Copy editing is a near last step in preparing a manuscript (i.e., copy) for submission. During copy editing, the editor improves the manuscript’s style, accuracy, and formatting. The editor attempts to keep the text close to the original (any major restructuring and revisions have already been completed). As your copy editor, I will ensure that
- sentences read smoothly, have a consistent (and appropriate) style and tone, and have been corrected for spelling, punctuation, usage, grammar, and consistency (such as in how abbreviations are used);
- ideas are expressed clearly and accurately;
- the text is as concise as possible;
- the progression of sentences, paragraphs, and sections makes good sense (through a logical sequence and explicit transitions);
- and the whole is labeled (e.g., figures, tables, cross-references) and formatted properly (given disciplinary conventions, submission guidelines, and citation formatting requirements).
After the writer has made or approved the copy editor’s recommended changes, the manuscript is ready for proofreading. Proofreading is performed on a completely finished manuscript (i.e., a proof). It is the final step before submission.