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Writing and editing Editing and proofreading


Editing and proofreading are important and crucial steps in the content creation process. These steps ensure that your content is clear, focused, error-free and high quality.


Edit your content to make sure it gives your users the information they need as quickly and easily as possible. When doing so, think about the structure of your content (opens in a new tab) , both overall, and of the paragraphs and sentences.

Editing tips

When editing, make sure your content:

  • starts with the most important information – known as frontloading (opens in a new tab) 
  • has a clear structure and logical section headings
  • has just one topic per paragraph
  • uses plain language and short sentences – a maximum of 25 words
  • uses the active voice
  • uses consistent terminology, spellings, tone and formatting in line with house style; see words to watch
  • explains acronyms and abbreviations in the first instance in a section – do not assume the user has prior knowledge of the subject

To edit you should:

  • read the content aloud to help you identify where sentences may be too long or complex
  • read slowly so you see what is there – not what you expect to see
  • ask someone else to read your draft


Proofread your final, edited content to make sure your work is error-free. The proofread is your final check before you send content to be published.

Proofreading tips

  • Check for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
  • Check your content for any words to watch
  • Read the content aloud to help you identify where sentences may be too long or complex.
  • Read it slowly so you see what is there – not what you expect to see.
  • Check for errors in any datasets and charts.
  • Check the format – delete any extra line spaces and check how the paragraphs are formatted.
  • Ensure any headings are labelled with the correct heading level and label in the document.
  • Ask someone else to proofread your draft.

The Content Design team also will do a final proofread of your content for house style and spelling errors when you submit it. This proofread is essential for consistency and maintaining standards and cannot be skipped.

Using spellcheckers

Spellings should be checked against the Cambridge Dictionary (opens in a new tab) 

The only exception is that we use the “-ise” word ending and not “-ize”. Always use the spellchecker before submitting your content, and make sure that the spellchecker is set to UK rather than US spellings.

Always use the facility in your CMS, if possible. Your work must always be proofread too, as correctly spelt words can be used in the wrong context.

You have to reap what you sew