Types of Editing

Terms used in editing can be perplexing for a novice author, particularly that the terms are used interchangeably and may have varying connotations within the industry. Understanding the types of editing is crucial for every writer or author, editor, and those individual in the publishing industry.

Here are the types of editing and their definitions:

Copy Editing/ Copyediting

Also referred to as manuscript editing, a practice of modifying written content to increase readability and suitability, and to ensure that the content has no factual mistakes and grammatical errors.

Based on Chicago Manual Style, copy editing ranges from basic technical modifications (mechanical editing) to extensive remedial work clarity and literary style, unorganized sections, confusing figures and tables, and the like.

Content Editing

It is also referred to as comprehensive editing, heavy editing, macro editing, or substantive editing. It is a kind of copy editing that assesses a material’s general formatting, content, and style to enhance its visual appearance and readability. Comprehensive ,editors are a subset of linguists.

Line Editing

It is centered on the manuscript’s substance, use of language, and writing style. A skilled line editor may highlight portions that may be improved, areas where the style is uneven, pacing concerns, or excessive usage of specific phrases and words throughout the material. It may assist the author in developing their abilities by increasing their awareness of writing patterns that may be modified in the future. Line editing is performed prior to the material’s copy editing.

Developmental Editing

It is a kind of writing assistance that occurs prior to or during the preparation of publishable work, often in nonfiction. Scott Norton explains in his book Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers, developmental editing entails major reorganization or rebuilding of the discourse of a text.

A developmental editor may assist an author (or group of writers) with conceptualizing the subject, organizing the general framework, and drafting an outline—as well as coaching writers chapter by chapter through the writing process (this is actually developmental editing, although it is not the most often used method). More often than not a developmental editor is engaged only when someone (typically the publisher) determines that the writers’ manuscript needs significant rewriting and reorganization. Developmental editing is an extreme kind of substantive editing in these instances.


Proofreading is the final step in the ,writing process and; it entails thoroughly examining the material for mistakes (grammar, spelling, formatting, typographical errors, and consistency) prior to it being published or shared. It is critical for any material (academic papers, internet articles, books, brochure, etc.) intended for the public. An author or writer may proofread their material themselves or engage with a professional editor (writing skills and budget are the determining factors).

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