A Guide to Copyediting Marks

The first time you receive your copyedited manuscript, it can be intimidating. What do these weird marks strewn all over my beautifully typed pages mean?

Use the guide below as a reference for these mysterious copyediting marks. Before you know it, you’ll understand them as well as any copyeditor.

Keep in mind that the logic behind most of these copyediting symbols is simply to make punctuation changes more visible. Who would notice a comma if it didn’t have a little roof above its head?

One more thing: this only applies to copyeditors who copyedit by hand. Most copyeditors use track changes in Word. See a screenshot below for an example of changes that were made using Word. If you prefer one format over the other, be sure to let us know, and we’ll pair you with a copyeditor who has the same preference.

Handwritten Copyediting Marks

Copyediting Marks using Track Changes in Word

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6 Comments

elena

This is very helpful

Reply
Ezuma Peace Patience

As a copy editor, one of the most important duties aside from writing headlines is to edit manuscripts written by the reporter. The mastery of editing symbols is very important as these symbols are the same everywhere; the exact symbols used in Armenia is the same used in the US showing the universality of the symbols.
This article gives an example of a handwritten edited copy clearly outlining the symbols and how they are used. It is however a very good guide for upcoming editors. DEPARTMENT OF MASS COMMUNICATION, CALEB UNIVERSITY, LAGOS.

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Carol

Thank you for providing an easy-to-understand, online example of copyediting marks. I will share this URL with my blog readers.

Reply
Sonia

This is useful… but do all copy editors edit by hand? What about editing using a word processor?

Reply
Asif Khan

They edit on the hard copy

Reply
Karla

Wow, thanks! This definitely was a new information for me.

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