On-Screen Copy-Editing Tip 1: Make It Easy on Your Eyes

As an on-screen copy editor your eyes are your most precious asset. You must look after them.

The best way to do this is by reducing the amount of light coming from the electronic page in front of you.

Do this in three ways:

  1. Make the colour of your desktop (your computer screen) a darkish colour (I like blue).
  2. Fill the white background with single-spaced lines of text. This will cut the amount of sharp light that penetrates your eyes.
  3. Narrow the column of text to around 7 centimetres, which halves the horizontal width of the page.
A wide page of double-spaced text

Wide page of double-spaced text. Ouch! I feel a headache coming on...


A narrow page of single-spaced text

Narrow page of single-spaced text. Much better – I can read for hours without stopping...

Plus by narrowing the horizontal column to 7 centimetres you’ll find it much easier to read the text.

This in turn has two further benefits: (a) you won’t get tired mentally as quickly as you would if you had to read a wide text column, and (b) if you’re checking author–date references, you’re much less likely to miss any as you run down the page.

A simple tip, but it makes a huge difference to my workday.

Try it!

Contact Expert Copy Editor Eldo Barkhuizen

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