Proofreading 1: Introduction

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for beginners contemplating a career as a proofreader and for those who need to proofread as part of their job but have had little formal training. It is designed as a taster to answer the question ‘Is proofreading for me?' You will need further training and practice to become a competent proofreader.

Course description

'Proofreading' can mean different things in different contexts. This course looks at the role of a proofreader, what kinds of errors they are looking for, how much they should change and how to mark corrections.

Most proofreading today is done on screen, on PDF, so we focus on how to mark corrections clearly and efficiently on PDF using the Adobe commenting tools. We also introduce you to the BSI marks, which can be used on paper or in a PDF, and to proofreading in Microsoft Word using Track Changes.

By the time you’ve completed the course, you should be familiar with the following aspects of the profession:

  • the types of error a proofreader is expected to spot and correct
  • how to mark those errors on paper and onscreen using BSI symbols, PDF markup tools and Word's Track Changes
  • some of the common editorial conventions in the UK and how to apply them
  • an understanding of how to exercise judgement in how much to change
  • the difference between proofreading and proof-editing
  • the importance of obtaining sufficient guidance from the client about the work they expect you to do
  • where proofreading 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 grow your skills with Proofreading 2: Headway.

Requirements for taking this course

  • Fluency in English
  • Good general knowledge of English grammar
  • Wide general knowledge
  • Basic working knowledge of Microsoft Word
  • Basic familiarity with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

While the course provides helpful links to information on these requirements, it does not teach the rules of grammar or spelling, nor does it cover how to use the software.

How is the course delivered?

This course is available as an online self-assessed course (e-learning) or as a live virtual learning course.

Other course features

During the course, you’ll have access to:

  • an experienced tutor, and the chance to ask them questions
  • homework exercises to help you practise your craft.

It is now very clear to me that there is a very large and precise skill set required to be a proofreader and it is not simply a matter of being a relatively literate person. This course has given me a good insight into the complexity.


I thought overall this is a great course, I’ll keep practising and and using the material until the deadline. Can’t fault the course.


Very helpful to someone starting out. The course balances exacting exercises with positive support.


I really enjoyed this course. I had moments at the beginning where I questioned if I was cut out for it but the further into the course I got the more enjoyable it become.


It was pitched at the right level, scary enough to make you think, but also providing the information and exercises to start to give you confidence.


A very helpful course with a good variety of exercises and study notes.


Availability, prices and upgrade points

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Other price discounts are available. See the fees page.

Prices are exclusive of tax, which will be added automatically at your local rate at checkout.