Proofreading Page Proofs

Introduction to Proofreading

Accurate proofreading and clear marking of corrections are indispensable requisites to the production quality of a book. Proofreading is the sole responsibility of the author. No one else will proofread the typeset text. Please read this section carefully and do not hesitate to contact your Wiley Production Editor with any questions or concerns.

General Guidelines for Proofreading

This checklist provides some suggestions to help the author make proof corrections that are clear, concise, and understandable.
  • Proofread slowly and with great care. Do not read at your normal speed as you may easily overlook errors.
  • Make all necessary corrections using the list of Proofreader's Marks included at the end of this document.
  • Always make a backup copy of the proofs after you have finished correcting them. An extra set of “File” proofs has been provided to you for this purpose. Not only will the copy serve as a reference should questions arise later, but it will preserve your work should the proofs you send to Wiley be accidentally misplaced or lost in the mail.
  • Do not enter corrections between lines of type. Such markings can be easily overlooked or misread. Write corrections neatly in the margins.
  • Do not use block capital letters when writing corrections. The typesetter cannot interpret which letters are meant to be capitals and which lowercase.
  • Do not write on the proofs so that the page must be turned to be read. If an addition will not fit, type it on a separate sheet and indicate clearly where it is to be inserted in the text.
  • If an error was made by the typesetter, write and circle the letters "PE" (printer's error—this term is an artifact of the time when printers were also typesetters) in the margin next to your correction. This will prevent printer errors from being charged against your contractual allowance for author's alterations, since these types of errors are corrected free of charge. If a correction appears without the notation "PE," it is assumed to be an author's alteration and the typesetter will charge for making it.
  • Be brief and exact in writing your corrections. Do not give explanations for your alterations. Unnecessary written comments only clutter up the proof page and confuse the typesetter about what change is actually wanted.
  • Draw a vertical line through an incorrect character or a horizontal line through an incorrect word or passage in the text. Write the new text or the instructions to the typesetter in the margin adjacent to the text being corrected.
  • To show that new material is to be added, place a caret (^) at the point in the text line where material is to be added. Then write the new material in the adjacent margin.
  • If there are two or more corrections in a line, the corrections should appear in the margin in their proper order, separated by a slash (/).
  • To show that material crossed out in the text is to be removed, write a deletion sign (see Proofreader's Marks) in the adjacent margin. Do not rewrite the material that is to be deleted next to the deletion sign in the margin. Do not use the deletion sign if new material is to be substituted for the crossed out material.
  • To insert a space, write a caret (^) in the text where the space is wanted, then write the space mark (#) in the adjacent margin.
  • To remove a space, use the close-up sign (see Proofreader's Marks) in both the text and the margin.
  • If you mark type to be deleted and subsequently decide to restore it, write the term "stet" in the margin and then underscore the material to be kept with dots.
Checking Pages

The following list outlines the author’s responsibility for checking page proofs.
  • Your book was set directly into pages, so you will be seeing this set of proofs only. The copyedited manuscript from which the pages were set should also be enclosed with the page proofs.
  • Proofread all typeset material against the manuscript. Please indicate corrections to the pages directly on the page proofs and not in the manuscript or in a list separate from the page proofs.
  • Check the sequence of page numbers to be sure they are in order.
  • Proofread the running heads. Running heads are short referent phrases that appear at the top of each page and usually are associated with the page numbers. Often the left-hand page running head is a short form of the chapter title and the right-hand page running head is a short form of the last major text heading. The typesetter may ask you to provide a shortened version of the chapter title or text heading for this purpose.
  • Check the positioning of all artwork, tables, footnotes, and other display elements. Ideally, an illustration should appear within one page after its text mention. It should not appear before its mention.
  • Check the order of headings, equations, chemical schemes, or any other sequentially numbered elements to be sure they are correct and that nothing has been dropped inadvertently.
  • Check that each figure has been correctly associated with its legend.
  • Answer all queries called out in the pages. Enter any needed cross-reference page numbers. Technical queries related to type size, spacing, and so on, are directed to your production editor and should not concern you.
  • If you have received the Contents for the book or your chapter contains a Contents, enter all page numbers and cross check the headings in the text against those listed in the contents to be certain they are consistent.
Electronic Proofs

An alternative to reading printed proofs is to receive your proofs in electronic format. Wiley calls this kind of proofreading method “E-proofing.” Wiley typesetters can supply your book’s proofs for proofreading in a pdf file format. Additional instructions will be supplied regarding how to download your page files from the typesetter’s ftp site, or a compressed file can be sent as an email attachment. No printed version of your text will be sent. Using this format saves mailing time and costs. If this form of proofing appeals to you, please contact your Production Editor for more information and specific instructions about how to provide E-proof corrections.

Returning the Pages to Wiley

When you have completed checking the pages and have made a copy of your corrected material (i.e., transferred your corrections to the File set of proofs) return the corrected set and the copyedited manuscript to your Production Editor. Use a reliable and traceable express mail service. If you are unsure how to mail your material back, consult your Production Editor.


If you cannot meet the schedule set up by your Production Editor, please let her or him know as early as possible so that the typesetter and all concerned at Wiley can plan to handle the material effectively when you eventually send it in. Your publication date may also be affected, which will impact marketing data, cover design schedules, as well as the printer's schedule. If you inform your Production Editor early, she or he may be able to make arrangements for you to return your material to Wiley, which may help to offset further delays later on in the overall schedule.

Author’s Alterations (AAs)

Your contract with Wiley stipulates what budgetary amount you are allowed for altering your material once it has been set into type. This amount, usually referred to as author’s alterations or AAs, is usually related to a percentage of the overall cost of composition. If you exceed this amount, the overage may be charged against your royalties.

Revisions to typeset material are far more costly than the initial typesetting, as even the smallest change to a page requires time and expense to make. The error will require replacement of at least one line of type, and possibly many more, creation of a new proof, proofreading, and, if another error is introduced, a repetition of this process. Extensive alterations in page proofs can affect the paging of the entire book and delay creation of the index as well as the finalizing of the Contents. These changes, of course, take time and may jeopardize the publication date by adding unanticipated tasks to the proof stages. Late publication may also mean that sales are hurt, particularly if your title is scheduled to appear at a conference or meeting where many potentially interested participants will attend.

Your Production Editor will advise you if you are exceeding your contracted AA allowance. She or he also can assist you in helping to identify the causes of the alterations and suggest ways to minimize them.

How to Avoid Excessive Author's Alterations
  • If alterations must be made in proofs, try to maintain the number of lines on the page. If you must add two lines of text, try to compensate for this by deleting two lines elsewhere on the page, if possible, or within a page or two of the additions.
  • Confine your alterations only to errors of fact. Do not alter style or word choices.
  • Typeset proofs should never be considered as “drafts.” Reviewing of page proofs is not the time to decide to polish your language, check the math, change your notation, or add the latest findings.
During the production process, which begins with copyediting and ends with the publication of a bound book, never hesitate to consult your Wiley Production Editor with any questions or concerns.

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