List of proofreader's marks

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This article is a list of standard proofreader's marks used to indicate and correct problems in a text. Marks come in two varieties, abbreviations and abstract symbols. These are usually handwritten on the paper containing the text. Symbols are interleaved in the text, while abbreviations may be placed in a margin with an arrow pointing to the problematic text. Different languages use different proofreading marks and sometimes publishers have their own in-house proofreading marks.[1]


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Abbreviation Meaning Use
sp Spelling Used to indicate misspelling
spo Spell out Used to indicate that an abbreviation should be spelled out, such as in its first use
stet Let it stand Indicates that proofreading marks should be ignored and the copy unchanged
fl Flush left Align text flush with left margin
fr Flush right Align text flush with right margin
eq # Equalize spacing
ls Letterspace Adjust letterspacing
ital Italics Put in italics
rom Roman Put in Roman (non-italic) font
bf Boldface Put in boldface
lc Lower case Put text in lower case
caps Capitalize Put text in capital case
sc Small caps Put text in small caps
wf Wrong font Put text in correct font
wc/ww word choice/wrong word Incorrect or awkward word choice
hr # Insert hair space
s/b should be Selection should be whatever edit follows this mark
s/r substitute/replace Make the substitution
tr transpose Transpose the two words selected


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Symbol Name Symbol(s) Meaning Example of Use

Pilcrow (Unicode U+00B6) Begin new paragraph
Pilcrow (Unicode U+00B6) ¶ no Remove paragraph break
Caret[b] (Unicode U+2038, 2041, 2380) ‸ ⁁ ⎀ Insert
# Insert space
Close up (Unicode U+2050) Tie words together, eliminating a space I was reading the news⁐paper this morning.
] [ Center text
] Move text right
[ Move text left
Insert em dash
Insert en dash


Depending on local conventions, underscores (underlines) may be used on manuscripts (and historically on typescripts) to indicate the special typefaces to be used:[2][3]

  • single dashed underline for stet, 'let it stand', proof-reading mark cancelled.
  • single straight underline for italic type
  • single wavy underline for bold type
  • double straight underline for SMALL CAPS
  • double underline of one straight line and one wavy line for bold italic
  • triple underline for FULL CAPITAL LETTERS (used among small caps or to change text already typed as lower case).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For more details, see Eduardo Marín Silva (4 October 2021). "Proposal for the inclusion of the DELETE SIGN for proofreading and discussion of the intended use and behavior of already encoded signs" (PDF). Unicode Consortium.
  2. ^ The circumflex character ^ and latin letter v are sometimes shown but these are not correct.


  1. ^ "Proof Correction Marks" (PDF). British Standards Institution. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Proofreading Marks Chart – Some of the Most Common Proofreading Marks". Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  3. ^ Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2020. Bloomsbury. 5 September 2019. ISBN 9781472947512.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "6. Typographic instructions and revision of the text". Interinstitutional style guide. Publications Office of the European Union.
  2. ^ "6.3. Proof-correction marks". Interinstitutional style guide.