The nation is experiencing a severe paper shortage. Please be aware that aside from wasting natural resources and being costly, a reprint may not be possible on your project’s timeline. Therefore it is important that you use this checklist to ensure your printed communication(s) do not experience any production issues. 

To be completed after high-level and sentence-level editing.

As you make your way through this list, carefully note all edits as comments in the PDF proofing file provided or in a list in your reply email to your University Communications partner. If more than one person is reviewing the proof, please gather and review all edits for consistency and clarity before sending.


First read

Proofing and proper nouns

Read the text from cover to cover and make note of any typos you see along the way. At this point, please do not make any comments about content or style unless you see something that is objectively wrong and not a matter of taste. High-level editing should have occurred earlier in the proofing process, and if we introduce new content or rewrite sentences now, we risk introducing new errors in the document.

As you read, please note and check off the following: 

  • Did you read the text from cover to cover and mark any typos
    or errors you saw?
  • Names  Are the spellings correct? Did you look up all names
    online to verify?
  • Are the following correct? 
    • Colleges and departments
    • Degrees, majors, certificates, etc. 
    • Scholarships/fellowships/awards
    • MSU offices
    • Other official university names
  • Specific degree names  Make sure specific degree names (Bachelor of Science in chemistry, Master of Fine Arts in painting, etc.) follow proper style guidelines.
  • Generic degree name  If the generic name of a degree is used, ensure words that are not proper nouns are lowercase. Ex: bachelor’s degree in soil science, doctorate in biochemistry, master’s in English, associate in aviation. Keep in mind that the convention for two-year degrees is associate degree and not associate’s degree.
  • Be on the lookout for it’s/its, they’re/their/there, your/you’re.

If you have questions regarding the capitalization of titles, degree names, and other university-related proper nouns, please review the Creative Services style guide:


Second read

Headings, captions and footnotes

Go through the document again reviewing only the headings, photo captions and footnotes.

  • Headings  Are there any typos? Do they match the content they’re describing? Did anything get put in the wrong place?
  • Photo captions  Are there any typos? Are they in the right order if they’re bunched together in a group? Do they match the content they’re next to or did something get put in the wrong place? 
  • Footnotes  Is the footnote relevant to what’s on the page?


Third read

Facts and figures

Review the document again scrutinizing any facts or figures. 

  • Has anyone other than the writer verified the facts and figures?
  • Do the facts and figures match up with the information provided to create this publication, poster, etc.? 
  • Are the dates cited for all facts and figures correct (e.g. “Fall, 2021”)?
  • Do the footnotes related to facts and figures match their symbols and have the proper year cited (if applicable)?Do footnotes correspond to their symbols and ascend in the proper order?


Fourth read

Date, time, contact info, URLs and social media

  • Dates  Are all deadlines, event dates, mentions of the days of the week, and mentions of the academic year correct?
  • Times  If any times are mentioned (2 p.m. etc.) — are they correct? Don’t forget to look at a.m. vs p.m.
  • Contact info  Phone numbers, email addresses, P.O. boxes, physical addresses, building names, are they correct?
  • URLs  Do they work? Do the URLs match up with the content they appear next to or is anything out of place?
  • Social media  Are all social media URLs and/or handles correct?



  • Are all of the photos in the correct place?



  • Fonts  Does each element on the page have consistent coloring, sizing, style, line spacing, and bolding in the font? For example, are all headings the same? Are all the text blocks the same? What about subheads?
  • Alignment  Does everything look like it’s lining up properly? Are there any issues with alignment or things being off center?


Other stuff

  • Page numbers  Do they ascend in the proper order?
  • Headers and footers throughout  Everything ok there? No typos or things on the wrong page?
  • Periods  Are there any inconsistencies in the use of periods or the lack of periods in bullets or lists that appear? 
  • Covers  Did you look at the front and back covers? 



Pro TipIn addition to reading, try using your computer’s text-to-speech feature or use a free browser reader like TTS Reader or NaturalReaders. Hearing the text aloud can help you detect errors.


Looks good and you’re ready to approve for production?

Excellent! Please send “approved to print” as a reply to the email where the most recent proof was attached.



Quick Proofreading Guide 

Download printable half-page checklist version


  • Read every word in the document including photo captions and headlines. 
    • Check the front and back covers. 
    • Check page numbers.
  • Look at every photo, illustration and check facts and figures.
  • Double check names and titles, event dates/times/location and URLs.
  • Read backwards — this helps catch grammar glitches and spelling errors.
  • Ask someone with fresh eyes to review for accuracy and grammar.