If you are an online writer or professional author, you certainly have been scouring the internet for tools to help you edit or proofread your content faster and in a more efficient way. There is a great deal of grammar checkers available out there, and you will never have enough of those. I have personally tried all the free and paid software I could come across over the past two years, but when I started using this one program I’ll tell you about shortly, everything changed for the better.
Hint: you probably use this program every day, yet you have been sleeping on it all this time.
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Now, if you couldn’t guess the name of the mysterious handy program, I’m talking about Microsoft Word. The new Microsoft Word is nothing short of amazing when it comes to helping you edit and proofread your documents, with two incredible tools found inside the desktop application that, when coupled to your attention to details, will guarantee you a thorough edit and proof of your 25000-word manuscript in less than 5 hours.
If you already have a Microsoft 365 subscription, then all you have to do is look under the Review tab to find these two tools or functions: Editor and Read Aloud.
If you don’t know what Editor looks like in Microsoft Word, just find a large blue pencil with three protruding horizontal lines in the Proofing group or under the Home tab. From giving you a comprehensive assessment of your document in real-time, to checking for correctness in spelling and grammar, Editor will help you see those mistakes that would slip through the cracks when you write and edit your manuscript. Before you use this tool, you must first select what tone is your writing between formal, professional, and casual, for Editor to give you the correct suggestions.
What I like the most about Editor is that it contains the features you would normally find in the paid versions of most popular editing software such as, clarity, formality, inclusiveness, and sensitive geopolitical references. To keep it short, before you pay extra money for a SaaS subscription or send your manuscript to a professional editor or proofreader, you want to make sure you have done sufficient work yourself as the writer. Plus, it could be a great way to learn to catch certain mistakes on your own more quickly. It’s a game changer.
Read Aloud is what I have baptized ‘Editor’s best friend’, and you can find it in the Speech group under the Review tab. This function reads the text out loud and highlights each word as it reads. One of the great rules of editing your finished manuscript is to take a break from it before returning to it with fresh eyes, then read it aloud. This technique helps you refine the sentences that don’t read well and catch mistakes. But how about having your manuscript read aloud by an AI?
Proofreading being the last step in the editing process means that it is conducted right before your article or book is published in print or online. Using Read Aloud to read your work means someone else other than you or your readers will read your work for you, and this with zero bias. I love this function because it reads exactly what is written, even the typos as they are typed down. All you have to do is listen and correct where there are mistakes.
The advantage of Read Aloud is that it saves you tremendous amount of time. I have once managed to proofread a 28400-word manuscript in about 5 hours using Read Aloud. It would have taken me many days otherwise because I’m not a fast reader.
If you want your final—and I mean final—draft to be published without errors, you do not have to look too far or break the bank especially when you don’t have the budget. You can read your document out loud with Word’s Read Aloud function after you’ve finished your copyedits and line edits using the Editor function to assist you. Once your manuscript is ready, you can then hire a second pair of eyes to look at your manuscript, and trust me, you will not need to pay for all the stages of the editing process when you’ve self-edited your work using these tools and techniques.
When in doubt, I do this for a living (freelancing, yay!), and I can help you refine your manuscript with copyedits, line edits (to make your sentences sound like music), and proofreading because you don’t have the time. You can email me directly at email@example.com and request either or all of the above-mentioned services. Before I send you a quote, I will do a free sample edit of the first 1000 words of your book.