Copyediting focuses on repairing errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, usage, syntax, and grammar. Whereas proofreading involves only mechanical issues (typos), copyediting ensures correctness, consistency, clarity, and coherency by implementing a consistent formatting style, such as Chicago or AP, with the goal of enhancing readability. While a light level copyedit eliminates any obvious and indisputable errors of grammar (e.g. dangling modifiers), syntax (e.g. lack of parallelism), and usage (e.g. erroneous word choice), a medium-to-heavy level copyedit (also known as line editing) identifies convoluted writing and any other readerly obstacles, such as wordiness, repetition, clichés, mixed metaphors, misuse of dialogue or passive voice, overuse of a favorite phrase or device, and awkward punctuation or phrasing. Copyediting takes place after developmental editing but before a manuscript is self-published or sent off to an agent.

Both developmental editing and copyediting are completed within the manuscript using the “Track Changes” and “Comments” features in Microsoft Word.