Difference Between Proofreading and Editing

Main Difference – Proofreading vs Editing

Although many people assume that proofreading and editing refer to the same thing, they are two stages of the publishing process. Any type of writing goes through the processes of proofreading and editing. Both proofreading and editing may involve correcting stylistic and grammatical errors. However, there are different editing processes and editor posts such as technical editing, copy editing, substantive editing, etc. Editing may include checking spelling and grammatical error to changing whole sections of a work. Proofreading is a light form of editing which is done after typesetting and before publishing. Proofreading involves correcting typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, spelling, and style. This is the main difference between proofreading and editing.

This article explains,

1. What is Proofreading? – Functions, Role of a Proofreader

2. What is Editing? – Functions, Role of a Editor

3. Comparison and Key Differences Between Proofreading and Editing

Difference Between Proofreading and Editing - infographic

What is Proofreading

Proofreading is usually done after copy editing and typesetting, but before the publication. Proofreading involves checking for accuracy in the text, consistency in usage and layout and typesetting errors. Errors of capitalization, punctuation and spelling are also checked in proofreading. Proofreaders also check for consistency and accuracy in the reference list, diagrams, illustrations, headings, footnotes, page numbers, etc. Proofreaders make sure that the editor and the writer have not missed anything. It’s the editor who is responsible for the overall quality of the text since the text has been already revised and corrected before being typeset. 

Proofreading should be done only after your text has been edited. There is no use in suggesting major changes (revising whole paragraphs, adding new pages, etc.) after proofreading since typesetting has been already completed.

Key Differences Between Proofreading and Editing

What is Editing

Editing is the process of improving the formatting, style, and accuracy of a text. The process of editing includes spelling and grammar corrections, checking the logical flow of ideas and verifying facts and figures.

Editing can be classified into two types known as substantive editing and copy editing. Substantive editing involves correcting the structure, coherence, and logical consistency of a text. At this stage, entire sections (paragraphs, sentences, etc.) of the text can be modified, expanded, condensed or deleted. Copy editing involves correcting issues in grammar, spelling, jargon, etc. This also includes checking for factual errors, repetition, and word usage.

An editor is usually a person who has specialized knowledge in a particular field. Therefore he may use his specialized knowledge to clarify and improve the text.

Difference Between Proof Reading and Editing

Difference Between Proofreading and Editing


Proofreading is done after editing and typesetting.

Editing is done before proofreading.


Proofreading makes only minor changes.

Editing can make major changes. Entire sections of a text can be revised, modified or deleted in the substantive editing process.


Proofreading checks the consistency in usage and layout, accuracy in the text and references and typesetting.

Editing checks the accuracy, structure, coherence, and logical consistency of a text.


Proofreading checks the consistency of layout.

Editing does not check the consistency of layout.


Proofreading ensures that the editor and writer have not missed anything important.

Editing is responsible for the overall quality of a text.

Image Courtesy:

“Image 1″ (Public Domain) via Pixbay

“2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) – 31″ by Nic McPhee (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.