Copy-editing 1: Introduction

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for anyone who is either thinking about moving into copy-editing or finds that they have to copy-edit as part of their job but have had little formal training.

We strongly recommend that anyone taking CE1 has a background in proofreading, and in particular understands how to use the BSI proofreading marks. If you do not have this knowledge and skill already, we suggest that you first take our proofreading courses before embarking on learning to copy-edit.

Course description

This course demonstrates the basics of how to copy-edit, both on hard copy using BSI symbols and on Word documents using Track Changes. It explains the differences between proofreading and copy-editing, and gives information and exercises on how a copy-editor works on various types of text, including text with illustrations.

What you should know after the course

This course teaches the very basics of copy-editing; on its own it does not provide the thorough grounding needed to work as a professional copy-editor. After taking this course, you should be very clear on the differences between proofreading and copy-editing. Apart from introducing the basics of copy-editing, the course is also designed as a taster to answer the question 'Is copy-editing for me?'

It's a good, brief introduction to the subject which doesn't overwhelm or overload.


Each topic was covered in enough depth to provide a basic introduction to the different types of publication a copy-editor could work on, without it becoming overwhelming for a beginner.


Not only is it logical but also enjoyable.


Availability, prices and upgrade points

  Workshop Online
Price (members)    
Price (non-members)    
SfEP upgrade points 3 3
  Book now Book now

Other price discounts are available. See the fees page.

All workshops take place over 1 day. Online courses take between 10 and 35 hours to complete, but you have access to the course materials for between 4 and 6 months (depending on the course).

Workshop syllabus

Length of course: 1 day SfEP upgrade points: 3

The precise syllabus and timings may vary slightly on the day.

Syllabus and timing
Pre-course work Exercise on article for community newsletter
9.30 Introductions and course outline
9.45 The function of a copy-editor:
  • differences between copy-editing and proofreading
  • methods of working
  • discussion of the pre-course exercise
  • marking up and coding on paper and on screen
11.00 Break
11.15 Exercise: text from a local authority leaflet. Discussion
12.00 Exercise: text from an academic book. Discussion
12.45 Lunch
1.30 Exercise: text with illustrations. Discussion
3.00 Break
3.15 Exercise: part of a table. Discussion
3.45 Exercise: humorous text. Discussion
  • Next steps and further training
  • Any other questions?
  • Completion of feedback form
4.30 Close

Online course structure

Time allowed for access: 5 months SfEP upgrade points: 3
Approximate study time needed to complete the course: 15–20 hours

This is a self-assessed course. You will be assigned a tutor who will be available for up to 1 hour of support (usually by email) but the tutor does not mark any of your work. When you have finished the course you can download and print a certificate that states that you have 'Completed' the course.

The online course follows the syllabus as described in the screen below.

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