Editing Tips

General Guidelines for Outsourcing Editing Jobs

  • Allow at least a day or two for editing shorter jobs like emails and a week or two for complex edits (and longer for books!).
  • Some products, such as articles and books, likely need both a substantive edit and a copy edit. Smaller, less content-dense products, such as brochures, fact sheets, and emails, may only need a copy edit. All products should be proofread once they are in their final, typeset format (i.e., the book proof read).
  • It is much easier (on all sides!) to edit and track changes to text in Word. Whenever possible, send Word files for editing prior to flowing them into a design template/PDF, and accept/reject all recommended changes and address all comments prior to sending to the designer.

Levels of Editing

Substantive editing (subediting)

  • Suggest segues when needed (e.g., between levels of headings)
  • Look at overall structure of piece
    • Is there a sufficient introduction and conclusion? Does the flow make sense?
    • Are references to internal items/sections treated correctly?
  • Check structure of and parallelism in lists
  • Correct subject/verb agreement
  • In discussions of tables/figures, ensure the text agrees with what appears in the table/figure
  • Apply grammar and CFA Institute style
  • Create a style sheet to establish decisions on hyphenation, spelling, etc.


  • Edit references
  • Ensure all references have a call-out in text
  • Correct punctuation
  • Fact-check names of important people, company/organization names, titles of books and articles, etc.
  • Check spelling and formatting of tables/figures
  • Check equations for our style

Book proof editing (proofreading)

  • Correct spelling; correct punctuation
  • Subject/verb agreement
  • Check for that/which distinction
  • Check for internal consistency: hyphenation, formatting, etc.
  • Check running heads and footers
  • Check page numbers on table of contents against pages in piece
  • Check author names for consistency on cover, table of contents, etc.
  • Only suggest change of wording if it corrects an obvious error or clarifies something very confusing