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Editing at Work

Editing courses Our in-house copy-editing course will give your staff the skills to edit a wide range of documents, review colleagues’ work and improve their own writing.

We teach a two-stage approach to editing. The first stage is to ensure the document achieves its aim, is well structured and has the optimum content. The second stage is to review details such as clarity, choice of words, tone of voice, layout and legal issues.

The course covers all these topics and more, to give participants the same range of skills that publishers use to achieve their high standards.

A detailed manual and year of free advice from the tutor will add valuable extra help to ensure your staff continue to develop after the course.


  Objectives     Example programme     Client comments     In-house course  

Learning objectives

By the end of this course your staff will be able to:

  • work with the skills and confidence of professional editors
  • commission documents effectively
  • follow the two-stage approach to editing
  • evaluate and improve the structure of documents
  • rewrite complex or convoluted text in plain English
  • apply a corporate style guide and tone of voice requirements
  • resolve problems in multi-author documents
  • accurately apply the rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Morning session

An introduction to editing

  • The characteristics of a good editor
  • How editors improve documents
  • Levels of editing
  • Distinguishing between style and error
  • Techniques for editing your own work

Software for editors

  • A review of editing software
  • Readability tests and alternatives
  • Why editing on paper is sometimes better

Commissioning skills

  • How to commission clearly
  • Defining the scope and purpose of the document
  • Agreeing content, length and tone
  • Setting deadlines

Two-stage editing

  • The advantages of the two-stage technique

Looking at the big picture

  • Ensuring the purpose is met
  • Evaluating and improving structure
  • Questioning coverage
  • Removing padding and repetition

Beginnings and endings

  • Headline-writing techniques
  • Techniques for powerful openings
  • Techniques for effective endings

Liaising with the author

  • The relationship between editor and author
  • Solving problems together
  • Earning the author’s respect

Editing multi-author documents

  • Improving structural flow
  • Adjusting depth of coverage
  • Dealing with variations in style, tone and terminology

Afternoon session

Plain English essentials

  • Thinking about the needs of the audience
  • Reviewing sentence length and structure
  • Correcting ambiguity

Working with words

  • Matching vocabulary to audience and purpose
  • Considering tone of voice
  • Removing cliché and management-speak
  • Cutting redundant words and phrases

Consistency and corporate style

  • Applying a corporate style
  • Keeping a style sheet
  • Consistency guidelines

Grammar and punctuation

  • Recognising and correcting mistakes in English grammar
  • A review of common punctuation errors

Legal considerations

  • Copyright and plagiarism
  • Libel
  • Bias


  • Typeface and type size
  • Line spacing and paragraphing
  • Layout and colours

Further development

  • Reference sources
  • Post-course support

More information

The Editing at Work course is available as an in-house course, which we would run at your premises. For more information, click here.

“The course was just what we needed and the feedback from the team has been very positive. Using our own documents as part of the training was particularly valuable.”

Erika Abram
Edit Resource Manager
Canadean Ltd

“I found the course met my expectations in full and has helped me tremendously in my work as an author and editor with LSN.”

Ian Duckett
Development Advisor
Learning and Skills Network

“A really excellent course that I enjoyed very much.”

Sally Littlecott
Communications Development Officer
London Borough of Newham

Running the Editing at Work course in-house

The Editing at Work course can be run as in-house training anywhere in the world. If you have a group of staff who need the same skills, this option is cost-effective and convenient.

Tailored to your needs

The length and content of this course can be tailored to match your needs. In addition to covering some or all of the topics given in the example programme, you may want to add topics that are particularly relevant to your organisation.


An in-house course is fully flexible. Tell us what you want to achieve and we will work with you to design a course to match. Tell us when you would like to run it and we will find a date that suits you.

Free support

Every course we run comes with a year of free support for each participant. We recognise that people do not think of every question on the day of the training. Our support service gives them the opportunity to ask their tutor an unlimited number of questions in the year following the course. In this way they continue to build their skills and confidence.

Ask us for a quotation

The cost of an in-house course depends on a number of things, including its length, its location and how much preparation we need to do. We can readily give you a quotation, so please contact us to discuss your needs.


In-house course

This course is only available as in-house training. The length and content of the programme can be tailored to match your needs.