Writing (including rewriting)

  • Writing to the tone, style and reading level requested, based on original research and/or supplied materials. Also writing metadata for web pages

Copy editing

  • Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation and other mechanics of style, ensuring consistency throughout
  • Writing or editing photo captions, credit lines and other non-body text, if needed
  • Negotiating changes with author or supplying changes to the client to negotiate with the author. This applies to stylistic and substantive editing, too

Stylistic editing

  • Clarifying meaning, getting rid of jargon and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing
  • Correcting the reading level, if needed

Substantive (structural) editing

  • Clarifying and possibly reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure

Developmental/project editing

  • Co-ordinating and editing from proposal to final document, integrating input from authors, consultants and reviewers
  • Budgeting, hiring, design supervision and project co-ordination could all be part of the job


  • Substantiating the accuracy of a document's facts by referring to original sources used by the author and/or other sources


  • Reading proofs of the edited document
  • Comparing formatted pages to mock-up, checking for correct page breaks, page numbers, titles and location of art
  • Checking hyperlinks and formatting for web pages, and blueprints, colour keys and press proofs for print publications

Photo research

  • Locating photos/artwork with appropriate resolution for web or print
  • Could include negotiating fees with photographers or stock agencies, obtaining photo releases, and writing captions, credits and other relevant text

Definitions adapted from the Editors Canada’s Definitions of Editorial Skills.

I certainly appreciate all of your effort and attention to the details of our business and your great project management skill. You've been really flexible with our changing situation and you have been just generally very pleasant to work with.

– Lori Pratt
Manager, NUANS Program,
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada, Ottawa