My favorite things: As perfect as it gets

I always regret that I cannot be a perfect editor. I aim for perfection, but it rarely happens for me (and I suspect, for other editors).

That’s why I was intrigued with “PerfectIt,” software that states on its website that it “runs a series of tests that suggest possible errors. At each stage it lets you choose whether those should be changed.”

PerfectIt checks for consistency of hyphenation; capitalization; numbers/words; capitalization in headings; abbreviations and acronyms (definitions/spelling); bullets; lists; figures; and tables. All these editing inconsistencies drive me crazy, and having software to flag these issues is a gift. PerfectIt has a lot more features that I don’t use at this point (but you might).

The free trial convinced me that I was missing errors and inconsistencies that were found by PerfectIt, so I bought a single license for $49. I run it as an add-on in Microsoft® Word as my last pass through the document (after global searching, onscreen editing, printing out and proofing, and running spellcheck). 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).

As with any new software, I tested it on a few sample documents before launching it on a crucial project; it does take some self-training, which is enhanced by an excellent 4-page set of instructions. In my first use of PerfectIt, I managed to remove the first letter of each word in a 10-page document.

If you are an editor searching for another tool to help you edit mind-numbing larger documents, try PerfectIt!

(I make no money by recommending this or any other cool products that I like.)

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