This is the second in a series of articles on technology as it relates to editing.
Nobody’s perfect, but smart use of technology can get us pretty close. There are a number of resources out there that can make your editing life easier and reduce your error rate.
There are three main paid software packages specifically for editors. (I’m ignoring general-use software like Grammarly and others.)
Editor’s ToolKit Plus
Owned by Jack Lyon, The Editorium’s primary product is the Editor’s ToolKit Plus. Many individual functions appear to be available separately as well. The 2018 edition of this software includes Editor's ToolKit, FileCleaner, NoteStripper, ListFixer, MegaReplacer, Puller, WordCounter, QuarkConverter, and InDesignConverter.
Some of the things it can do when you're working in Microsoft Word: show and stet revisions, transpose words and characters quickly, and change case.
Published by wordsnSync (Rich Adin), EditTools includes functions like multifile find, reference checking and formatting, and style management. It is highly customizable and has a Project Switch function to let you save and restore project-specific configuration quickly.
Intelligent Editing’s add-in PerfectIt is billed as “proofreading software.” It lets you customize a style sheet of preferred spellings and conventions and then checks your document for consistency. Now available for Windows and Mac.
The three above tools are largely complementary, with some overlap of function. EditTools seems to focus more on manuscript preparation, Editor’s Toolkit focuses more on the editing process itself and making it more efficient, and PerfectIt is something you’d run at the end (and maybe the beginning, too) of an editing pass to find consistency issues.
There are also free resources available. The most full-featured set of macros I know of is Paul Beverley’s. They cover a wide array of different functions. My personal favourite is ProperNounAlyze, which has caught many an easy-to-miss spelling discrepancy. See his book for the full list. He also provides training videos.
And the Copyediting-L webpage also links to other free macro resources.
But never forget the “no-tech” solutions. The most important thing an editor can do, more important than any software, is having a complete and well-maintained style sheet for each project and using checklists. A simple Google search will return many different checklists you can work with. What’s important is that you have checklists that cover the sort of work you do and that include the elements you find yourself forgetting sometimes. Checklists are an excellent way to ensure each project is handled consistently, and it will save you more than once from an embarrassing error or omission.
Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in any of the tools listed, nor have I been asked or induced to include anything. These are my personal opinions based on my own research and knowledge.
Is there special software that you use? Are there specific checklists or macros that have helped you? If so, please share in the comments!