After the Deadline

Two Tricks for Tracking Down Typos

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle Weber on October 7, 2014

How many times has this happened to you: you write a post, read it through seventeen times, hit “publish,” and then immediately spot an error in the published post?

If it never has, lucky you! Would you mind proofreading ours? 🙂

For the rest of us, it’s an all-too-frequent occurrence. We’ve been sharing resources for improving your eye for detail throughout the year, and here are two more tricks to try today.

Read backwards.

Part of proofreading is being able to slow down and focus enough to stop your brain from correcting typos or filling in gaps before you notice them. Reading your work backward forces you to stop and look at each individual word in a way you can’t otherwise — it’s great for catching those final spelling errors.

Change your font.

Similarly, things that cause you to look at your writing in a new light also slow your brain down. Changing your font (or your font’s size/color) only takes a click of the mouse, but transforms your words. A mistake you might have skimmed over becomes unmissable when it’s 30 points high or bright red.

Sometimes, finding that last gaffe means having to trick your brain into noticing it — these are two simple ways to do it that anyone can try, no special tools needed.

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Test Your Eagle Eye

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle Weber on July 8, 2014

If you think you’ve mastered the intricate art of proofreading or just want another way to practice, a few minutes of Googling unearths lots of proofreading exercises and tests for all reading and comprehension levels.

To save you those few minutes — more time for proofreading! — here are some to try today. Focus on the aspect of proofing you find the trickiest, or test your general proofing abilities:

You can also find exercises for a range of grammar issues, along with general proofreading/typo identification, at the Dalton State University’s Writing Lab.

Practice makes for perfect proofing!

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Need help improving your proofing? Go back to school!

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle Weber on April 8, 2014

Very few of us are able to churn out perfectly error-free writing every time — we’re all constantly editing and proofreading, and many of us are on the lookout for tools and tips to help. (After all, that’s why you use After the Deadline!)

Colleges and universities are great resources for editing and proofing. Many of them have dedicated writing centers for those very purposes, and many of those centers publish online resources that are accessible to the public.

Here are a few we think are especially useful:

You don’t have to go back to school to take advantage of these helpful resources!

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Three More Tools for Your Proofreader’s Toolbox

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle Weber on January 10, 2014

Tools like After the Deadline are a great safety net, but you’ll still want to make sure your writing is clear and grammatically correct. Keep upping your grammar game with help from these three sites:

Daily Writing Tips has posts on everything from common grammar errors to homonyms (their, they’re, there) to rules for writing numbers, and beyond. It’s a great one-stop-shop to find answers to common writing questions, as well as the more obscure.

Grammar Girl dishes the dirt on grammar issues large (avoiding the passive voice) and small (knelt, or kneeled?). Best of all, her posts are quick, fun reads.

Apostrophe Abuse is great for a laugh, and for examples of what not to do. If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at a misplaced apostrophe on a flyer or billboard, this blog’s for you.

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Hone Your Eye by Reading Out Loud

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle Weber on August 16, 2013

After the Deadline is a great safety net, but your own critical eye is also an important tool to hone — that’s why we offer proofreading tips along with helpful software. In this post, we want to highlight one of our favorite proofreading methods: reading out loud.

How many times has this happened to you? You draft a new post. It goes through several big revisions, and then endless tweaks (sometimes back to its original wording) until you’re as satisfied as you can be. You give it a last once-over for typos, find none, and send it on its way… only to get a note from readers about typos. You vow to be more vigilant the next time, yet it happens again.

Why? Your brain is skimming over the errors. You’ve been looking at the words for hours and know exactly what they’re supposed to say, so your brain makes sure that’s what you see when you read.

To get your overachieving brain to notice the errors, you’ve got to slow it down. That’s where reading aloud comes in: when you’re reading aloud, sounding out each word as you go, your brain is forced to consider each word independently in a way that doesn’t happen when you’re reading silently.

The next time you need to make absolutely sure your work is typo free, make sure you’re home alone, close the door, and give it a try (and then run After the Deadline as a final check).

And remember — if you’ve a developer interested in working with After the Deadline, there are lots of developer resources available, as well as a Google Group just for you.

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Three Steps to Perfectly Proofed Posts

Posted in HOWTO by Michelle Weber on May 16, 2013

Tools like After the Deadline (and the proofreading tools built in to are great for catching typos and making sure that an overlooked mis-type doesn’t cloud your message. As anyone who’s ever relied on a proofreading tool knows, however, there’s more to clean copy than a lack of typos.

Use After the Deadline as your personal proofreading assistant, but consider the other key copyediting steps before you hit “publish.” Rely on this copyediting trifecta to give your sparkling prose a final polish:

  1. Accuracy. Is everything you’ve written correct? This is critical if what you’re writing includes things like dates, contact information, or data — it’s easy for our eyes to skip over a street addresses or URL we’ve seen a hundred times, so make a point of double-checking. Accuracy is about more that just verifying statistics and email addresses, though. If you’re giving instructions, are they clear? Is there anything you’re written that can be misinterpreted? Be your own devil’s advocate, and give your writing a once-over for accuracy; your piece will be stronger for it.
  2. Nips and Tucks. Editing is just as important as writing; the first few drafts you write are just that — drafts. Once you’ve got all your ideas down clearly and accurately and you think you’re happy with what you’ve got, take a figurative x-acto knife to your words. Is each word necessary? Is each word as strong as it can be? Does each word advance your point? Be merciless.
  3. Spelling and Grammar. Here’s where After the Deadline comes in! Do a final sweep of your tight and toned piece to eliminate distracting typos and grammar gaffes. Even your most lyrical description will land with a thunk if your “two” should have been a “too.”

If you’ve got a self-hosted WordPress blog, the multi-functional Jetpack plugin gives you After the Deadline along with dozens of other goodies, and there are After the Deadline extensions available for Chrome, Firefox, and Open Office. Whatever your site’s platform, there’s a tool to help you look your best.

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Have you installed Jetpack yet?

Posted in HOWTO by Michelle Weber on February 20, 2013

In our last post, we let you know that we’d no longer be supporting After the Deadline browser extensions — you can still use AtD, just within WordPress itself rather than through a browser.  If your site is on, you’re all set; you’ve got a “proofread” button right in your post and page editors.

But what if you’re prone to typos and running a self-hosted WordPress blog? Easy: Jetpack.

Jetpack is the Swiss army knife of plugins: it’s a multipurpose plugin that gives your self-hosted WordPress site two dozen of the most popular features of By hooking your site into the cloud, it lets you have the best of both worlds: power and ease with flexibility.

Why are we going on about Jetpack on the After the Deadline blog? Simple: installing Jetpack gives you AtD, right there in your post editor, so you can check your work no matter where you’re publishing. And if that isn’t enough, consider some of the other features it includes:

  • Tiled photo galleries, so you can create elegant, magazine-style mosaic layouts with a few clicks.
  • Shortcode embeds to speed up the process of inserting multimedia.
  • Comments that let readers respond to you using their, Facebook, or Twitter login.
  • Notifications and stats to help you manage everything from one simple toolbar.
  • Sharing tools to take your content from stand-alone post to viral sensation.

That’s just the tip of the jetpack – check out for a full features list. Best of all, this can all be yours for the low, low price of zero dollars, and with only one plugin to install.

Remember, if you still want to pitch in with the development and maintenance of browser-specific After the Deadline extensions, the main AtD site has tons of developer resources. But if you just want to make sure you never publish another “teh” (at least, accidentally), then Jetpack’s your plugin.

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