Types of editing services available

…or, “what’s the difference between editing and proofreading?”

Not sure of what type of service you need? Here’s a guide to the different types of editing services provided by Xpert Editorial.

In the context of document editing, the process can be split into the following three levels:


Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process, done just before going to print or publishing to the web.

At this point, the material will have been reviewed by one or more people and most of the kinks will have been ironed out. The purpose of proofreading, therefore, is to do a final check for any small errors or inconsistencies that may have been missed previously.

This final ‘spit and polish’ stage includes a final check for:

  • typographical errors

  • errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation

  • accuracy of cross-references, abbreviations lists, tables of contents, bibliography and pagination

  • consistency of formatting and styles, including headings, captions, body text and bullet points

  • consistency of language and jargon

  • any other minor errors that may not have been picked up earlier.

Copy editing

Copy editing is a medium-level editing process.

If your document hasn’t been checked by anyone since it was first drafted, or if the material has only been checked briefly due to lack of time or appropriately skilled people, then copy editing is probably the right service for you.

This service includes everything listed under proofreading, as well as identification and correction of:

  • low level presentation and layout issues, including graphics

  • low level readability and clarity issues, including information duplication, and appropriateness of language and overall tone to target audience

  • any other issues requiring a moderate rewrite of some of the content.

If potentially larger issues exist resulting in the need for a more significant rewrite of the material, these will be identified and a substantive edit suggested.

Substantive editing

Also referred to as structural editing, comprehensive editing, developmental editing, or ‘heavy’ editing.

Copy editing is largely based on rules (grammar, punctuation, spelling etc.), consistency (formatting, presentation, facts etc.), and general readability (tone, language etc.), and a small amount of rewriting may be involved on the part of the editor.

Substantive editing, however, involves doing a structural review, or a fairly significant rewrite, on part or all of the document’s content.

If a substantive edit is what you need, you will receive the same service as is included in copy editing, as well as a more thorough review to ensure:

  • logical flow of ideas

  • appropriateness and consistency of language and jargon

  • removal of duplication and ambiguity

  • appropriateness and best possible use of visual presentation, including layout and use of graphics

  • any other issues requiring a ‘heavier’ rewrite of the content.

Want to have a chat?

Have a project you need help with but not sure what level of service you need? Please call me or send me an email.

Editing for businesses

Meticulous, high quality and affordable corporate document proofreading and editing services available. Ideally suited to small and medium-sized businesses.


Editing for individuals

Editing and proofreading services available for individuals such as job seekers, tertiary students, academics and those with English as a Second Language (ESL) document needs.


Design and desktop publishing

Document formatting, template and styles setup, PowerPoint presentations, desktop publishing and more.