical Comparison Comparing revisions of artworks to each other to verify what has and has not changed.
Technical Verification Verifying that technical elements such as barcodes are correct.

Firstly, before any such tools are used, they need to be validated, managed under an appropriate quality system and users need to be adequately trained to use them. Like all sophisticated tools, it is easy for operators to adjust settings and misuse them in such a way that the results will be misleading and errors will not be detected.

Secondly, all these tools have their limitations which must be understood and then the process designed to mitigate these short comings. As an example, many text comparison tools have limitations when it comes to comparing text in tables due to the differing ways that source document software and artwork graphical software manages the text in tables. This often leads to the need for manual proofreading of all tables in documents, which sometimes represent the majority of the artwork.

Furthermore, the residual risk of errors going undetected when relatively comprehensive electronic proofreading tools are employed can be significantly increased if the remaining manual activities are undervalued. The residual manual activity still needs to consider all of the causes of error we discuss in this document.

This is the fourteenth of a series of 15 blogs giving a view of the causes of proof reading errors. Please help me improve the thinking by adding your comments and share this with others who may have a view. To obtain an e-copy of our Top 15 Causes of Proof Reading Errors booklet, go to

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