BSI proof-correction marks

We are often asked questions about the proofreading BSI marks. Click any of the three most common questions below to see the corresponding answer.

Do I need to know about the proofreading marks to take one of the CIEP's e-learning or virtual learning courses?

We teach the use of proofreading marks on Proofreading 1: Introduction. For the other proofreading courses in particular, you will be at a disadvantage if you have not taken this course and do not know how to use the BSI symbols.

Why do you continue to use the proofreading marks when in the 'real world' they are being used less and less?

The answer is twofold.

  1. The marks may be used less frequently than they used to be, but they are still used, they are recognised as British and international standards, and it is not unreasonable for a client to expect a proofreader or copyeditor to know about this most basic tool of the trade.
  2. The marks are a very efficient language telling the typesetter precisely what changes to make, with no ambiguity and a minimum of fuss and clutter. This visual 'language' presents complex information simply, and we use it – particularly for the answers to exercises – throughout all our e-learning courses.

How do I find out how to use the proofreading marks so that I can take one of your courses?

Well, you can take a course that explains how the marks are used – perhaps our Proofreading 1: Introduction. But we are asked this question so often that we have put together a downloadable sneak preview (204KB PDF) to show, by giving a few examples, how the proofreading marks are designed to work.

This sneak preview focuses on proofreading. If you are confused about the differences between copyediting and proofreading, see our FAQs to find out more.

Our e-learning and virtual learning proofreading and copyediting courses include a PDF file of the most commonly used BSI marks. If you are not planning to take a course, you can buy a hard copy of Marks for Copy Preparation and Proof Correction (extracted from BS 5261-2:2005) from the CIEP.

Buy a copy of the BSI marks