Different types and levels of editing



There are different types of editors who are skilled in a variety of editing fields.

Often an editor is required to multitask and wear the hats of project editor, content editor, developmental editor, substantive editor, and copyeditor (to name a few) all at the same time.

I hope to simplify and condense the varying roles, to a certain degree, by providing broad definitions of the different levels of editing.

The level at which an editor operates depends on your requirements and the quality and scope of work.

  • professionally written documents and laid-out pages qualify for proofreading – it is a last check of a document before it goes to print
  • the content is not re-edited unless there are glaring errors
  • proofreading can be described as a quality check – typographical errors, consistency in language usage and formatting (table of contents, page numbers, headings, spacing, tables, graphs, footnotes), conformity with style guide.


Light edit
  • punctuation, punctuation, spelling and grammatical errors
  • typographical errors and inconsistencies
  • rewriting some text to ensure clarity of meaning
  • providing editing comments and suggestions
  • compliance with style guide
  • proofreading.


Standard edit
  • all the above
  • rewriting ambiguous sentences
  • restructuring sentences, paragraphs and sections
  • checking for consistency within a document and checking accuracy of diagrams and illustrations
  • formatting and compliance with style guide.


Advanced edit
  • all the above, plus reorganising content and structure
  • clarifying meaning
  • checking consistency and suitability of tone
  • ensuring content flows in a logical sequence
  • identifying areas of ambiguity, inaccuracy, wordiness and redundancy
  • identifying inappropriate jargon, socially unacceptable content or possible legal infringements (copyright, libel, plagiarism)
  • verifying and revising incorrect facts
  • adding information and negotiating changes with authors.