The Art of the Query and Applying Proofreading Markup to PDFs

In March, Editors BC presents two complementary half-day workshops. These workshops offer practical tips and tools for improving communication with clients and colleagues from two different perspectives: querying your author and applying proofreading markup with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Participants may register for either one of the sessions or register for both at a reduced rate.


The Art of the Query

Saturday, March 19, 10am to 1pm

Good querying skills are as important as any other copy editing function. Effective queries set the tone for a fruitful author-editor relationship and make the editing process more efficient. Poor querying can take a project off the rails.

In this three-hour workshop, participants will review both effective and ineffective queries from actual manuscripts. They will have the opportunity to discuss process and procedure, and practise their querying skills in short exercises. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to

  • explain what and what not to query
  • write a query that elicits an appropriate answer
  • strike a respectful tone for querying
  • use Microsoft Word “comments” feature for on-screen queries
  • explain alternative querying processes for paper edits/proofreads
  • determine when to write a full query letter

Workshop Outline

  • understanding the importance of querying skills
  • knowing what and when to query
  • knowing what to leave alone
  • determining length and tone of queries
  • learning how to query (on-screen, query letter, on paper)

Beginning and mid-career level editors will find this workshop most useful, though all editors are welcome.

Ruth Wilson has more than 30 years’ experience as an editor. She worked for many years with Vancouver, B.C., book publisher Self-Counsel Press, and since 1998 she has been a partner in West Coast Editorial Associates, offering a wide range of editorial and training services. Ruth is also a respected instructor at Simon Fraser University, where she has taught many courses in editorial skills for more than 15 years. In 2011 she was honoured as a recipient of the President’s Award for Volunteer Service from Editors Canada, and in 2014 she was recognized as a Certified Professional Editor (Hon) for the work she did in developing and launching Editors Canada’s world-class Certification Program.


Introduction to Applying Proofreading Markup to PDFs

Using Adobe Acrobat Reader

Saturday, March 19, 2pm to 5pm

This three-hour workshop introduces participants to the markup tools available in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Although Microsoft Word Track Changes is good for communicating at the document drafting and editing stage, Adobe Acrobat tools are better for the proofreading stage. Learning how to use Reader to annotate Portable Document Format (PDF) files can allow for more effective communication with co-workers: commenting tools can be used to add concise instructions and suggestions for revising content, while proofreading stamps can be used to show where detailed typographic changes are needed. Anyone doing work that requires collaborating with others to review and revise documents will want to learn how to make good use of commenting tools and proofreading stamps.

Participants will use their own PC laptops during the workshop and should be familiar with basic file management techniques. They should know how to open, save, and close files in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC; a free download is available at Before the session, a workshop booklet file and a set of proofreading stamps will be provided for registered participants to load on their laptops.

The workshop is designed for PC users, not Mac users. 

At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to

  • describe a typical proofreading-production process
  • explain how Adobe Acrobat Reader can be used during this process
  • recognize when adding markup to a PDF is the best of various ways to indicate changes
  • identify the tools, menus, and panes in Adobe Acrobat Reader that can be used when marking PDFs for revision
  • use the Adobe annotations and drawing markup tools to indicate that text needs to be inserted, deleted, or replaced
  • use the Adobe annotations tools to add instructions and suggestions
  • use the Adobe stamps palette to add markup for detailed typographic changes
  • consult with colleagues to determine the best revision procedures and markup practices

Workshop Outline

  • understanding document production
  • becoming familiar with Reader
  • marking clearly
  • using proofreading stamps
  • adding comments to files converted from Word
  • adding markup to files not converted from Word
  • using best practices

Barbara Tomlin began working in the publishing industry more than 35 years ago, first for educational and trade book publishers, and later for magazine publishers. Since then she has edited, copy edited, and proofread a wide range of material for a variety of clients. She is certified as an Editor in the Life Sciences and is a past chair of the Editors’ Association of Canada Certification Steering Committee. She has developed writing and editing workshops for many organizations, and was an instructor for SFU’s Marketing and Communications Program for 27 years. She is a founding partner of West Coast Editorial Associates.

Date & Time: Mar 19, 2016 10:00 AM to
Mar 19, 2016 05:00 PM
[America/Vancouver UTC -8]


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Location: SFU Harbour Centre
Room 1415
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver B.C.

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Registration Closes: Mar 11, 2016 11:59 PM

Event Coordinator:

EAC-BC Branch Coordinator
 Registration Fees
Member Price
Full-Day Package (10am to 5pm)  
The Art of the Query (10am to 1pm)  
Introduction to Applying Proofreading Markup to PDFs Using Adobe Acrobat Reader (2pm to 5pm)  
Non-member Price
Full-Day Package (10am to 5pm)  
The Art of the Query (10am to 1pm)  
Introduction to Applying Proofreading Markup to PDFs Using Adobe Acrobat Reader (2pm to 5pm)  

Registration is now closed.


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