I always regret that I cannot be a perfect editor, although I aim for perfection.That’s why I use “PerfectIt,” software from Intelligent Editing that states on its website that it “is the fastest way to find consistency mistakes.”
Sure enough, it checks for consistency of hyphenation; capitalization; numbers/words; capitalization in headings; abbreviations and acronyms (definitions/spelling); bullets; lists; figures; and tables. Since these editing issues drive me crazy, any software that flags these issues is a gift. PerfectIt has other helpful features that I don’t use at this point (but you might).
What PerfectIt catches
My free trial convinced me that I was missing errors and inconsistencies that PerfectIt found. I bought a single license for $99 (now a subscription of $70 a year). I run it as an add-on in Microsoft® Word during my first and last passes through the document (before and after global searching, onscreen editing, and running spellcheck but before proofreading). It works best on longer documents than shorter ones, apparently because a long document provides a bigger set of examples so that the software can determine the dominant style in the document.
PerfectIt in action
For example, I recently worked on a guidebook for integrating water efficiency into land-use planning. The text was 331 pages and 112,767 words and had many contributors. As expected, there were many inconsistencies introduced by having so many different authors. Some wrote “non-code,” others wrote “noncode,” and still others wrote “non code.” Instead of standardizing this term by manually searching and replacing, I confirmed my client’s preference and changed the aberrant versions in a minute or two.
As with any new software, I tested PerfectIt on a few sample documents before launching it on a crucial project; it does take some self-training, which is enhanced by excellent support.
As an editor, I am grateful for every tool that helps me edit to a higher standard. This software saves time, improves the quality of my work, and makes my clients happier with my end product–and my invoice.
(I make no money by recommending this or any other editing products that I like.)