Jan 15

Information on Levels of Editing

Although our course will be focusing on basic copyediting, proofreading, and comprehensive editing, you should be aware of the “five levels of edit” (borrowed with permission from Dr. Palmer’s Technical Editing syllabus):

  1. substantive/organization edit – is there enough of the right kind of information to convince your reader to act? is the information culturally inoffensive? is it organized logically and effectively?
  2. language and mechanics edit – is the spelling and grammar correct? are sentences punctuated correctly? is the information accurate?
  3. graphic/document design edit – are graphics properly titled and labelled? are photos properly cropped? are there navigational aides to guide the reader through the material quickly?
  4. unity/coherence edit – are text and graphic integrated effectively? do all the pieces work together to effectively convince the reader to take the desired action?
  5. policy edit – does all information adhere to company policy? is the document free from statements that could reflect negatively on the company? does it contain the company logo?

Further information about the five levels of edit can be found here: “Levels of Edit”

On the other hand, some editors and technical writers use the three-level approach; the writers of Technical Editing in the 21st Century approach texts in this order: editing for correctness, editing for visual readability, and editing for effectiveness.

  • Editing for Correctness fixes grammar and mechanics within text
  • Editing for Visual Readability looks for document design issues
  • Editing for Effectiveness examines content issues such as organization, sentence structure, style, logic, and meaning