Proofreading can be regarded as Stage 5 of your editing process. This is a very difficult and demanding task that requires strong concentration.
The proofreader assumes that all the big things in a document are correct.
Like editing, proofreading is best done in several stages. For example, don't try to check spelling and grammar at the same time as checking page numbers or alignment.
If you proofread often, it may be worth learning the main proofreading symbols: this can speed the task. But the main thing is to make your meaning absolutely clear.
Your job is to impose consistency and correctness on:
First print out the document with generous line spacing and margins. Mark the errors clearly on the page.
Remember that proofreading is extremely demanding, highly unnatural work. In real life your goal is to read quickly and read for meaning—but when proofreading, you do the opposite. You slow down and focus on petty things like commas.
In a perfect world you would do the following. Go to another room. The board room... an interview room... somewhere away from the phones. Clear the desk, except for:
Here are two useful ways to slow down your reading and concentrate on detail.
Items not linked to technology:
Items linked to technology
Highlight anything wrong or strange; these problems are likely the result of bad use of Styles or other technology.
When you have finished proofreading, your editing job is done.