It's important that corrections can be clearly understood by everyone working on a publication, so some standard marks are used. On this site, we're hosting two conventions for proofing marks. One from US dictionary publisher Merriam Webster, and another easily-printed reference guide from design company Positive Concepts.
Merriam Webster's guide to proofreading symbols
Reproduced by kind permission from Merriam-Webster OnLine at www.Merriam-Webster.com
|delete and close up|
|insert a space|
|used to separate two or more
marks and often as a concluding
stroke at the end of an insertion
|set farther to the left|
|set farther to the right|
|set as ligature (such as ć)|
|indent or insert em quad space|
|begin a new paragraph|
|set in CAPITALS|
|set in SMALL CAPITALS|
|set in lowercase|
|set in italic|
|set in roman|
|set in boldface|
|em (or long) dash||Now—at last!—we know.|
|superscript or superior|
|subscript or inferior|
|query to author: has this been
set as intended?
|push down a work-up|
|turn over an inverted letter|
1The last three symbols are unlikely to be needed in marking proofs of photocomposed matter.
Positive Concepts' guide to proofreading symbols
We're pleased to host a 2 page reference guide to proofreading marks produced by design company Positive Concepts.
"This is a useful guide for anyone who is not familiar with proofreading marks, but it's not comprehensive," the company says. "Also, proofreaders may use different marks to indicate these actions. If in doubt, ask the proofreader what they meant by a specific correction."
Note that the BS number given in this PDF is inaccurate.
Download the proofreading symbols reference
The guide is stored as a PDF. You'll need to have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program to open it.