15 July, 2014
By Daniel Heuman
I've never understood why people think I must be a good editor just because I designed PerfectIt. PerfectIt is used by over 1000 professional editors around the world, including over 400 members of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. But I didn't design PerfectIt because I'm a good editor. I designed it because I'm a terrible editor!
There are certain types of mistakes that I find especially difficult to spot. They are:
I found that it's particularly difficult to keep track of all these things at once. Many professional editors recommend making a style sheet or reading through the text multiple times. Those are both helpful suggestions. However, I worked in a consultancy where we had to get documents right despite time pressure and tight deadlines. I may not actually be the worst editor in the world; but with a limited amount of time for editing, mistakes did slip through. I developed PerfectIt to make sure that didn't happen.
I get phone calls from people asking if PerfectIt will do their editing for them. It won't. And I actually enjoy (nicely) telling those callers that we don't want their business. PerfectIt does not take away the need for careful editing. To paraphrase Dr McCoy, I'm a software developer, not a miracle worker.
What PerfectIt does is make difficult editing tasks easier and faster. Even if you have the time to manually read through once for capitalization and hyphenation, and then read through again for title case and acronym definitions, that probably still won't be as accurate as a software checker. PerfectIt can compare every hyphenated word to every non-hyphenated word in a matter of seconds. It does the same for capitalized words, numbers in sentences, acronym definitions, title case, spellings, comments and more. It's faster, and (like having a second pair of eyes to look over the text) it leaves your text looking a lot better. That's why so many professional editors use it.
I'm not the best editor in the world, but I can give some editing advice: computer software will not edit your text for you. However, there are programs that can help you to save time and deliver better documents. To try PerfectIt for free, download it now.
Daniel Heuman is the Managing Director of Intelligent Editing and the developer of PerfectIt.