If you’re a freelance book editor, or you’re training to be one, you need PerfectIt!
In this post, Hilary Cadman shares why PerfectIt is such a powerful tool for editors. See the last paragraph for a link to Hilary’s PerfectIt training courses, including instruction in its newest feature: a Chicago Manual of Style integration.
If you’re ready to take a training course with Cadman Training, sign up here to our newsletter for a 25% discount off PerfectIt courses.
PerfectIt Saves Book Editors Time
PerfectIt is a feature that is added to MS Word to give the program extra functions. The main thing PerfectIt does is pick up inconsistencies in capitalization, hyphenation, spelling, use of abbreviations, italics, numbers, and so on. For example, if a document contains both “Client” and “client,” PerfectIt will flag it. Similarly, the program will find issues such as centre/center, long-term/long term, eight/8, and naive/naïve. In each case, PerfectIt gives the user the chance to choose the preferred option. Once you have chosen an option, the Fix button makes it quick and easy to implement the desired change.
Of course, as an editor, you would notice and fix these issues as you work. But PerfectIt greatly speeds up that process. And, unlike a person, it doesn’t get tired!
PerfectIt Makes It Easy to Adhere to a Style (Chicago style, that is!)
PerfectIt makes it easy to find deviations from a particular style, such as US spelling. The program has style sheets for different spellings (Australian, Canadian, UK, and US) and organizations (e.g., the European Union, United Nations, and World Health Organization). Hence, if you are working on a document from the US, you simply choose PerfectIt’s US spelling style sheet. The program will then pick up any deviations from US spelling. For example, it will pick up the word “colour,” even if the document does not contain the word “color.” Using one of PerfectIt’s style sheets thus greatly increases the power of the program, because it will pick up both inconsistencies and deviations from the chosen style.
The most recent version of PerfectIt, PerfectIt 5, features a style sheet for Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. The power of the online version of CMOS is now combined with that of PerfectIt. The software shows both the relevant advice from CMOS and the appropriate portion of the manual.
Read about my experience using PerfectIt 5 on the CIEP blog.
PerfectIt 5 Review by Michael La Ronn of Author Level Up
PerfectIt Leaves You in Control
When PerfectIt finds an inconsistency or deviation from a style, it does not do anything automatically. Instead, the program highlights the issue and gives the user the option of pressing Fix to make a change. Thus, the user is in control of making any changes. Also, if you press Fix and then change your mind, PerfectIt makes it easy to go back and undo a particular action.
Another way you have control is in setting which of PerfectIt’s checks you want to run. The program runs more than thirty checks on a document. If you just want to check a specific issue, such as use of abbreviations or punctuation at the end of bullet points, you can choose to run only the relevant test.
You probably pride yourself on your ability to pick up inconsistencies and style deviations. After all, that’s what makes you a good copyeditor! But even if you think you don’t need it, PerfectIt can up your editing game.
- For one, with PerfectIt, you know you’re catching all those little details. No more waking up in a cold sweat fearing you left an unauthorized hyphen in the middle of the book somewhere. (Or am I the only one who does that?) When I used it for the first time, I was stunned by how much of the copyediting details it handled for me. It felt like cheating!
- Second, this software frees up brain space to take care of deeper issues that require editorial judgment and expertise.
PerfectIt is a useful, time-saving tool that can benefit any freelance book editor working in MS Word. Now with its CMOS integration, it’s even better for editors working on fiction and nonfiction trade.
Hilary’s self-paced, online courses teach you how to use the software in just sixty to ninety minutes. Check them out here: Cadman Training’s PerfectIt courses.
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