Copy-editing is the process of working on the author’s original text (in final draft) to make sure it reads well, makes sense and has no errors in grammar, spelling or punctuation. Copy-editing can occur in varying degrees ranging from light copy-editing to developmental editing. In the publishing industry copy-editing happens before proofreading but, for examinable texts (theses, dissertations, research proposals) or any documents that are not intended to be published, only copy-editing is needed.

Proofreading occurs in the publishing industry. A proofreader is responsible for making sure the final copy of a text to be published is without error. Proofreading takes place after copy-editing and involves making sure that no errors have been intruded during the layout and typesetting process.

Click here to see a simple diagram that clarifies the difference and click here to read an article with much more information.