Book Editing[This guest post was written by Amy Cowen, a writer who learned a lot about online proofreading tools while editing her own articles. Today Amy is happy to share a few tips with you.]

Proofreading software saves you time in two ways. Firstly, it picks up on the easy mistakes. That is why most people run a spelling and grammar check as soon as they finish their work. The second time you use it, you do so to double check your changes near the end of the final draft. You check for places where you may have repeated yourself or cut a line short without realizing. Here are three proofreading programs and services that you can access online to save yourself a little time when proofreading.

Proofread By GrammarBase

This highly-rated tool helps you manually proofread your own work. It’s a web-based tool, which means there is no downloading and the computation is done on their server. It will work with most of the popular web browsers and you may either copy and paste the text onto the screen, or you can upload the file to Proofread and have it checked that way. (Depending on length, you may be required to upload the document).

Proofread will tell  you how many critical mistakes you have made. These are mistakes that could potentially make your work appear of lower quality. As you know, a simple grammatical mistake may change the point of what you are saying entirely. It will then give you suggestions for things you can change within the text. Like any spelling and grammar program, you do not have to accept any of the suggestions.

The tool also shows you on the left of the screen some of your writing trouble-spots, including: redundant expressions, repeated words, incorrect spelling, missing hyphens, complex expressions, and passive voice.

There are times when Proofread may give you false positives, such as how Americans and the British spell things differently. Or, it may give a false positive if you use certain business names where the name is spelled correctly but it looks wrong, such as the company FCUK.

SpellCheck Plus

This is a very good tool to have on your side. It is able to catch errors that other tools will not. This means that the programming is probably not based on the back of copied code. If you are smart, then you will use a lot of these free online tools because the more you use then the higher the chances that you’ll catch every mistake. But, if they are all based on the same programming, then you are just using the same tool with a difference façade. As I said above, this tool catches some of the errors that others miss, so it’s worth trying. Just copy and paste your text into the tool and click the button to start. It highlights your grammar mistakes in yellow and your spelling mistakes in red.

SpellCheck Plus is very good for taking that second run at your work when you’re closer to the final draft. This is because it gives suggestion on words you may have missed. There are some very subtle typos you can make that few spellcheckers will find. For example, “don” and “done” will not trigger a spelling correction, but SpellCheck Plus will pick up on it and ask if you want to change it.

Language Tool

This is a free spelling and grammar-checking tool you can use online. You paste your text into the tool, press the button, and you are taken to the results screen. Your potential grammar problems are highlighted in yellow and your potential spelling mistakes are highlighted in red. The greatest thing about this tool is the fact you are able to choose the type of English you are writing. The US and British forms differ, as do some of the others around the world. There are many tools that do not offer you the option of picking the type of English you want checked, which is why this tool is so helpful.

What program do you use to proofread, spellcheck, or edit your writing? Let us know in the comments below.

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