Proofreading marks and symbols

Although a significant amount of editing and proofreading is now done using tools such as Microsoft’s track changes feature and Adobe’s commenting tool, you may find yourself faced with traditional proofreading marks and symbols on a printed document someday. The following list shows some of the most common proofreading marks and symbols and explains their meaning (note that some proofreaders will use different symbols than those shown here; if you see a symbol on a document and you’re not sure what it means, ask your proofreader).


Insert symbolInsert something; the text to be inserted will likely be provided in the margin

Delete symbolDelete

Close up space symbolClose up space

Delete and close up symbolDelete and close up

Add space symbolAdd space

Transpose symbolTranspose

Spell out symbolSpell out

Make uppercase symbolMake uppercase

Make lowercase symbolMake lowercase

Let stand symbolLet stand

Make equal space symbolMake equal space

Insert a comma symbolInsert a comma

Insert period symbolInsert period

Insert semicolon symbolInsert semicolon

Insert colon symbolInsert colon

Insert hyphen symbolInsert hyphen

Insert en dash symbolInsert en dash

Insert em dash symbolInsert em dash

Insert apostrophe symbolInsert apostrophe

Insert question mark symbolInsert question mark

Insert exclamation mark symbolInsert exclamation mark

Insert parentheses symbolInsert parentheses

Insert brackets symbolInsert brackets

Insert quotation marks symbolInsert quotation marks

Set as bold symbolSet as bold

Set as italics symbolSet as italics

Wrong font symbolWrong font

Move left symbolMove left

Move right symbolMove right

Move up symbolMove up

Move down symbolMove down

Center symbolCenter

Begin paragraphBegin paragraph


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