Editing and Proofreading Checklist – Updated in 2022!

Janet Phelps       

When you begin editing and proofreading your text, start with larger problems, such as clarity and structure. Make your focus increasingly narrower as you work. Focus on your overall points or arguments, then paragraphs, then sentences. After you have edited for content, structure, and quality, move on to proofreading for grammar.


  • Content is accurate, suits the purpose of the project, and follows all guidelines
  • Title is informative and engaging
  • Page is formatted according to industry or project standards
  • I have a thesis statement or main point to my writing
  • I have an introduction
  • I have a conclusion
  • I have transitions between my paragraphs
  • I have covered all necessary points for my topic
  • All necessary information needed for my audience to understand my text is provided
  • All paragraphs have one subject
  • All paragraphs are clear
  • I have eliminated unnecessary words
  • The tone of my writing matches the audience and subject
  • All sentences have one idea
  • Sentence length varies
  • Sentence meanings are clear
  • Sentences are active, not passive
  • All sources listed in a works cited or bibliography have been used in the text, and all others have been deleted
  • I read the text aloud to find awkward phrases
  • I edited the whole document

When you proofread, read through your text looking for easy to find errors, such as typos, and correct them. Then, focus on more specific errors. Take extra time to look for errors that you make frequently, such as comma mistakes.


  • Check typos
  • Fix spelling errors
  • Paragraphs are indented correctly
  • Industry standard stylistic guidelines have been followed (citations, line spacing, page numbering, title pages, etc.)
  • Verify that any names or strange spellings are accurate
  • Check for sentence fragments
  • Check for run-ons
  • Subjects and verbs agree
  • Word choice is accurate, especially on tricky pairs that a text editor may not catch (your and you’re)
  • Check quotations for proper formatting
  • Check colons and semicolons
  • No comma errors
  • All final punctuation is correct
  • I have not overused ellipses or exclamation points
  • Reread any long or complex sentences for hidden grammar errors
  • I have read the text front-to-back and back-to-front to check for proofreading errors
  • I proofread the whole text