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Make It Big (to Proofread)

I am always surprised when people in writing classes proofread their documents in type this size. (For those who couldn’t read that phrase, it said "in type this size.") They stare at the screen, asking themselves "Do I have a comma or a semicolon there?" and "Is that a period or a blank space?" and "Does that name look right?"

To make proofreading easier, why not:

Make it big.

It isn’t necessary to change the font itself from 10 or 12 point to 16. You should be able to simply change your view of the screen.

In my version of Microsoft Office, I use the zoom feature. It allows me to zoom in to see any section of the page close up. When proofreading, I use the 100 percent setting. When zoom is set at only 50 percent, the details are more difficult to see.

My keyboard also has a zoom feature, which allows me to zoom in on the screen with one quick finger stroke.

Why squint at your screen, especially when proofreading? You don’t want your $1,000 offer to sneak by you as $11,000. Or what about "killing" the order when you hoped to be "filling" it? Your grammar and spelling checker won’t help you in either situation.

The success of your message depends on proofreading. Why not make it big?

Fest wishes,   (just kidding)


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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

3 comments on “Make It Big (to Proofread)”

  • I’m in the process of moving my blog to WordPress and the hardest part of the move has been choosing a template with a default font large enough for people with non-20/20 vision to read. I do enjoy a larger font, not only for proofreading, but every day reading. My eyes aren’t what they used to be.

  • Kathy, you probably know that people can adjust the size of the type they read on their screen. Although I haven’t adjusted mine recently, I believe it is through the Control Panel, then Display.

    So you don’t have to take complete responsibility for the size of what people read.

    Thanks for commenting.

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