1. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Then proofread more.
…9. Check to be sure that correct casing has been used. Generally, this means using only lower case for all HTML tags and attributes. Use upper case or upper-and-lower case only in content or values that your site visitor will see, to comply with standard English usage.
…11. If you can’t find an error in your code on the computer monitor, print the code and proofread it again. Place a straight-edge under each line of code to proofread it more accurately.
…12. Use an HTML validator to help find mistakes in code. Open your page in Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver will highlight some HTML code errors.
…14. Be sure to test your pages on several different browsers.
…15. Have a friend proofread your code and content.
…16. Take a break. It’s easy to miss errors when you have been reading something for too long.
…17. Use a spell checker.
…18. Read your content out loud.
The last set are excellent for proofreading your content. Start with spell check, then read it out loud, and then have a friend read it. Be careful to explain you want it checked for errors, not rewritten.
Take a break is very important. I often write an article, then go onto another one, before coming back and checking the first one for errors. I often catch tiny glitches I overlooked before.
I have written more than a lifetime’s share of technical manuals, tedious transcriptions, and legal rambling. Bored with the topic, I find it helps to proof the material by reading it backwards, letter by letter or word by word. I catch a lot of errors that way as it forces my brain to break it’s familiar patterns.
If I can’t find the error, I take a break and then change the rules. If I’m proofing on the screen, I’ll print out a copy and go over the paper. If I’m really frustrated, I’ll pack up my computer and take it to another room or outside, changing the working environment. I do whatever it takes to change the way I’m proofing the material, which interrupts the “traditional” method and forces my brain to think from a new perspective.
I’ve found that when I’m really stuck with proofreading content, or especially when some bit of code is making me completely bonkers, I will explain it someone else. Typically, that’s my husband who has learned HTML, CSS, and PHP by osmosis. I’ll explain it to him in way too much detail, and in the process my head will go ping and I’ll get the light bulb clue of what needs to be fixed. I’ll interrupt myself with a “I got it!” shout and turn to the computer and fix it, and he will sigh with relief.
So what are your proofreading tips and tricks?
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