Automated Proof Reading

I’ve just found this Scrivener software and it looks fantastic!

I am eager to get started using it, as I have several writing projects lined up. The thing is, I am a somewhat slow reader. And proof reading takes me soooo long to do. I have used White Smoke with some success. I’m just wondering, does Scrivener have any type of automated proofing?

Or do any of you have any suggestions? Eventually, I hope to have a team that can help me with such things, but at the moment, I don’t have the budget for it, though I’m always interested, if you know some good outsourcers.


I know that Word has a basic grammar checker, and that some can be downloaded for open office. That said, you’d need to export for these to work. I know from writing for school (and even the short story class I took way back), that grammar checkers can sometimes not be all that effective. They can’t, for instance, tell you if a sentence just sounds wrong when said out loud, even if it may technically not have any grammatical errors. I stopped using grammar checkers a LONG time ago, and actually find it more convenient to read it over a few times myself, and then pass it on to a friend or something who is willing to take one more pass at it.

I think the issue is that, to me anyways, grammar is a pretty complex thing (especially English), and it would be difficult for a computer algorithm to accurately detect the entire context of a paragraph. For example, writing for science at least, you want a separate topic for each paragraph. In order to tell if your paragraphing is correct, any program would need to know that every sentence in your paragraph is about a certain topic. Unless you have repetitive writing, I don’t know if this could be done by a computer, and repeating the subject in every sentence is a writing problem in itself. A computer also can’t tell you if your arguments, or flow, makes sense, so the project would still need to be proofread.

It would be nice if a computer could do all these things. Then I could spend say… 2 months writing my paper, click a button and have it be nearly publishable, netting me a nice 80-90 in my class, rather than spending 1 month writing, another month editing, and wishing I still had 2 more months to edit. However, if you look at any of the authors who are big on their community involvement, editing is one of the most intensive parts of any project (even in science, sure, your stats are phenomenal, but if your paper isn’t persuasive, you’ll have a harder time convincing people that your study matters).

As for alternatives, I ask friends (or acquaintances who are mildly interested in the topic) a LOT. I’m not sure what kind of project you need help with, but I find that to be the most cost effective way. Also, I don’t know if you’re near any universities, but I’m ALWAYS seeing flyers up for students looking to make a few extra bucks by proofreading. Not sure what they’d charge (I always just bribe my friends with cookies…) but it could be something worth looking into.

There are several tools which you may find useful for proofreading although these are not a complete answer. Needless to say they are primarily designed to be used with Word and Windows.

A set of (free) Macros:

Editor’s Toolkit Macros:

American Editor (EditTools Macros)

All of the above are written for Word on Windows but many should work with Word 2011.

Another tool used by many professional proofreaders - Windows again - is Perfectit:

Needless to say use at your own risk. I’m surprised that nobody has attempted to produce a set of editing macros for Nisus, given the power of the Nisus macro language.

The learning curve for using this software with any degree of confidence is quite steep and, after looking at them all you may well conclude that using a keen eye and pencil+paper is both the easiest and most accurate method. :smiley:

Thanks for these suggestions. I will look into them. I have no experience working with macros, but maybe it’s time to start. I still invite anyone having other ideas to post, also.

Ahhh, with automated proofreading, we could devote our time in quest of the perfect tit… :open_mouth: :laughing:

Time for my soup! :blush:

One recent release which might be of interest is Marked 2 (, a markdown previewer which introduces some new proofing tools, such as (and I quote):

  • Advanced analysis including word count, reading time, Fog Index and Flesch-Kincaid scores
  • Highlight text to get word and character counts for the selection
  • Highlight word repetition and density
  • Highlight overused words and custom keywords with wildcard support

Marked plays nicely with Scrivener and would offer an easy route for some of those stylistic (rather than grammatical) issues.

There’s a seven day trial and it only costs $12.00.

Necessary disclaimer: my only connection with Marked is as a satisfied user.