Improve your work

Before asking for a quote, do these easy fixes below. For deeper fixes, use my Free Tools (see right or below). Then I can work more quickly and charge you less.

~ page numbers, and bullet points where appropriate

~ quotes, examples, and evidence into separate paragraphs or text boxes

~ chapter beginnings and endings to ensure that transitions fit your outline
~ headings with “Outline View” in MS Word for logic and fit with the first paragraph
~ legal requirements regarding privacy, rights, and acknowledgments

~ subsections that break the text into easy-to-read chunks

~ accuracy of Table of Contents and page numbers

~ chapter titles and section subheadings

Introduce your book or document
~ Introduce multiple authors, acknowledge other contributors. Say why you wrote it, outline the content, and put it in context. Compare it with similar books, and advise how readers could use it (e.g. as a field guide).

For students:

For self-publishing authors:


Free tools

For improvements down to the sentence level, use these spelling and grammar checkers, readability measures, guides to better style, and more.

Readability checkers

www.readable.io. Highly recommended.
Automatically checks your text as soon as you paste it. Also does web pages and .pdf’s. Offers bulk processing with a Premium account.

Online-Utility.org   Highly recommended
This site has several useful tools.The Readability Calculator is under the English Language tab, and calculates readability using several measures: the Coleman-Liau index, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, ARI (Automated Readability Index), and SMOG.

Improve your style with brevity tips

Based on Strunk and White’s classic.

Aimed at bloggers but applicable to all writing.

Common errors

Top Twenty Specific Problems
by Professor Paul Hensel, U. North Texas

Twelve Common Errors
U Wisconsin Writing Centre

Commonly confused words
Search: Oxford Dictionaries
Lists: U. Richmond Writing Centre and Santa Monica College.

Idioms, figures of speech, and expressions
Highly recommended!

Check spelling and grammar

Warning : Grammar checkers often give different results from each other, and from MS Word. Does it mean they make errors, or that English changes, or the rules change? See two tests of Grammarly.com, on my blog and on Grammarist.

MS Word can check both grammar and style. In File/Options/Proofing, find Writing Style. In the drop down menu, Choose Grammar and Style, then click Settings. Check the boxes for the aspects of Grammar that you want Word to include when spell checking, and then boxes for aspects of Style.

When the spellchecker is running, see the Options box in the lower left corner to see for the choices. After spellchecking is done, another box will pop up, giving you document statistics, and also readability grades. See Wikipedia about these tests: Flesch Reading Ease, and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level.

Other spelling and grammar checkers

http://www.afterthedeadline.com from Automattic (the WordPress people). You can also get it as a Firefox add-on.


Academic tools

Plagiarism checker.
Find copies of your page on the web: www.copyscape.com/

Citation Styles.
Collected tools for APA, MLA, Turabian, and Chicago (MLS) at U. Pittsburgh library, and  Bibme.
Visual method for MLA: The Visual Communications Guy

Editor's tools

Grammar terms

How to write a style guide

Download a free book by Paul Beverley, “Computer Tools for Editors.” The site has a range of instructional tools on how to use macros, and a free program “FRedit” that does find-and-replace.