Copyediting 1: Introduction

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for anyone contemplating a career in copyediting and for those who need to copyedit as part of their job but who have had little formal training.

Course description

This course demonstrates the basics of how to copyedit Word documents using Track Changes. It explains the differences between proofreading and copyediting, and gives information and exercises on how a copyeditor works on various types of text, including text with illustrations.

This course is available as an online self-assessed course (see below) or as a workshop.

As part of the online course, you will have the support of a tutor, who is available for 1 hour of support. Further hours can be purchased at £35 per hour.

What you should know after the course

This course teaches the very basics of copyediting; on its own it does not provide the thorough grounding needed to work as a professional copyeditor. Apart from introducing the basics of copyediting, the course is also designed as a taster to answer the question 'Is copyediting for me?' After taking this course, you should be very clear on the differences between proofreading and copyediting, and the following aspects of the profession:

  • the types of error a copyeditor is expected to spot and correct
  • how to mark those errors efficiently using Track Changes in Word
  • some of the common editorial conventions in British and US English and how to apply them effectively
  • the basics of dealing with text elements such as notes, referencing and illustrations
  • an understanding of how to exercise judgement in how much to change and how to communicate effectively with the author on queries or suggestions
  • the importance of obtaining sufficient guidance from the client about the work they expect you to do
  • where copyediting fits into a variety of publishing processes.

At the end of this course, you will not have sufficient training to start work. We suggest that you consolidate your skills with Copyediting 2: Headway.

It's a good, brief introduction to the subject which doesn't overwhelm or overload.


I'm happy with all that was covered in this course. There are more things I would like to learn, as editing different formats, e.g. tables, or different layouts, e.g. how text and images work in magazines, newspapers, journals, etc. But I'm aware that this is only an introductory course and meant to give us a taste of what copy-editing is.


Each topic was covered in enough depth to provide a basic introduction to the different types of publication a copyeditor could work on, without it becoming overwhelming for a beginner.


Not only is it logical but also enjoyable.


Availability, prices and upgrade points

  Online Workshop
Price (members)    
Price (non-members)    
CIEP upgrade points 3 3
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Other price discounts are available. See the fees page.

All workshops take place over 1 day. Online courses take between 10 and 35 hours to complete, depending on the course, but you have access to the course materials for 6 months.

Online course structure

Time allowed for access: 6 months CIEP upgrade points: 3
Approximate study time needed to complete the course: 15–20 hours

This is a self-assessed course. You will be assigned a tutor who will be available for up to 1 hour of support (usually by email) but the tutor does not mark any of your work. When you have finished the course you can download and print a certificate that states that you have completed the course.

The online course follows the syllabus as described in the screen below.

Unit 1 explains the difference between copyediting and proofreading, and their functions in the publishing process. It addresses the considerations required for efficient and effective copyediting and explains the concept of coding. Common stylistic conventions in British and US English texts are explained, together with the role of house style guides, and frequently encountered problems with grammar and unclear meaning are discussed.

Unit 2 describes the different kinds of publishing contexts in which a copyeditor may work and offers a checklist for efficient working.

Unit 3 explores how the demands of copyediting fiction differ from working on non-fiction texts.

Unit 4 looks at features of non-fiction texts that a copyeditor must deal with, and introduces the concept of notes and referencing.

Unit 5 considers what the copyeditor needs to be aware of when editing humorous texts.

Unit 6 explains how to approach editing texts with illustrations and tables.

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