Photograph of a fence made-up garden tools.
Image by HOervin56

Are you a developmental editor? A copyeditor? Line editor? Proofreader? What tools do you use to support the editing work you do? Having the right tools for each aspect of editing can improve writing quality and editing efficiency.

At Queen’s Professional Studies, our online courses go through four stages of editing, as they’re described in the Professional Editing Standards Certificate courses:

  • Structural (content and structure)
  • Stylistic (paragraph and sentence-level)
  • Copyediting (word-level, punctuation, clarity, and consistency)
  • Proofreading (quality check, layout)

Here are the tools we use to ensure the best outcome at each stage of editing:

Structural and Stylistic

We use Microsoft Word to develop courses. The following features in Word help us to develop course structure and content:

  • Styles Gallery, Styles Pane, and the Navigation Pane, to view structure and to make learning tasks easy to move around
  • View, New Window to crosscheck, or to work in different places in the document at the same time
  • Quick Parts, to insert standard instructions common across courses
  • The FRedit macro, a Microsoft Word add-on by Paul Beverley, to help with word choice and to identify areas where the learning needs to be more explicit
  • Read Aloud for focus, to spot missed words, and for accessibility checks

We use the Hemingway Editor to check the readability of the learning, and to adjust vocabulary and language levels. We also refer to Writing for the Web by Jakob Nielsen.



We use a variety of tools at the copyediting stage:

  • The Chicago Manual of Style online, for style decisions
  • The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) and APA Style Blog, for style decisions
  • Google Sheets, to record entries in a living style sheet
  • Microsoft Word
    • Find and Replace
    • Wildcards
    • FRedit Macro add-on
  • Advanced Find and Replace for Microsoft Word, by Jack Lyon for using less know Find and Replace features in Word
  • PerfectIt, to check consistency, list styles, and check the document against our in-house style sheet
  • Editor’s Toolkit for file clean-up and to apply a variety of style decisions

Did you know? Editors who take Professional Studies Editing Standards Certificate courses also have access to Chicago online while taking a course.



Proofreading occurs in Desire2Learn, the learning platform we use, after the web developer builds the course. The final version is crosschecked against the copyedited version and then goes through a blind proofread to ensure that the course is learner-ready.

Want to develop excellence in editing and discover the editing strategies behind the tools listed in this post? Sign up for one of the Professional Editing Standards Certificate courses and take your editing to the next level.